Queercore is evolving andÂ as it does, I’m gaining an even greater understanding of theÂ importance of safe spaces and community involvement.Â There are places where some people are not welcome. Queercore is not one of those spaces. It is a “we” that creates our environment and upholds the community standards.
I’ve had some folks ask me questions, share their thoughts about our show. “I’m not gay, can I still help out with the event?” They say, “I’m straight, but I still want to be on the open mic list.” My answer, to these questions, is always yes. Every show teaches me something new, but most of all, people want to be heard. They want to share their stories. They want a chance behind a microphone or behind the scenes to help others find their voice.
My 5th QueerCore show was atÂ Arundel High School with TedTalker Ash Beckham. How could I possibly top sharing the stage with such a dynamic speaker? The students were great and for the first time, I got to field questions from the audience. That show, for me, helped me to grow in confidence and I was also able to imagine even better ways to share my stories and more creative ways to build safe spaces for students.Â
CCBC was show #6 and it was super special because we had great support from the community; Student Life, the Rainbow Club, the Black Student Union, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the CCBC Essex Honors Program all worked together alongside the Community Book Connection to bring us to campus. The book for 2014-2015 is The Laramie Project. This book inspired me because the Tectonic Theater Project set out on a mission to find the truth behind the story of Matthew Shepard’s death. They did not know if anyone would talk to them, if folks would listen to their research when they came home, if their idea would ever go beyond the walls of their small community theatre. Â My idea for QueerCore started when someone decided they didn’t want lesbian song lyrics on the microphone at their small town farmers market. S-h-e vs H-e. One letter of the alphabet was keeping me from making a living. Art funnels tragedy into its muse. Art transformed me from a frustrated artist to a focused creative professional.
QueerCore was born out of GLBT exclusion, but it does not promote GLBT exclusivity. Â QueerCoreÂ is about inclusion.Â There are places where we are all welcome. QueerCore is one of those places. Allies and queer community members,Â students, staff, faculty and visitorsÂ are invited to share their stories, art, music, comedy, poetry etc.
I’d like to think that for humans, this perfectly safe place is planet Earth. We know that is not true. There are many who have a small world out of fear, persecution, and an inability to see a world outside of their own scary reality. I know that feeling. Before I found myself as QueenEarth, I was unhappy and wondering if there was a role for me in the world. How could I be fulfilled? How could I help others? How could I find folks like me and start making connections?
Art and music are taking me across the country and around the world. How? I believe that if I had any other job, I wouldn’t be able to travel like this, to encounter folks the way that I do, to fly home (from London) and share a stage with my favorite storytellers, to touch down in any city and find or create these kinds of spaces. But maybe I’ve fooled myself. I’m lucky to have seen my teachers and mentors traveling with their students. Maybe I am very much like the folks who paved the way for me to do this awesome work and help others. We love what we get to do because we know what it is like to be lost and feel left out. This event is a call to the community. We are looking for the people who want to share, the people who have been silenced. Thank you Hollywood Infinite and Quinton Randall for sharing your art and your stories.
As QueenEarth, I’m making it my job to find the connections between us, the common threads that make us real, flawed, and perfectly human. It is in those places where we build the greatest connections and realize we are not alone. We (my QueerCore team and I) touch down for a moment and plant the seeds to inspire a community to walk in their truth, to be who they are, to do so without fear of judgement or persecution.
InÂ The Laramie Project,Â Matthew Shepard died, yet his dreams of being a social justice worker can live on when the queer community and its allies work together to create safe spaces, to share our true selves, to do so without fear. I hope to do more programs and community events like this one, and at this moment, all of my dreams for a perfect place for education, music, and creativity were fulfilled. Thank you CCBC!
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For bookings, contact QueenEarth@queenearth.com