Metro Weekly

Stories of Pride

LGBT History comprises hundreds of individual stories. Now, two groups are putting those stories front and center

David Crabb -- Photo courtesy of David Crabb
David Crabb — Photo courtesy of David Crabb

Pride is about stories. The story of drag queens breaking down doors at Stonewall. The story of a lesbian couple finally getting the chance to marry at 92-years-old. The stories of countless brave men and women who’ve fought for our equality.

To give those individual stories a platform this Pride season, Story League and SpeakeasyDC are hosting their own LGBT storytelling nights to explore coming out, living out, and loving fully.

In 2010, SpeakeasyDC held their first LGBT storytelling night. “We really wanted to offer a platform for our LGBT performers,” Amy Saidman, Speakeasy’s Artistic Executive Director, says. “But more importantly, be part of the dialogue that was happening at the time.” Since then, they’ve held LGBT story nights every year to celebrate gay culture in the District. “I love how much DC is a hub of LGBT culture,” Friedman adds. “I feel so lucky to be here.” Now, in its fifth year, Out/Spoken is a mainstay of SpeakeasyDC and Capital Pride.

Story League has their own LGBT night, hosted by storyteller and memoirist, David Crabb. “I guess I was always a raconteur,” says Crabb. “Even when I was little, I loved regaling my parents about stories from school.” As the only gay kid in his San Antonio high school, he definitely turned a lot of heads, but not because he was gay. “When I was 16, I became a goth,” he says. “Lots of powder, and black lipstick.” He told stories of his teenage years to anyone who would listen. Then, a few years ago, he discovered professional storytelling: “I thought, wow, I can do this for six minutes and no one can interrupt me!” He compiled the stories into a one-man show called Bad Kid that he later adapted into a memoir.

These story nights, however, aren’t just for entertainment. They’re about celebrating each and every member of the LGBT family. “One storyteller we had at one of these nights hadn’t fully come out,” Saidman recalls. “But when he put it out there into the world, the outpouring of support was truly amazing.” And for Crabb, storytelling represents a broadening of the public aperture when it comes to LGBT issues. “I remember being a kid in Texas and seeing those pride events. They were like a shining beacon for me,” he says. “But nowadays, I even see heterosexuals telling gay stories. To me, that shows that we’re all a little bit queer. That makes me happy.”

SpeakeasyDC’s Out/Spoken will be held on June 5th at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St NW, Washington, D.C., 20001. Tickets are $25. David Crabb will be hosting Story League’s LGBT storytelling night on June 24th at the DC Improv 1140 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tickets are $15 in advance.

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