It’s been a rough year. Don’t lose heart.
From HB2 in North Carolina to the massacre at Pulse in Orlando, 2016 has been hard on us. This year is the deadliest on record for trans people, and the results of the election bring new uncertainty to our community.
Many of us, already exhausted by the events of the past year, now wonder if our future holds more years like it. Crisis hotlines for LGBT people have been inundated since Election Day. We share your weariness and heartbreak and grief.
It seems every year we, on the Wicked Queer steering committee, are asked anew, “Why do we still need a queer film festival?”
We need queer film now because it nourishes us.
When we see ourselves on the screen, it affirms that our lives matter and our stories are worth telling. When we hold spaces where we can laugh and cry and talk together, we know that none of us are in this alone. When we watch films as a community, we can confront our most dire challenges and dream of our most hopeful futures as one.
As queer film programmers, we are a part of an international network of curators who bring our stories to LGBT communities in all corners of the world.
We know people who arrange festivals in foreign embassies for protection. Who covertly screen short films on the subway between stops. Who travel on fake papers so their government won’t know where they are. We know people who smuggled queer films past the Iron Curtain to provide a lifeline to LGBT communities in the eastern bloc.
These people are our peers and our friends and our heroes. We admire their decades of abiding bravery.
We are deeply grateful that we live in a country where our freedoms of expression and assembly are valued and protected. Should this freedom ever be jeopardized, for us or for any vulnerable community, we will not be silent.
We write today in a spirit of welcome and resolve. We are heartened by the love of each other and our allies. We take comfort in the knowledge that those who would harm us and others represent neither the best nor the majority of America.
Join us at our screenings. You’ll be moved, tickled, provoked, held in suspense, turned on, and opened to new perspectives, in an inclusive and vibrant community of film-lovers.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we are all in this together, and we are not going anywhere.
Forever in love and solidarity, we’ll see you at the movies.
The Wicked Queer Staff