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Taking a Village: the GLBT Youth/PFLAG Project|
by Joan Lipkin
May 25, 2004
Almost 400 people packed the Contemporary Art Museum at St. Louis’s first theater production featuring a performance of original works by glbt youth and PFLAG parents. It was one of the most age-diverse events I had ever seen.
Before and after the performance, PFLAG moms circulated with trays of apple pie, and audience members were offered feather boas, masks and face glitter by a welcoming committee.
While tickets were low — $5 for the disabled youth 22 and younger, and $10 or free for limited income — we still covered expenses, and also raised money for PFLAG and Growing American Youth.
The museum itself was open for viewing, and it is truly a fantastic new space.
About 20 minutes later, we recited a deconstruction of the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we preceded with a funny and poignant mixture of pieces by the glbt youth, alternating with works by the PFLAG parents.
Our production was community-based, developed by the participants, most of whom have limited theater experience and yet, they inhabit what they are doing fully and with great heart. This gives it a different kind of presence, a different kind of beautiful, than traditionally produced plays. Not only that, it also had moments of great theatricality.
During the time we came to know them, several of our youth had very limited support at home, or had actually been kicked out of their homes. As we said in the piece, “The lives of adolescents are complicated. The lives of glbt youth are a whole different kind of complicated.”
It really took a village to put this on, and a village came together.