Celebrating and Making Space for People

Kate Carter (500765809)

The Laboratory of Feminist Memory Bar held by the ARTivism Lab as part of their Speaker Series took place last night at the Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore.

A presentation that I thought about a lot was one that was met with a hush over the room, by Kativa Dogra. Hopelessness in the world, is often met with discomfort or is treated as pessimistic, and maybe it is, but the more we dramatize talking about how terrible the world can be, the less people will want to talk about it. We talked about how important it is to become comfortable with death but why not become comfortable with the fact that there is evil and negativity in the world? Comfort is not to be okay with it, to accept it as something that will never change, but it is to understand how much worse things are and how little many of us do to help. If anything, understanding what others endure should allow us to practice more gratitude and empathy. Life is hard, and yes, other people dealing with worse does not make your pain any less valid but gratitude and empathy are so important. Taboo or negative topics should not be pushed aside because they put a damper on things, sometimes things are sad and that is a fact that can and should be discussed without depressing the atmosphere. Disregarding progress can also be a problem, as it disregards the work and time and suffering of people who have fought for their and many others’ rights leading up to today. Such celebration of progress that took place last night is so important and is such a beautiful thing, both remembering tragedies and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ folks and celebrating the beauty of LGBTQ+ culture and identities. Having public access to this event was also important, art is education and education can often be reduced to what is selected as part of curriculum, which is often heteronormative (Petrik). A point that I found really important that was emphasized throughout the event was the heteronormativity of our society and how it is so deeply harmful, keeping children from learning something as crucial as safe sex, leaving students with no knowledge on how to safely have non-heterosexual sex or leaving LGBTQ+ couples with little to no options for starting a family. It is no surprise sadly, but to have these platforms presented for underrepresented people to speak and share their experiences is so important, things that many cisgendered people do not consider or know about but make a prominent difference and play a detrimental role in the everyday lives of many LGBTQ+ folks. Selfishness is the reason why those men in our peers’ video could not speak to women’s experience and the same reason why I cannot speak to other marginalized people’s identities. Thinking about this really made me wonder how valid my anger and frustration is toward men who choose not to educate themselves on women while I essentially choose not to sufficiently educate myself on the experiences of others. So, I suppose the lesson I learned from this event is to never stop listening, never stop learning, and keep celebrating people!

Petrik, Jeannette. “Education is always about the future: An Interview with Tania Bruguera.” Temporary, http://temporaryartreview.com/education-is-always-about-the-future-an- interview-with-tania-bruguera/. Accessed 11 April 2018.

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