Imagine a room full of warm, passionate, intelligent and funny individuals. Inject fierce dedication to social justice, human rights and LGBT pride, and that is the very essence of Queerologues. Queerologues was part of ’DEIS Impact and was put on by the Brandeis Queer Resource Center (QRC), which is a peer education and counseling outreach group on campus.
The third annual Queerologues took place on Monday, Feb. 3 in the International Lounge in Usdan from 8-9:30 p.m. Consisting of nine acts, including poetry, monologues and an original song, this was a hilarious, meaningful and provocative event. Additionally, it was strongly emphasized that Queerologues was a safe, nonjudgmental space outside of which the identities of the performers would not be revealed. The event had a turnout that filled about half of International Lounge, but the spirited, passionate, funny and warm environment emanating from the audience and performers alike compensated for a full house. The program was prefaced with the idea that “social justice should be a verb that we do everyday,” highlighting the significance of the event to the LGBT community, the obstacles they have overcome in the recent past, and their lack of basic human rights.
Poems primarily composed the event, which were all well-written and well-performed. Some poems were about poignant issues such as gender identity, validity of self and other personal issues, while others had more whimsical influences, such as living on a farm. The first poem was extremely graphic and based off of a dream that the poet’s mother had male genitalia which led to her death.
The second poet is currently working on a poetry thesis and performed her poetry aloud for the first time at Queerologues. She read three poems, discussed the topic of each one and also shared with the audience some Hawaiian vernacular that was in the poems so that they would be better understood. She spoke about people who are queer, overweight, disabled or facing other issues that make them different from the status quo and how society tends to tell them that their issues are not real to cope with their discomfort. Her last two poems discussed gender and her two-year anniversary with her partner and were punctuated with beautiful imagery.
Two of the most memorable performances from the program were two monologues. The first talked about myriad issues that the queer community encounters, such as sexual stigma, gender expectations and stereotypes, ignorance, assumptions that are made about LGBT individuals and a powerful yearning for not just tolerance, but acceptance. The performer was extremely animated and discussed personal occurrences that brought the monologue to life, such as attending church as a lesbian.
The second monologue emphasized something that is applicable to every individual regardless of sexual orientation and gender: taking risks in love. The speaker began by pondering her first childhood crush in third grade, and spoke about how she discovered her sexual orientation and personal difficulties and experiences that she has had in the department of romance. She addressed problems that many people cope with, such as separating sex from emotion, getting hurt and making oneself vulnerable, and ended with the sentiment that all experiences (even hurtful ones) are valuable.
Perhaps the best act of the event was an original song performed with a ukulele. The performer began by discussing the story behind the song: He had struggled with being queer and the challenges and relationships that accompanied it for a long time. The best friend who had supported him throughout it all, and the beautiful chords and honest lyrics accentuated how meaningful that was. The performer created a song that was raw, emotional, and poetic. The lyrics were rife with imagery and feeling and when combined with masterful ukulele playing, would have been enough to land a record deal right then and there.
Queerologues was an unforgettable event filled with very talented and genuine performers who discussed personal, sociological and political issues that are often glossed over by society, leaving the audience with the desire to go out and make the world a better and more tolerant place.
Queerologues began three years ago in response to the Vagina Monologues, following Male Monologues and Real Monologues (with professors), resolving the issue of the unheard voice of the Queer community. “The main purpose of Queerologues is to offer a safe space for members of the Queer community to be themselves and to express themselves artistically,” said Robyn Lederer, a member of the QRC. “I’m thrilled that we had a great turnout, and I’m proud to see people coming to this event,” she said. Essentially, Queerologues is a haven for members and supporters of the LGBT community to be themselves, have fun and foster their creativity.
The QRC is a student-run organization that supports, educates and advocates for all members of the Brandeis community who identify with being lesbian, gay, under the transgender umbrella, asexual, queer, intersex, BDSM, King, Polyamory, in addition to allies. Services are also provided to counsel and educate about intersectionality, privilege and oppression, domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide prevention, self-harm and sexual health.