Tuesday, June 3, 2014

AN OUTING TO REMEMBER

BY KRISTOPHER KARCHER



“You accept me…Why can’t you accept her?” 
- THE OUTING by Afrika Brown

            Happy Pride month! Where members of the LGBTQ community celebrate the pride they’ve learned to have for themselves and their community after years of both social and governmental oppression. The community is certainly making progress in their fight for civil rights—19 states now recognize same sex marriage—but let’s not forget the battle is far from over. There are still 31 states where same sex marriage is banned or not recognized, but there are even more pertinent issues. In 29 states, it is completely legal for a company to fire you for your sexual or romantic orientation. In 34 you can be fired for being transgender. Yes the fight is nowhere near over, but progress is being made, and for the first time, it seems that these rights could be gained in the near future.

            What may always be a fight, however, is the acceptance of one’s self, and family and societal acceptance. After an LGBTQ youth accepts his or her (or something in between) self, he or she has to deal with the possible rejection of family, friends and the general public. We’ve seen it all before: Bullying, parents disapproval, getting kicked out are all possibilities. But sometimes the rejection is completely blind sighting. Afrika Brown’s THE OUTING deals with two sisters, one gay (Jasmine) and one straight (Jizelle). When Jasmine comes out to her sister, Jizelle loses it, even though one of her best friends is a gay transsexual. Salome, her friend questions her, Jizelle replies with, “You know I have always been fucked up… my sister has always been like a second mother.  I don’t know why, but I’m repulsed.  I can understand wanting to love and be with a man.  But this just seems like bullshit.” 

            It seems to be different when it’s in the family. That’s been the case with many LGBT youth. “You accept _____, why don’t you accept me?!” is a question too many LGBT youth have to ask their parents or siblings. What makes Jizelle not able to accept Jasmine? Is “You know I have always been fucked up,” a good enough answer? Does having trouble accepting a family member’s “newfound” sexuality make someone a bad person? Should there be some type of grace period for friends and family to let it all sink in? Comment and tweet us at @rianttheatre. 

THE OUTING will be performed in the Strawberry One-Act Festival in Series E at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street, NYC on Sunday, August 24th at 4pm.  For tickets go to www.therianttheatre.com

To listen to a podcast interview with Afrika click the link. 

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