Today I’m rocking Charles Wright’s ‘Express Yourself’ as I reflect back on a fun night out last night. Our Saturday night shenanigans this week involved a journey into self expression! We were invited to an art opening for a friend of Joseph’s. His work is highly erotic in nature and harks back to the dreams he had as a 30 something man in NYC 35 years ago. Actually his work was really quite magical. The exhibition was at a new venue in town that is seeking support for it to become a safe place for people to express themselves without judgement and is being promoted by young LGBT youth here in SMA. The group gave an impassioned talk about what it’s like being a young and gay in Mexico and how grateful they are to live in a community with a large number of expats who are helping to change the attitude to LGBT men and women and embrace diversity – even if there are still challenges here in this town and ares where people just don’t go. There is still much education and community development to be done to ensure that no one is marginalised.
This is one of the reasons we love living here in SMA – diversity and reinvention! Many people who come to live here reinvent themselves and discover a part of themselves they had not felt able to explore in their previous lives. And most of all, people feel able to express themselves so freely here!
We’ve heard friends say that it takes 9-12 months to really settle in here and that’s true for us. As part of this, we’re exploring how best we can contribute our talents to the wider community here. Last night, in the midst of such a diverse and open crowd, I started to wonder whether this is where I can help support people to face their fears and embrace their identity…perhaps harking back to my old Street Arts days. Watch this space.
One of the folks I enjoyed getting to know last night was a stunning trans woman from Mexico City who supports a group of young trans people who need a safe place to live and explore their identity without being attacked. While many parts of Mexico are accepting of diversity, there is also somewhat of a double standard and last night I learned how police in some cities do nothing to come to the aid of trans people when they’ve been attacked – sometimes even provoking the attacks themselves. So safe homes like Lipstick are really important. f
As a form of self expression where they feel safe to explore their femininity, the group practice a form of dance called Voguing which originated in NYC in the 1970’s. We were treated to a dance off last night. Voguing is SO expressive and uses every part of the body – it’s actually really emotional to watch as you realise the performers aren’t always able to express themselves, so when they’re in a place like the one we shared, suddenly they feel to ramp it up and fully express themselves without fear! I sat back and watched…this gal can’t dance in 6 inch heels like the performers! Fabulous!
Every new experience we enjoy here, opens up new vistas for us….long may it continue.