Sunday, August 9, 2009

Minimizing Margins - The Beginning

Dear Reader,

Oh boy! Joining the chatter and clatter of our world - I give you - MY VOICE. I have wanted to write a blog for a while now. (Yikes! Another flaming liberal on the web!) And here...I...go.

This coming month I am embarking upon my next life journey as a graduate student at New York University. There I will work towards my Master's in Educational Theatre. There is a laundry list of 'to dos' I want to accomplish in the upcoming years and what better way to track this progress than with you - here!

Over the last year and a half I have given great pause to the burning desire in me to develop creative projects that will promote a more pluralistic and just society. I have examined my personal wants and needs and realized my whole life has existed behind a wall - a wall of fear that was built over a lifetime from the indoctrination I never knew existed. A wall built by the ruling class' ability to keep my ideas and desires in 'there place'. Through this process of examination I have been able to name this wall. The wall is oppression through marginalization. And since naming the wall I have realized how thin the wall really was. In recent months I passed through it to the other side - to the side of validation for what I want for myself and my community.

During this recent period I started asking many festering questions, on the job, in the community and at home. What I learned was that large numbers of people in my own life knowingly or not were suppressing my pluralist vision for our shared world. They were marginalizing my voice as if my views were too extreme, discomforting to discuss or not equal in merit to their own. Or even worse, they at first sign of conflict of ideas refused to engage me in a civil discussion over issues, thus reinforcing the status quo or further suppressing my thoughts. Somewhere in there I had the epiphany that the wall I had blocking my sight was not just my wall. It was very, very real. And it was blocking the eyes of countless herds. What is truly scary - it took me 32 years to get to this place.

To those who would insist the status quo or further suppression of voices like mine will put them on the right side of history, I say - that is never the case. I hope in my unique way I will show how finding what is important to me and caring enough to do something about it is a model for others to come forward and identify what they care enough about. And not just care, but also act to revitalize the democratic process that is critical to advancement.

I am an out and proud gay man. Of primary concern to me is to expose and fight the systematic oppression of myself and the other LGBT members of my given and acquired family. I intend to share not just our stories, but the stories of various LGBT people. I will seek out personal stories of those I don't know who would like to share their oppressive experiences. It is of utmost concern to me to share these stories. Humanizing the oppressed has always been one of the strongest tools to fight against the isolationist vision oppressors have for the lives of LGBT people.

And in this sharing, I anticipate the birthing of a structure for the work I intend to accomplish over the next few years. I know my passion for using the arts as a very direct medium to affect social change will help fuel the creative projects I develop during this phase of my life. I am very excited to take some of my already formed ideas and expand upon them to create real, accessible pieces of art to impact social change. And by accessible I mean works that cross boundaries, that also reach the hearts and minds of the oppressors in a way they can no longer run away from the real changes that need to take place in society to advance us all.

The above being said, LGBT equality is not the only hot button issue with which I am concerned. Over time I will be sharing through my lens stories and experiences that expose oppression of marginalized people in other areas of life and society.

And besides the sobering accounts presented here I will share victorious and humorous experiences. And I will show the real, tangible results from helping marginalized people. I will document the strength plurality brings to our world through the giving of equal space to all voices. And I will underscore everything with a call to action for all marginalized people and those who support them to claim their voice's rightful place.

So, thank you for stopping by. Thank you for indulging my diverse patchwork of ideas, thoughts and feelings. And as I attempt to humanize the spectrum of struggles documented here and use that to shape theatrical experiences I want to hear from you about your views on this blog's content. It is my hope that both dominant and marginalized voices will collide here, removing fear from the debate for our joined journey.

Here's to minimizing margins!

Alan L. Bounville