A Letter to Queer and Trans* Arts Sector in the UK
Still from 'You Are Not Alone' - commissioned by Focal Point Gallery, Southend. 2017.
Scottee & Friends Ltd are an arts organisation that create work across lots of different contexts and art forms across the UK. Our work is often about marginalisation - we’ve made work thats is often made with participants, rooted in activism that tackles and continues to address age, class, the far right, economic privilege, ecology, gender equality, socialism and fatness. We have also extensively focused our resources on queer issues, the rights of queer and trans* folk and the care directed towards our community.
In recent months across the UK we’ve become aware of multiple violent attacks towards our community - some well reported in the media, some told to us through emails and direct messages with colleagues, participants and pals. We’ve heard stories of graphic violence, silencing, abuse, hate campaigns, threats and blood shed. This is happening at a time when MP’s from both sides of the house have opposed the teaching of LGBTQ+ relationships in school, when prominent trans* activists are smeared and removed from third sector campaigning, when those at the forefront to become the next prime minister deny our equality, amongst very public, violent attacks ...no one is stepping forward.
As a result many of us who sit within the LGBTQIA+ community are experiencing a heightened level of paranoia of public space, some of us are experiencing an increased amount of public abuse, some of us are now fearful to be visible or leave the house.
Hate campaigns, the media, elected leaders, the current political climate and the organised and well orchestrated agenda of the polical right have undoubtedly led to a new found acceptability in outward homophobic and transphobic attacks - galvanising those who deem us disposable, second class, beatable.
We feel must respond - we believe this has to be a collective response that goes beyond the four walls of our theatres, art spaces and practices - but let's start with what we know, the assets we have, the institutions we have onside and the makers who can collectively decide the best foot forward.
We think the first step is to set up and put resources to10 national meetings to be held simultaneously, where we as a sector decide how best to respond - collective thought, collective activism, collective agenda.
We’re asking queer and trans* makers and artists from across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to come forward and suggest a location for 1 of the 10 meetings - we’ll help orchestrate a space for these to happen and give each meeting £100 to provide refreshments and offer support to those who may need travel assistance because of access and/or fear of travelling on public transport considering the current climate. We’ll also supply an agenda and opening statement to get the conversation rolling.
Are you a maker? Do you want to host a meeting on 1st July at 7pm?
Are you an artist / producer / maker and want to attend?
Are you a building / space / institution who could host a meeting on 1st July?
Drop Scottee a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re expecting multiple regions to come forward - we’re going to try and do what we can to accommodate everyone everywhere but we’re just one small organisation. If you are in a position to support it further - drop us a line!
This isn’t the answer to our problems but we think it's a start.
*Scottee will be hosting the Manchester meeting on 1st July
* Props to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for making this possible with their continued support of our work and activisms