Olga, how does the concept of this year’s "Queer Week" fundamentally differ from the previous year?
This year we wanted to accent the events occurring for our society - an Evening of Literature, Art Workshop, card games, discussion club, parties. We didn’t hold a press conference - didn’t invite many journalists.
And what can you tell us about the Evening of Literature?
The idea behind the Evening of Literature was that I wanted to show people that among us there are terribly talented people that one rarely meets like this in everyday life. These are extraordinary people: a girl who lost her sight in childhood, a girl who is silent and communicates using sign language, a girl, who can’t hear and doesn’t talk, whose poems were presented and read by Seo, one of the organizers, with the help of sign language translator. We tried to help the audience understand that this language is also very beautiful. After the performance by the sign language translator people came up to me and told me that they understood the poems without even listening to the words and that it wasn’t even necessary to vocalize them at all. In other words, there were people who understood me without words!
I’m very happy that at least a few people really got my idea. The theme of the visually impaired is woven into my art with a thin thread. I believe that these people are very special and think they see a lot more than even some people to whom nature has given the gift of sight.
On every table we set out paper containing inscriptions, quotes, which were spoken by people who thirst to live - lovers of life and admirers of this gift from God.
Also two talented girls read their own poems and prose. Sivilla Arturova, a very talented poetess, read in Ukrainian and Russian. Her talent can be felt in every line. The other girl, Roger Eliot, played a person who ends up in an accident, drawing a parallel of the worries of love with tragic moments because, as you know, when you are unlucky in love, if you are turned inside out, you can magnify your vision and see all the fine scratches as if made from a thin razor blade. After the car accident one can observe this from the outside. However, I think that inside it is more perceptible.
I was unexpectedly surprised by the amount of people that came to the event. There were a lot of familiar faces, which I didn’t expect to see. I fretted and worried very much that we would offend someone and hurt someone’s feelings with our creation, but I’m very glad that we were successful. Kudos to all the girls who worked in the group. I want to express my appreciation to Marina Eduardovna, Yelena Shevchenko, Zoe Laktionovaya, Nasten’ka, Zhemchuzhynaya Yanocha, Siville Arturova, and Roger Elliott, for sticking with me and helping me in this project.
What moved you to create specifically this kind of event?
There was a moment of searching for something like this; something I hadn’t seen before that I thought would be interesting to the audience. I thought, "What could I do to not leave the audience indifferent?" ... so that the audience would think of their own lives; so that they would start to value what they have; so that they would look around and begin to notice that in our society there are not only healthy beautiful successful people, but there are also more beautiful delicate, vulnerable but, unfortunately, vision impaired people or people who are silent that they need help. But this was in no case out of pity - they exist and it is impossible to leave them unnoticed. It’s the same situation with older people, homeless animals, people with limited possibilities (in wheelchairs) and so forth. All of this exists in the pock-marked world, and we often close our eyes on all of this and don’t see anything further than the end of our noses - only complain about how bad our lives our.
And what are your impressions in general?
I did it! No, that’s not right my team and I did it!!! Yeah! It’s worth living to have these kinds of joyous moments.
Seo, not the least of personalities in the Ukrainian LGBT movement, also agreed to answer a few questions about the festival.
What is this game "Stereotypes?"
The game "Stereotypes" is concentrated on the discussed topics of diversity in our society. It’s no secret that in our society there are a large number of stereotypes, which result in discrimination and stigmatization of certain groups of people, like LGBT, Afro-Americans, Chinese, representatives of other nationalities, people with special needs.
Our game is based on playing out different situations of discrimination. Each player has the opportunity to be in the role of someone who is being put down and someone who is putting someone else down.
And the rules are?
The game Stereotypes is a role-type card game.
Based on legal proceedings, players receive a role and identity. Further, with the help of a moderator, there is a law suit, where the case is heard on the base of a hate crime. All players are biased in a way that depends on the identity that fell to them. Fairness isn’t always victorious. The goal of the game is to play out the existing stereotypes. The game is very interesting and effective.
What is the point of the party?
We recommenced with the parties done previously in the style of "Drag King Show". It’s a drag show, a female drag show. We are accustomed to men dressing up as women. This is the exact opposite! Now these types of shows will be put on every month in "Bochka". Besides us, there was one more drag performance from Aunt Iren, who was also the emcee. There were also quizzes and other games during the program. "Insight" destroys stereotypes, "Insight" invites to its activities both gays and lesbians as well as normal people. However, aren’t gays, lesbian, bisexuals and transsexuals normal people? So "Queer Week" breaks down their stereotypes - stereotypes about people with physical shortcomings, people with other nationalities, stereotypes of "not like everyone else."
Well, we hope that "Insight" breaks down more stereotypes of the Kiev public ... and maybe, not just in Kiev.