While recently visiting Lenapehoking, aka New York City, a friend attempted to look up current art exhibitions showing work by LGBTQIA2S+ artists. Unfortunately, the results were pretty grim. Just a couple days earlier a friend and I embarked on a controversial journey to a Drag Brunch presented by Queer Art and hosted by two Trans Women of Color, Ceclia Gentile and Chiquitita. This is going somewhere, I promise.
During their show, Cecilia, Chiquitita, and Queer Art’s Programs and Operations Director, Rio Sofia, spoke about the overwhelming negative impacts that are currently affecting LGBTQIA2S+ artists and organizations. Many artists and performers that are usually booked during June have been overlooked and abandoned as corporations have decided to withdraw support and cower behind countless excuses as to why they are not currently funding Trans and Queer communities. As anyone in our communities can confirm, this is unsurprising. However, what is concerning is the fact that this wave of conservative boycotts and bigotry has impacted a place like New York City.
As I sit here searching for similar events and exhibitions highlighting local and regional LGBTQIA2S+ artists and creatives, there is very little that comes up this month. Not that June should be solely devoted to Trans and Queer communities, or that supporting our work should be designated to one time a year, but in the face of so much fear, violence, and inhumane legislation targeted at our communities, you would expect more of a presence this year. As we move forward through this transitional phase in Portland, I hope we continue strengthening and amplifying the work of marginalized communities, and I look forward to what the future has in store as we rebuild networks of care and support.
Friends of Dorothy
Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton, OR
May 17 to July 22
Friends of Dorothy is a multidisciplinary art show dedicated to the diverse and expansive range of talents from regional LGBTQIA artists that will come to a head with a Queer Cabaret hosted by Portland’s Poison Waters on June 28th, 2023.
The Pursuit of Happiness (or the Wacky Lesbian Adventures of Brillo Pad and Hula Hoop)
Reed College (Performing Arts Building), Portland, OR
June 23 to June 25
Fuse Theatre Ensemble presents, The Pursuit of Happiness (or the Wacky Lesbian Adventures of Brillo Pad and Hula Hoop) by Ernie Lijoi. The meta-musical features a gradient of gender and sexually variant characters grappling with the consequences of baring truths during a failed nuclear bomb attack. Hitting on themes of Queer exploitation, appropriation, Transitioning, and gender dysphoria, the musical delves into relevant issues through comedy and an ambitious 14-song offering.
Reflection: how do you hold space for LGBTQIA2S+ artists in your communities?