Celebrating 15 years of Performance Activism

Saturday was my birthday. I spent it in Columbia, South Carolina with about 100 students from all over the Southeast for the Eco Reps Conference.

What did I want for my birthday? Just that–time learning and sharing with people passionate about making the world a better.

I cannot think of anything more satisfying than celebrating my birthday doing public art.

My first promo card designed by Tina Encarnacion

As I was about to take the stage Saturday, I realized that it was exactly 15 years before on my birthday in at Holy Trinity Church in Memphis, TN I premiered my play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. This satire about my time in conversion therapy was the first major step I took into the world of performance activism.

The Homo No Mo poster designed by Christine Bakke and inspired by Roy Steele

Since then I have grown as an artist and an activist. As Kurt Vonnegut told me years ago, “Everyone should practice art, because art enlarges the soul.” My craft as a playwright and actor has improved and the topics I feature in my work has widened.

I met my man, Glen Retief, when I perform this play at the 2008 FGC Gathering

What stands out for me most though is that I have had the privilege and joy to meet so many extraordinary people on the road, some who have become dear friends, comrades, and fellow travelers. I write this filled with joy and gratitude. Thank you for supporting my weird ways on and off stage, and my performance activism.

Thank you for challenging me, shaping the work with me,

and deepening my understanding of the world.

Transfigurations

Now a film, Transfigurations provided me an opportunity to merge art, activism, and scholarship.

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