‘Straight community needs to see that the gay community are not a bunch of weirdos’

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The straight community needs to see that the gay community are not a bunch of weirdos and a new play about Strabane’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community aims to reinforce that message.

That’s according to Coleraine LGBT writer and activist Hilary McCollum who has written a new work entitled ‘Lives Under the Radar’ in response to the recent closure of the Strabane Rainbow Centre.

‘Lives Under the Radar’ contains testimonies and truths sourced from members and supporters of the LGBT community and will be performed in at The Alley Theatre, Strabane on Saturday, February 13 at 8pm.

The piece is the cornerstone of the Peace and Love Festival, a new LGBT festival created in the wake of the closure of the Strabane Rainbow Centre last year.

Ms McCollum said: “Visibility makes a real difference. Festivals like this are so important in breaking down the stigma and to continue the work the Strabane group began. The straight community needs to see that the gay community are not a bunch of weirdos and not some dangerous force that they should be afraid of”.

“Moving, poignant, and sometimes funny – we’re inviting everyone to come experience these lives under the radar,” said Liam Campbell, Community Relations Officer at The Playhouse said.

“This play is particularly timely given the recent heated public debate on gay marriage, and stigma-inducing broadsides suggesting that people can be ‘cured’ from being gay.

“The play has really gathered momentum and we’re delighted that so many supporters form the Derry Rainbow Project will also be travelling to Strabane to take part in the festival.”

The piece is the cornerstone of the Peace and Love Festival, a new LGBT festival created in the wake of the closure of the Strabane Rainbow Centre.

A Q&A and several workshops will also be held with local young people to discuss the themes of the piece.

The piece is presented by The Playhouse Community Relations outreach initiative and Derry City and Strabane District Council Good Relations programme.