Monday, 17 February 2014

Part of the family

I've just finished working on a show with people I have taken to calling our rainbow team ie. the core few people I've been working with within a bigger team are all queer in one way or another.
And of course our sexualities didn't come up in conversation a lot [even when working in theatre it generally doesn't] but just knowing that if I did bring it up, the people around me would know, acknowledge and further what I was talking about, which did happen on occasion; and knowing that I wasn't a minority on my own (as we were still a minority in the wider team) - it felt wonderful.
It was simply lovely, similar to the feeling I get in a gay club or when I'm in or watching a pride parade, a feeling similar to that of family - affection, solidarity, pride, understanding, support. But it was different because it was under everything; our queerness wasn't the main focus of the activity, and we rarely talked about it, because we were getting on with the job, but it wasn't quashed. It wasn't hidden or ignored. It was just there and not a big deal.
I do feel that it's not a big deal with straight friends and coworkers as well (except those that don't pick up or simply forget that I'm bi). It's a feeling akin to acceptance, I think. However, the novelty is being in essentially a queer environment without it being the main reason we are together, and still being tangibly aware of it. LGBT meetings are great, but it is encouraging to find I can get that feeling of solidarity in a 'real life' context as well.
I've always liked being with other queers, just like I enjoy being with my family. Working on this production was like putting on a wedding - the purpose is the marriage of two people (putting on a performance), and it involves a ceremony and a reception (a rehearsed staging and first night party), and logistics like clothes (costume), venue (theatre) and decor (set and props); but doing all the planning and execution around the main event [that can sometimes be dull or a lot of time/effort!] with people you feel a connection to makes it more than bearable; it can at times be as fun as the event itself eg. a shopping trip for clothes becomes enjoyable if you have a parent and/or close friends along to do it with you, and a lengthy conversation about scheduling is made easier if you have something in common with your director.
Hopefully that simile shows that they are similar contexts, with similar results. Feeling closer to my team through our shared queerness enhanced the trust we built in our relationships whilst working to put on a show. Sure, you can't get over major arguments or personality clashes just by being connected - that's why Aunty Margaret has to be seated the other end of the marquee to her sister who she's had a feud with for 20years - but hastening the familiarity meant more honest, frank, and I suppose just more grown up conversations (and Aunty Margaret kept her promise and didn't throw wine in her sister's face. After all, she's still her sister.)
I will admit I started writing this post on the way home from the wrap party, so if it doesn't make sense, blame the gin!

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