2016 end of year reflection

SQIFF has had another exceptional year with audience numbers up (to 2500) for our 2nd annual festival, a (somewhat random and unexpected) tour of Colombia, and loads of one-off events and collaborations. We continue to work extremely hard to promote films by, about, and for LGBTIQ+ people and to try to include more marginalised identities which are too often excluded. Solidarity, love, and the belief that physical spaces for LGBTIQ+ folks to come together are essential for community building motivate this work.

If we had to pick one SQIFF highlight this year, it would be our Festival event Braw Butches, a look at butch and female masculine perspectives with films plus discussion at Glasgow Women’s Library. We screened documentary Gender Troubles: the Butches, a blunt and uncompromising work in which director Lisa Plourdes appears alongside others sharing experiences of discrimination, shaming, media invisibility but also pride in being a butch woman. Alongside this, we showed several short films, BOOTWMN, Boi oh Boi [link to watch film with no captions], and I am a Woman, all with differing takes on women, butchness, and masculinity. After a suitable Women’s Library-esque break for tea and pastries, there was a discussion with panellists Jo Johnson, Azara Meghie, and Naomhán O’Connor.

What we particularly loved about this event was the solidarity across different gender identities. Interviewees in Gender Troubles rightfully bemoaned the fact they have been told within their communities they should become trans men – a problem, yes. But we also gained a nuanced viewpoint of someone who has ID’d both as lesbian and trans male at different times as is the case with Boi oh Boi filmmaker Thirza Cuthand. My Genderation‘s Naomhán O’Connor spoke of their place within discussions around female masculinity as a non-binary person who was assigned female at birth. A trans woman in the audience said she was surprised to find she had something in common with cisgender butch lesbian women in the form of fear of abuse in public bathrooms. And an older woman commented how great it was to see younger LBTQ+ folks playing with and exploring their identities through activism. All this is important because we (the different identities represented) share history and culture as well as a need to pool our meagre resources as marginalised groups. Whilst straight people continue to publish incendiary articles in national newspapers encouraging infighting and scapegoating amongst LBTQ+ communities, it feels good to be part of something which acknowledges the subtleties of gender ID and promotes inclusion and unity whilst also respecting difference.

We’ve already started working on our 2017 Festival – dates to be announced! And we’ll be announcing an event or two as part of LGBT History Month Scotland in February soon. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who supports us and comes along to events cause we couldn’t do what we do without you. Much love and a happy new year to all xxx

P.s. you can now make donations to support SQIFF in case anyone has a rich lesbian auntie…

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