“I’m not okay” and “we’re not okay” are phrases uttered to describe the current state of many LGTBIQ+ people. COVID-19 has intensified the pathologisation of certain lives already affected by decades of HIV and the medicalisation of their identity. An underlying malaise has escalated, with symptoms multiplying. After so many years of struggle and protest, a yearned-for wellbeing appears to disappear from the horizon, highlighting the gulfs in affective frameworks and life projects. Sexuality is encoded and unfurls through pharmapornograpic channels that displace our bodies and desires and put them out of our control, creating both anxiety and frustration. Politically, debate and dissent become entrenched in ill will and irreconcilable positions inside the community as we witness an upsurge in homophobic and transphobic violence inside and outside our borders.
As a counterbalance, we are also seeing the growing desire to speak out and share what is happening to us, shelving taboos and complexes and recognising our own and others’ discontent as a principle of collective agency.
This programme, coinciding with the celebration of LGTBIQ+ Pride, does not look to “thematise” a pathological situation. Rather, it sets out to demonstrate the power of admitting we ourselves are fragile and vulnerable, together with other lives shaken by persecution and exile. Nor does it seek to moralise on the positions and practices outside the norm, vindicating a greater capacity for agency of and over our bodies and sexual impulses, developed here through plastic, poetic, written and performative devices.