Credit: Forward Focus Productions Ltd.
Source: Mary Anne McEwen fonds. Crista Dahl Media Library and Archive, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver, Canada.
Queers In Art Committee Co-chair, Donimo, talks about reclaiming the word ‘queer’.
Donimo: “I think we have to dare to be specific, and speak out about who we are, you know, name who we are, and be brave about it. And I know it’s difficult, we’re not lacking in sympathy towards people that are having a tough time with this word, you know. When I was coming out I had a tough time with the word “lesbian”, with the word “dyke”. I know that. And we’re not callous and we’re not saying “well, get over it”, you know? We’re just asking people to put it in the proper context. It’s not some jerk on the street yelling “queer” at you. This is some friend in the community saying “queer” and saying you’re one of us, and we’re proud of this name.
As far as we’re concerned 25,000 lesbians and gays coming together in one spot, whether it’s to talk about AIDS action or whether it’s a dance, it’s a political issue. It is a political event. It’s also a party but, you know, this is the place for reclaiming words, and this is the place for discussion and dialogue. It’s not the place for knee jerk reactions and censorship.
So, we’re not going to let Queers In Art die. We’re still known as the Queers In Art committee and that’s on our poster – Queers In Art proudly presents – or, the Queers In Art committee proudly presents, An Artisans Market. And we’ll be discussing with people, all of our artists have a Queers In Art artists package. They’ll come to the market and wonder why this has changed, you know. And we’ve got nothing but positive feedback, you know. People are thrilled. I got a call from a guy in Winston, Georgia, who said, “Anyone that calls themselves Queers In Art, well, I’ve got to register for that! I’ve got to make it up there,” you know? Everyone’s thrilled. They think it’s a great name. And down in Seattle at Gay Pride they had the Queer Quakers float. If they can reclaim it surely our Board can, and surely the other people that are writing these protest letters, they can do that also.”