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St. Albert LGTBQ support group is an important addition to the local community

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There are two events coming up next week that will be of interest to queers and those that love us.

Outloud drag show

Consider heading to St Albert on September 30. “An Evening with Outloud” is a drag show and silent auction raising funds for the eponymous youth group. The evening is presented in cooperation with the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose and will feature performances from drag queens and kings.

Outloud is an LGBTQ youth group for folks aged 13 to 24 that currently meets at the Collective in downtown St Albert. The group is very youth-driven with almost all activities, discussions, and events being led by the participants themselves.

“The reason we started this group was to give youth the opportunity to meet in a safe space with others who were going through the same challenges,” says Terry Soetaer, executive director. “We loved the work that is already going on with iSMSS and the Pride Centre, but they are far away and we wanted a group in our community where youth could take ownership or do what they thought was best.”

It started in 2014 in a church basement, but despite the church’s pastor being openly gay, many youth felt uncomfortable meeting there. Indeed, Soetaert notes that St. Albert is still a predominantly Catholic community and it’s not unusual for LGBTQ youth to struggle with reconciling their sexual and gender identities with their religious backgrounds.

This fundraiser is the first for Outloud, but it could turn into an annual event.

Soetaerta hopes to “create a large enough umbrella that anyone can feel safe under it, even if they just want to stand among others.”

Edmonton International Film Festival

For those who can’t wait until the return of Edmonton’s own queer film festival, Rainbow Visions (running this year in early November), the Edmonton International Film Festival has included four films that speak to various facets of queer and trans* experience: Pushing Dead is about a working-poor man diagnosed with HIV whose medical benefits are cut off; Lost in the White City that parallels a crumbling Tel Aviv beside a crumbling MMF relationship; Uncle Gloria: One Helluva Ride!; and Below Her Mouth. These last two deserve particular mention.

Below Her Mouth is hot from the Toronto International Film Festival where it was met with acclaim. Like Blue is the Warmest Colour, this film is about the awakening of sexual desire between two women and likewise features many explicit, intense sex scenes. Unlike Blue, this film was made with an all-female cast and crew and apparently doesn’t suffer from the same male-gaze issues. Bring a date!

Then there’s Uncle Gloria. I don’t even know where to start with this documentary so I’ll just cite liberally from the provided description: this film is “about the macho owner of an auto wrecking company in Florida who goes into hiding from the law as a woman, setting off a bizarre journey of self discovery. Undergoing a risky sex change operation, Gloria becomes a dominatrix, a transgender activist and finds a gender-bending love all while trying to reconcile with her dysfunctional family.” It could be transgressive and hilarious. It could also be tone-deaf and transphobic. It did win the Audience Award at its world premiere in Miami, so that’s a good sign? You’ll just have to go and find out.

Outloud drag show
Fri, Sept 30 (8pm)
For tickets contact outloud@outloud.ca

EIFF
Thurs, Sept 29 —Sat, Oct 8
edmontonfilmfest.com

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