I wrote to the people running Out Takes to ask a question:
Dear Out Takes,
though I know this is a “Reel Queer Festival”, I’m not sure who is welcome at the “Lesbian Gala Event.” Is this an event for lesbians, for women loving women, for queer people of all genders? To be honest, as a bisexual woman, going to something called a “Lesbian Event” feels disrespectful and invisibilising. In the past, I’ve just chosen not to go to that night.
This year I’d like to ask whether I’m intended to be welcome. If not, that’s fine, and I’d ask that you run nights specifically for other queer groups in future years – “BiNight”, say.
If so, then can you please change the name to reflect who is actually welcome?
They wrote back, very graciously:
Hi, thanks for your message. The name ‘Lesbian Gala’ primarily reflects the theme of the Gala night film, as well as the fact that the Gala concept was founded by the Armstrong and Arthur Trust for Lesbians. It is not meant to reflect who is welcome – each year queer-identified women and people of other genders attend the Gala, as well as some straight allies, and we hope to provide a welcoming environment for all.
We are constantly looking for ways to include broader content, and adapt our festival to suit our audience. So we need to hear about films being made that people want to see, and we need the input of people like you who have ideas! We’re only a small voluntary committee, and we’d love to get new members on board. If you’d like to help us make changes, please consider joining the committee!
This isn’t something I have the time to take up, so I said I would pass on the invitation. If there are other queer people who would like to be part of the “Reel Queer Film Fest,” get in touch with Out Takes – and let’s set up events which are named to make sure we all know we’re welcome, and show films which reflect the diversity of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.
There’s a line-up of great films to check out if you’re in Auckland or Wellington over the next week or so.