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Soap box protest

Have your say for May 17 – and hear others have theirs – with a soapbox turnaround. The idea is really simple, and captures the very essence of fighting for freedom of expression for LGBTI communities – get a soapbox (pictured!), get together with your friends or local organisation, and start taking it in turns to get up and have your say!

This could easily make for a small & private event (for example, in your community centre, classroom, or with friends) or a big & public event (for example, in a local public square, or outside your city government building!). Participants could be given time to prepare what they want to say/do/act out/dance/shout/etc. when they are ‘up there’, or people could simply freestyle about whatever they like, in honour of the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, of course!

It might work well for organisers to select a or hot topic or theme for the event (‘have your say about sex, religion and politics!’) or a question (‘how can we best fight for LGBTI rights worldwide?’), so that the event has a kind of coherence and buzz! Or you could of course, leave it completely open, for people to say and do whatever they like!

For inspiration you might want to check out artist Antony Gormley’s public art project ‘One and Other‘ from 2009, in which 2,400 members of the public took it in turns to speak for one hour each, on top of Trafalgar Square’s famous Fourth Plinth (which worked as a huge podium), in central London. The project lasted for 100 days exactly, and people did the most amazing diversity of things – from posing naked as if for a life drawing class, to demolishing a paper cut-out of the London skyline (dressed as Godzilla), to political statements on the rights of the disabled, or gay people, for peace or the environment…

Of course, a huge event like that takes a lot of work, but even amongst your community group you could divide some hours up into time-slots, for people who wanted to participate, and have their say, in whatever way they please!

Some alternatives include…

A soapbox flashmob

Rather than having it in a pre-planned venue, or in a private community space, why not ALL get a box of some sort and descend on a public space (such as a busy train station or public square) and suddenly all whip out your boxes, jump on them and start having your say – all at the same time!

You are certainly likely to get people’s attention! And you can film it, take photos, and buzz it on social media afterwards as well.

Soapbox bomb

Another option for a spontaneous event is to choose a typically ‘straight’ or ‘traditional’ place which would be totally not used to seeing queer young people (and perhaps some older people too!) take it in turns to get on their soapbox and have their say! This is of course a more confrontational version, so make sure you think though any risks first!

Photo source: MonsieurLui on Flickr