Thursday, April 05, 2007

OutRights Report

This is a post I wrote for the YVO blog, but I feel like it belongs here too.

Hey Folks,

I'm back from Canada and excited to give you this report about the screening of 20 Straws at the OutRights Conference.

Here goes:

There were about 30 people at the presentation, I presented as part of a workshop called Creating Social Change through the Arts. Most of the people in the workshop were over 30, though there were several younger folks, two of whom were tranny.

One of the people who was really moved by your video was a 22 year old gender refugee from Nicaragua. He has been in Canada for two years and is facing deportation. He is fighting for refugee status based on the persecution he will face in Nicaragua for being gay. If this doesn't give you an indication of how far and wide your work can reach, nothing will.

There was a loud applause after the screening of the video, followed by a Q&A. I was very honored to be an Ambassador for YVO, maybe we can put that on the back of my t-shirt (as per Liv's suggestion!). The comments went like this:

Praise for the fact that it did not feel "totally American." In other words, people felt like the stories were universal, something anyone who is dealing with sexuality could relate to.

More praise for the fact that the video presented some of the positive outcomes of being young, gay and out. The woman who made those comments said she gets tired of seeing such a focus on the negative and that is was refreshing to see you all so happy and well adjusted even though it is clear you have had to deal with such homophobia.

People were curious to know what impact the creation of the video had on your lives. I hope I am not overstepping here, but I told them that overall, YVO participants now seemed more confident, and eager to be a part of creating change.

On another note, I sold 2 t-shirts and 9 DVDs. AND, I put a DVD in the hand of Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard. She has started a foundation in remembrance of her son and they have a large youth focus, so I thought she should have a copy. She gave a very moving presentation about the urgent need for all people to accept diversity on all levels and to join in the fight to change the repressive Bush regime. I wish you could have heard her talk, she is one powerful woman. She had some especially interesting perspectives on the ways religion is misued to justify the oppression of GLBT people.

OK, that's the skinny. You all were missed and there was much buzz about the video and it's powerful impact. Another reason to be proud.

Big thumbs up, Julie AKA YVO Ambassador Extraordinaire

1 comment:

piston said...

julie. once again, you guys rock for taking this message far and wide. while the kids are the storytellers and will carry this torch on, it wouldn't have happened without you and the livster. kudos a million times over and stay strong with the grassroots work girl!
humbly yours,