NERVE: Stories Of Queer Resilience aims to inform from real accounts of anti-LGBTQ aggression
Lamia Beard was the first trans woman who was murdered in 2015, but she wasn’t the last.
The 30-year-old woman died of a gunshot in January in Norfolk, Virginia. The Virginia Anti-Violence Project helped to raise the funds necessary so that her family could give her a proper burial.
This tragic event inspired The Virginia Anti-Violence Project to raise awareness of all LGBTQ violence in a unique way.
The idea is simple but powerful; collect real stories from those in the LGBTQ community and use them to create a production that highlights daily harassment and violence.
“While those of us that identify under the big umbrella of the LGBTQ community we sort of, on the daily, experience micro aggressions and repression in lots of different ways,” said Stacie Vecchietti, program director for The Virginia Anti-Violence Project. “I think that there was something about the silence around the horrific violence in the trans community hat spurred us to action. At the same time it wasn’t just about us wanting to feel like victims. It was also about wanting to have a space to claim our resilience and how we go about supporting ourselves and how we go about supporting each other and other members of the community and how to go about doing that in a way that was almost a celebration of the community.”
In order to collect the stories needed in order to create the production Vecchietti used many different resources. “We used social media to get out the word of how people could submit their stories online. That was a way for them to tell it in their own words and to write,” Said Vecchietti. “They could do that confidentially if they wanted they didn’t have to use any kind of identifying information at all. We also held some open story collecting sessions, we advertised it in the community, people came to the open sessions to share their experiences. we also went to already formed groups within our community partners.”
What Vecchietti stressed is that this production will be an outlet, a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community to showcase feelings that they are forced to live with.
“I have to say that it is really impossible to be queer or trans identified and not at some point be afraid.” said Vecchietti. “Whether that’s a fear for your physical safety or a fear for someone in your family. I have a 13-year-old son, every day as an out queer woman I navigate not only my own safety but the safety of my son. Feeling fear and experiencing aggression and harassment and violence based on sexual orientation is something that we experience on the daily. learning to manage that is just a part of what we have to do to survive.”
Most of all, NERVE: Stories Of Queer Resilience is about being proud of the support system that those in the LGBTQ community have created. It’s less about victims and more about survivors.
“I want folks to walk away feeling inspired. I want them to be inspired by the strength and resilience that exists in the LGBTQ community. I want them to see the way we positively impact each other’s lives every day.” Said Vecchietti. “When I first started talking to folks about the event and I would be like ‘Yeah it’s going to be stories of harassment and violence’ people said to me ‘Wow that’s going to be really depressing.’ But that’s not where the story ends. Ultimately this is about creating a space where we can celebrate our strength and resilience and plan for how we are going support each other in the future. ”
NERVE: Stories Of Queer Resilience will be presented at Richmond Triangle Players for a one night only performance on Tuesday, May 26th. Reserve your tickets for this fundraising event here.
Have a few cups of spiked eggnog and get over to RTP.November 29, 2016
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