Become Inspired To Tell Your Own Story

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

May 20, 2011

Become Inspired To Tell Your Own Story

By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA

We encourage you to see the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project’s (QWOCMAP) 7th Annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival at the Brava Theater in San Francisco on June 10, 11, and 12. It is not only fun, but also insightful. QWOCMAP is an organization that addresses issues concerning queer women through art and activism. Their art is film.

All Communities Have Groups But Only One Dominates

Visualize a community, does not matter whether large or small, represented by concentric circles. The dominant group lives in the center and as you move away from the center, you’ll encounter other groups less and less dominant. In the last couple of circles you’ll find groups that are truly on the margins. The dominant group defines the universe. In fact, the dominant group and the universe are one and the same. Like a total eclipse, that little center casts a shadow that covers all other circles. The group in the center is not compared to other groups, indeed, it is the standard for comparison. Its values become fundamental truths and its beliefs are codified in law. The center group does not have to listen and therefore does not hear.

How Do You Tell Others About Yourself And Your Group?

What happens when you don’t belong to the center? It probably depends on how far from the center you are. If you live way out there, you are probably invisible and unheard. Our son published an article while still in college writing that his was a double curse: a gay person of color in a euro-centric patriarchy. What would it be like when you are a person of color and a woman and a lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Who would you talk to? Who would talk to you? Who is listening? Most people are resilient and find other people like them and form groups of kindred spirits, build a circle and talk to each other. But at times, talking to just each other is not enough. There is a longing to have life make sense in a context larger than the immediate one. There is an urge to be heard by others, to tell them who you are and that you matter. It would be difficult, no doubt, because you’re not seen or heard, but you try.

Tell Your Story Anyway You Can And Learn From Others

There are many ways to be heard, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project does it with film. Film is a powerful way to get your message across. Advertisers use it to sell products and Hollywood creates stereotypes without even trying. But film is expensive, it costs about $1000 per minute of final film. How many times have you seen a film about and by queer women of color? Not very many, because queer women of color usually don’t have access to the money necessary to make even a ten-minute film. They also have little opportunity to develop the talents and skills to translate vision into art. QWCMAP is changing that. They offer free workshops for queer women to tell their story with film. At the festival you can see 38 new stories that will inspire and encourage you to tell your own. We collect stories. Stories, especially those that are personal, are probably the best way to be heard across all concentric circles. Go visit the festival, see and listen what a group from one of the outer circles is telling you. They are not whispering and what they have to say will make you think of a way to tell your own story.

Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org

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