By: Bob Bucklew, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
On October 5, 2018, the Community Advisory Board (CAB) of the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals AIDS Clinical Research Site sponsored a showing of the film “Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens” for the Greater Cleveland community. The film, a documentary filmed in Columbus, Ohio, explores gender, race, sexuality and changing self-identity against the backdrop of a then-thriving local drag performance scene. The event was open to the community free of charge.
Approximately 50 people attended the event which started out with a reception, and included popcorn (of course!). Following the screening, an audience discussion was led by CAB Chair Julie Patterson with one of the stars of the movie, Sile Singleton who performs as Luster dela Virgion, and Anita Kwan, owner of Reel Hoot Productions and editor of the film. The discussion was lively and inspirational. Topics covered included the differences between drag performance and gender identity, and the particular ways race and racism impact transgender people and communities.
The CAB brainstormed new ways to continue the critical conversation around gender, justice, and HIV. Several members had previously seen the film at the Cleveland International Film Festival. In addition to being an intelligent and entertaining film, the CAB members thought that having the film set in Ohio would allow a greater connection with our community than if it had been filmed in a larger coastal city, and they were correct.
Julie Patterson summed up the event, “Community members enjoyed the film and found it was a springboard for discussion about gender fluidity, generational differences in identity, and the transformative power of drag. Ohio is full of amazing people - you just have to know where to find them!”
Bob Bucklew is the outreach coordinator with Case Western Reserve University.