Legislative Theatre – Transgender Youth Project

Legislative Theatre: Watch • Act • Propose laws • Vote!


Mandala Center for Change has organized three successful Legislative Theatre (LT) events from 2015-2017. Featured here is our recent Transgender Youth Legislative Theatre project which took place in August/September 2017.

(See the end of this page for some info on our 2015 and 2016 events on healthcare access/affordability and the youth education system, respectively.)

 

WHAT IS LEGISLATIVE THEATRE?

A Legislative Theatre event has a basic structure:

• WATCH a short play based on issues and struggles from the community.
• ACT onstage to offer alternative solutions/actions to the problems presented.
• PROPOSE ideas for new laws and policies around the issues at hand.
• VOTE on the laws/policies you want to see passed.

Local and regional legislators, who are invited to attend and witness the Legislative Theatre performances, hear all of the information. We then follow up with legislators afterwards to explore what policies they heard from the community that can be enacted.

History of Legislative Theatre:
Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Brazilian theatre visionary, Augusto Boal (1931-2009), developed Legislative Theatre when he was elected Vereador (City Councilor) in Rio de Janeiro from 1993-97. Through this process, Boal and his team successfully put into effect 13 laws inspired directly by the opinions of marginalized, often voiceless populations including homeless youth, black students, blind people, and other groups. Legislative Theatre is part of Boal’s world renowned Theatre of the Oppressed. The Mandala Center for Change is one of only a few companies in the world actively using this creative form of civic engagement.


Transgender Youth Legislative Theatre Project 2017

Initially called the LGBTQ+ Youth Legislative Theatre project, an invitation went out to  local youth (ages 14-22) who identified as Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Gender non-conforming, or otherwise outside of the dominant culture around gender and/or sexual orientation. The project ultimately evolved into the Transgender Youth Legislative Theatre project with a focus on the struggles of living outside the mainstream’s definitions of gender identity and ultimately changing laws and public policy that impact transgender youth. It began with  a week-long, intensive workshop  in August 2017 and culminated with two interactive Legislative Theatre performances in September 2017.
The project was facilitated by Marc Weinblatt and assisted by Tanner DeLuna.

Cast:
Liv Crecca              Jax DeLuna

Micah DeLuna      Sam DeLuna
Mel Edwards         Eamon Redding
Max Stewart

 

“With this project, we can improve not only our queer community but our community as a whole.” – Sam, age 20

There have been several notable outcomes including:
• Jefferson Healthcare has commissioned the Mandala Center to produce a ‘transgender training’ video to be required viewing for all medical providers and support staff who have contact with the public. Content is being driven by a consulting team of transgender youth and adults.
• Gender markers on health intake forms are being adjusted to be more inclusive of a variety of transgender identities.
• Port Townsend High School staff are receiving specific training on transgender issues in order to better support their students.
• The Port Townsend Library has committed to expanding its adult and youth collection on transgender materials including trans main characters and trans authors.

* In addition, the PT Library is hosting a public presentation on our project as part of International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. This will include videos and a Q & A led by some of the youth participants.
[Thurs, May 17th, 2018 @ 7 PM @ PT Public Library. Details TBA…]

   >> Read the feature in Yes! Magazine about this project! <<

 

Check out videos and the Final Report sent to legislators below:

Highlights of the Legislative Theatre process with excerpts from the forum play.


Watch the full Forum Theatre play, “Queer Survival Quest.”


Read the Final Report sent to legislators for an overview of proposals, outcomes, and more information about the project.

LGBTQ+ Youth Legislative Theatre – Final Report

 

Check out previous Mandala Center Legislative Theatre projects:

May 2016: at-risk youth on the failure of the education system
Port Angeles, Clallam County, WA

 

October 2015: healthcare access/affordability
Port Townsend, Jefferson County, WA

Two new local policies are underway as a direct result from these events.  Most notably, now in development is a low cost dental clinic in Jefferson County covered by state insurance.

Listen to a radio documentary!