Part of the zeitgeist? Exploring our Queer world and art

In Features, Opinion by Chris GradyLeave a Comment

For most of my life I have identified as a pretty standard, two-up-two-down, semi-detached man. Ground floor extension caused by age, gym-phobia and living has increased my square footage, but not my value.   A pretty normal, unexciting, introvert 58-year-old man.

But inspired by the universe, the ether, the zeitgeist, or a re-awakening of the earlier me, my “outlook” is changing and I am exploring new locations and new neighbours. It’s a queer world, and I am embracing what is flowing.

This summer has been a time of realising that the queer agenda, and even more specifically the areas around trans and gender fluidity, have reached me in a way which is heartfelt and revitalising. I am blessed with being rooted in love with a 16-year partner who is welcoming my explorations, and together we talk and consider so much of this queer world. I am not myself wondering about gender transitioning – this old structure pretty much represents the outer and inner me. But I am on a journey of discovery about me, and those I love, and those around me.

Three things seem to be coalescing to inform and support my direction of enquiry and personal travel.   The work I began in January with a single agenda item at Devoted & Disgruntled in Birmingham on “Clothing Optional Theatre” has attracted attention and exploration at a much deeper level of sensuality, sexuality, shame, gender than I first expected – around the broader theme of “How do we choose to reveal our bodies through life, performance, and art ?” This in turn invites the exploration around the, sometimes false, assumption that our physical body reflects our personal gender identity. In November I will be hosting and facilitating a further one day conference on this world of topics, which will itself be clothing optional. It will be by invitation only, but if you would like to be more aware of the programme then please get in touch.

Over the last two years I have been exploring myself and my place in the sensual sexual spiritual world, and this summer went to the beautifully held retreat called Quintasensual which “seeks to promote and encourage spirituality, sexuality and tantra that encompasses “queerness” but also is inclusive to all….” A clothing optional and very welcoming week of workshops – and the sun shone for much of it. I then made a lightening trip to Edinburgh to be mainly clothed (except of course for the annual naked cabaret) and mainly observational (until challenged to discuss my sex life in a free fringe event I walked in upon unexpectedly). And finally my festival summer included a very rain sodden visit to the first Queer Spirit Festival, to re-connect with some friends I had met at quintasensual. Both these festivals awakened me to new possibilities, new dialogues, and experiencing a more queer world.

And my third coalescing awakening is through my surgeries and coaching. Without knowingly “calling it in” the universe appears to be bringing to my skype and meeting table a glorious array of enlightened, queer, trans and fluid artists and people working in creative and spiritual practice. Some at the start of the journey of realization of how they might choose to reveal their bodies & self, to themselves and others. Some now completely identified with the persona they want to be sharing with the world – the he, she, or they, which brings them joy in their ongoing lives. I am also suddenly being invited to, or made aware of, amazing theatre, television, and books which are exploring the trans issues. Last week I was lucky enough to see one of the final performances of the rich, rewarding, and beautifully acted play “Rotterdam” by Jon Brittain, directed by Donnacadh O’Briain, designed by the wonderful Ellan Parry and produced by HartshornHook, for which they can all be mighty proud.

These three areas encompassing formal research, personal exploration, and coaching encounter seem all to be leading me forward with growing awareness. I feel as though I am just doing the GCSE in gender politics and life experience, but part of that study is about sharing and being open to friends and the universe about my exploration.

I went to the Deep Blue Sea at the National last month, and that in turn encouraged me to begin reading more about playwright Terence Rattigan and his world. He lived at a time when homosexuality was “the love that dared not speak its name”. We live in a different era, but still there are many who feel scared about being open, being “out”. And there are many, many, many nations around the world where any form of LGBT queer revelations is still hidden and at times punishable by death. I will continue to ask questions, to offer my connections and surgeries to those on the journey, and see where it all takes us. We need all the love, artistry, sexuality and sensuality in the world, provided it remains conscious and heartfelt.

PS I love the London Pride traffic lights in Trafalgar Square – thank you London and Pride.

 

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Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.
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Chris Grady on RssChris Grady on Twitter
Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.

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