Tweeter button Facebook button Youtube button

Stories of LGBTQ Youth from the Big Easy

The cast of "Say My Name, Say My Name" at ArtEgg Studios in New Orleans. They describe the production as a "testimony of their stories." Photo by Kara Khan.

Wes, the founding director of BreakOUT!, a non-profit that fights against the criminalization of LGBTQ youth.

Adore, one of the 14 core members of BreakOUT! in the parking lot of ArtEgg studios where the group holds weekly meetings. Photo by Kara Khan.

Derwin, one of the 14 members of BreakOUT! and a performer in the "Say My Name, Say My Name" production. Photo by Kara Khan.

Members of BreakOUT! in the parking lot of ArtEgg studios where the group holds weekly meetings. Photo by Kara Khan.

Se'Miyah, one of the 14 members of BreakOUT! and a performer in the "Say My Name, Say My Name" production. Photo by Kara Khan.

Adore, one of the 14 core members of BreakOUT! in the "Say My Name, Say My Name" production. Photo by Kara Khan.

Lhundyn, one of the 14 members of BreakOUT! and a performer in the "Say My Name, Say My Name" production. Photo by Kara Khan.

Milan, one of the six founding members of BreakOUT!. "BreakOUT! has been nothing but amazing. It's the best family I've ever come across besides my immediate family." Photo by Kara Khan.

BreakOUT! perform in New York City. Photo by Meral Agish.

BreakOUT! perform in New York City. Photo by Meral Agish.

BreakOUT! perform in New York City. Photo by Meral Agish.

 

Photos by Kara Khan and Meral Agish / Text by Meral Agish

NEW YORK — A woman pulls out a letter she has written to her younger self and dedicated to her daughter. The advice is sweet and maternal:

“You are a beautiful young woman.”

But for Milan, the woman reading the letter, the source of her wisdom has an edge.

“I’m priceless yet I find myself constantly putting a price tag on my body.”

Milan, one of the 6 founding members of BreakOUT!. “BreakOUT! has been nothing but amazing. It’s the best family I’ve ever come across besides my immediate family.”

Milan is young, only in her 20s, the daughter she mentions is a teenaged friend whom she mentors. And the advice is based on her experience as a young trans woman and, for a time, as a sex worker. Milan and her four fellow cast members traveled from New Orleans to perform “Say My Name, Say My Name” at the New York Live Arts Center in Manhattan last week.

The piece transported the audience again and again to New Orleans. The city is the hometown of the five performers — and the focus of their work. The cast members are all part of BreakOUT!, a youth-led organization that works to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color in New Orleans. The words they speak on stage are all based on their lives. The stories they tell, of being beaten by a grandfather after coming out or of being fired after transitioning at work, are real.

“Say My Name, Say My Name” starts with a light question: what do people think when they think of New Orleans? One by one, the cast touches on the city’s hedonistic reputation, from Bourbon Street to Mardi Gras to boozing, before settling on a darker side of the city that affects the lives of LGBTQ youth daily.

>> Continue reading 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>