OXFORD — The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles visited the City of Oxford for the recent It Gets Better tour. The event began on Feb. 20, with the group’s week-long residency, and ended on Saturday, Feb. 25, with the musical performance of “It Gets Better.”
The events were sponsored by the Botast-Revalee family in collaboration with Miami University’s Office of Diversity Affairs, the Talawanda School District and Oxford PFLAG. The events were also all part of the Miami Performing Arts Series.
It Gets Better cast members held a week long residency throughout Oxford. They led conversations identifying issues members of the LGBTQ community face and discussed possible solutions. The cast members did not assume to be experts, but drew on their personal experiences, sharing stories, case study scenarios, and questions to generate conversation.
The It Gets Better tour is meant to foster community and have that community answer key questions. Topics such as bullying, school climate, and supporting at risk students were discussed.
The project was founded in 2010 and since has inspired a worldwide sensation. The company hopes to show LGBTQ youth around the world that it gets better.
All residency events were open to the public. They began on Monday, Feb. 20, with a Miami University Faculty and Staff Luncheon. On Tuesday, Feb. 21 there was the Oxford Community Facilitated Dialogue and Luncheon. On Thursday, Feb. 23 the company held the World Café. Also on Thursday was a Piano Cabaret with the cast. Ending the week was the performance of It Gets Better on Saturday, Feb. 25.
At the residency event on Tuesday, both Miami University and Oxford representatives came together to discuss the topic of LGBTQ diversity in Oxford. It was mentioned, this project has come to Oxford before, years prior. The changes made to the community are substantial. This is due to the changed world, according to officials, with marriage equality legal, and a community that cares about its residents immensely.
This event was not about the cast lecturing community members, but rather community members sharing their experiences and the cast responding accordingly.
The biggest advice the cast shared with those present was to establish a physical space for LGBTQ individuals to feel safe. It was shared by one community member, creation of this space is under way. The Interfaith Center (formerly known as the Campus Ministry Center) is working to establish itself as a safe space for all community members, specifically marginalized groups.
This residency event was meant to bring together the LGBTQ community with their allies. It brought the community together to eat, laugh, and commiserate.
The performance of It Gets Better is a live musical which shares a message of LGBTQ hope. The eight actors brought to life real stories from lesbian, gay, transgender, gender queer and straight allies from across America.
The show was written and directed by Liesel Reinhart and the music director was Gavin Thrasher. The cast included Jason Currie, Tyler Houston, Amber Hurst-Martin, Tod Macofsky, Mario Mosley, Nick Ley, Billy Thompson, and Caitlin Leow.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH