Gay City Youth Arts Coordinator Ebo Barton performs at Lush Us 2016.
Today marks the start of a new celebration in Seattle, courtesy of the folks at Gay City, Gender Justice League, and Three Dollar Bill Cinema. Trans Arts Month, running May 5 through June 5, will feature performing arts, visual art, film, and more in a month long series of events celebrating the beauty and diversity of work by trans artists.
“When it comes down to it, Trans Arts Month is an opportunity to humanize trans artists,” said Gay City Youth Arts Coordinator Ebo Barton. “Art doesn’t have to be high-minded, and sometimes it’s just telling a story about yourself.”
Trans Arts Month kicks off with The Enchanted Life and Temporary Death of Sadie December from Gay City Arts and Dorothy Frances Kent.
“Trans art is essential, not only for our community to survive but to thrive,” said Kent when asked about her semi-autobiographical one woman show. “By telling our unique stories we acknowledge our rich, if cruel past and learn about ourselves and each other.”
The following weekend will see the start of Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival.
“Film is such a powerful medium,” said Sam Berliner, Translations Festival Director. “As gender-variant people, recognizing ourselves on-screen and being able to relate to the characters is unbelievably affirming.”
The rest of the month will be filled with other events, including a trans and genderqueer open mic, a reading of a trans children’s book, and Mosaic, a multi-genre performance showcase with community trans and genderqueer artists.
The collaboration is an important effort, according to Gay City Executive Director Fred Swanson, because it allows the trans and genderqueer community to share their own stories in their own voice.
“We wanted to recognize some of the incredible work that is coming out of the trans community right now,” said Swanson. “In the past year or two you might have heard more about trans people on TV, but that’s not the same thing as hearing directly from trans people themselves.”
Giving space to trans artists also helps to counteract some of the side effects of gentrification felt by Seattleites.
“We need to hear more stories from trans people,” said Barton. “If nothing else, it’s an important reminder to this rapidly growing city of straight people buying condos, whose neighborhood they’re moving into.”
Trans Arts Month runs May 5 through June 5. To learn more, and see a schedule of Trans Arts Month events, visit gaycity.org/transartsmonth.