What about gay anything? The straight press reports on gay issues, so do we still need gay publications? (I think we do.) This article argues that gay theater still matters.
So yes, I will say it: we do need queer theatre. (We also need deaf theatre, black theatre or any theatre that says something important, that says “I am what I am” or “Yes we can”.) It’s not about converting people to being gay, rallying the troops or glorifying a way of life. It’s about exploring and expressing stories to an audience – some people will see things from a new point of view, some will be relieved that someone else can see theirs, and others will leave at the interval. Personally, I wish my work was theatre-first, and that queer came further down the list (hopefully after a few superlatives). I also try to make the subject engaging to everyone, so that a straight audience can see the overriding theme of humanity, rather than it being a show for “someone else”.
From my experience, Average Joe dancing at G-A-Y on a Saturday night probably won’t turn to the Guardian’s politics pages to keep up to date on issues. He might not read this blog, unless it’s through a link posted on his Facebook page. But he might come to see an entertaining show with a couple of songs, camp comedy and a few well-placed political points. And if he does, and he listens, maybe he’ll learn something of his queer history, or perhaps reassess how the situation could improve. Then I’ll be happy – and maybe even proud.