Gay Utopia

Posted on October 24, 2012 by sian

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in making this event happen……..

For decades, gay men around the world have been marching down our own proverbial yellow brick road with protest banners and candles, fighting for equal rights and acceptance into mainstream society. We’ve survived the heartache and prejudice of the HIV/Aids epidemic, and with the advent of effective HIV medications, we can truly say ‘We’ve passed through that darkness too.’

We are now standing on the cusp of the dawn of a new age — our own Emerald City, where we can raise families, wed our boyfriends, name our own streets, have our own television shows and strut our stuff proudly. We are courted by businesses, consulted by the influential and powerful, encouraged, accepted and celebrated.

Surely, this must be the Gay Utopia we’ve been fighting for?

However, much as we have the love and support of our friends, families and partners, there’s a darkness and terrible shame hiding just beneath the surface. The evidence? A community struggling with serious mental health and addiction issues, teenage suicides, social dysfunction, dissatisfaction, destructive behaviours and habits.

As the veneer of being fabulous starts to wear thin for many gay men, there is disillusionment as the realisation dawns on those brave enough to look that they’re trapped on the seesaw of “love myself or hate myself,” “single or coupled,” “feast or famine.” Many continue consciously or unconsciously with this struggle of self-hatred and disgust, some with only a suspicion of what lies beneath, but a growing number are starting to ask themselves: Is this really as good as it gets?

The weekend will highlight the gulf between the public and gay world’s perception of a liberated and happy community and address some of the tough emotional realities gay men face in modern times.

Saturday 3rd November 2012

An evening of performance storytelling, exploring the lives of a series of gay men as they journey through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The evening will be sure to prompt laughter and tears, as previous The Quest workshop participants relay their stories of growing up gay in a straight world. Compare their experiences to your own, how will your emotions and memories be stirred? An evening that you are certain to remember, and one to bring your friends and families to!

Sunday 4th November 2012

Panel of commentators, talking from their personal and professional experience – offering their perspectives on ‘what lies beneath the surface’ of the lives of gay men, and how gay men can start to build authentic futures. There will be opportunities for the audience to quiz the panel and engage in debating the issues. Information on the panelist can be found here.

Here is some of the feedback we have received since the event:

It was something completely different, slick and inspiring on both days. I think it also takes the work of The Quest to the next level

Real Life Stories was amazing and definitely would be great to have it seen again and to have it as an ongoing series!

Very touching and poignant evening and definitely thought provoking at least for me personally

The window into other people’s lives uncovering often unspoken issues which I could relate to and empathise with. Gave me cause to reflect on things I don’t often face

I found that it gave me a feeling of fellowship

Sat: Very powerful Sun:informative

Community building away from the usual scene. Real. Honest. Intimate. Panel discussions were great and panelists were well chosen

The maturity of the event both in approach taken by the panel members/the real life story performers and the willingness by all to take responsibility for taking issues forward in our community

Performance by real people telling their own stories. I could relate to all the stories. The panel for the debate was brilliant. They were all very open minded and did not impose or judge in any way. They all clearly stated that was not a problem taking drugs and having a lot of partners but it is only when it does not make us happy or when it is becoming destructive. The panel was very diverse

As an older gay man I thought ‘the young crowd’ had it all and felt rather jealous. I am – by attending such events – learning that everything in the garden is not rosy and that which worries me as I had a simple, happy and uncomplicated gay life.

* Great venue * Excellent, polished and authentic performance. * It would be great to get it out to a larger LGBT audience…you’ve done all the hard work at creating this event and so long as the performers were available and willing, rolling it out would help other people benefit from some self-reflection

It was great to hear people’s life stories, brought alive. As with the book launch of Love Me As I Am, there is much one can relate to and the evening was stronger for that

It was the beginning of the debate. It was great to bring all sides of the debate together – therapy based, political/rights based and health protection based

Great cakes on Sunday!

I hope you can take the performance to many more members of our community. Well done!

Thank you for your Quest without your vision I would not have the courage to change. I say a day at a time that my story counts

I’m very grateful for the hard work put in by all concerned in putting on this event

Keep up the good work. This is important and far reaching. It will snowball!

Excellent High Tea!

I am grateful for The Quest, I am still taken everything in

Thank you for doing this show

Thanks again for this fantastic weekend

Well done to all of you!!!!

I thought the panel were very good, and well drawn from different backgrounds/disciplines.

Thank you for such a great initiative, massive well done to The Quest!

We would like to thank – Mark Roelofsen (Alaska Events), Living Well, Konditer and Cook, Paul Burston (Time Out), QX Magazine, Boyz, Polari Magazine, (Alex Hopkins) Beige Magazine and all the panelists – for helping us make the event worthy of all those comments above.

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