Our Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign is Over but Our Journey is Not!
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Katie Cook and Maggie Young
At least seven hundred million of the planet's seven billion people are likely lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. As we know from our own lives here in the U.S., the experience of being LGBT varies widely, depending in large part on the culture and community in which one lives. What is the range of experiences of individuals around the globe?
What is it like to be gay in Mongolia, a country undergoing rapid economic and cultural changes? How does the LGBT community come together in Kyrgyzstan, where homosexuality is legal for women, but illegal for men? Has the Arab Spring had an effect on queer culture in North Africa and the Middle East? What is it like to be a same-sex couple in South Africa, where gay marriage is legal but the general attitude of most people in the country is adamantly, and sometimes violently, homophobic?
The Sapphic Nomads (Maggie and Katie) feel we must take action to support our global community, but first we need to educate ourselves about what's happening in LGBT communities around the world. This July we will set off on a quest to find lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals all over the planet. We will quit our jobs, leave our homes, and sell most of our possessions, until we are down to our backpacks, passports, and cameras.
While we travel through regions spanning at least five continents, we will interview LGBT individuals and follow them through their day-to-day experiences as they teach us about what it's like to be gay in their part of the world. Since laws and attitudes can dictate how people express themselves, as individuals and in relationships, we want to know how the communities of the people we encounter have shaped the development of their sexual identities. We will meet with local LGBT resource centers, if they exist in the country, and learn about different national policies and the history of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues.
We will also tell the story of our own experiences traveling in the world–as women, as Americans, as lesbians, and as a queer couple. Will our individual attitudes and assumptions about ourselves change and grow as we travel? Will our relationship be affected by the different contexts of the places we visit?
Where are we going?
Beginning our journey and research in our home of Santa Fe, New Mexico, we will travel to the South Pacific, Australia, Central Asia, South and West Africa, the Middle East, and finally Europe. We chose these regions because they are places we have always wanted to visit, but more importantly because we have become intrigued about the LGBT populations there. In each of these areas, we will film the people we meet–queer and straight–in their homes, on the street, in coffee shops, in clubs, and at work. We will also keep video journals of our travels and regularly interview one another about our reactions and experiences along the way.
Why Is This Important?
This is a time of global change for LGBT communities; we are witnessing unprecedented forward progress, but at the same time there has been a massive backlash, as laws and human rights for LGBT people in locations around the world are being stripped and blocked. It is more important than ever to reach out to our global community to support each other in our struggles and cheer together in our triumphs. One of the most empowering gifts we can give one another is the reassurance that WE ARE NOT ALONE!
Why a film?
To know people’s stories is to understand their humanity. For many minority groups, it is often difficult to find depictions of their local--not to mention global-- communities documented on film, and yet film is one of the most powerful methods to tell a story. It is one of the most effective ways to inspire new understanding and promote advocacy. We hope that Sapphic Nomads will provide an opportunity for the LGBT community to share stories about ourselves and to learn, educate, and inspire one another and the communities around us.
How You Can Help
We are using our savings to pay for our travels, but we need your help to make the film possible and to give our trip a greater mission. WE CAN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU! With your contribution, we can be sure to help tell the stories of the courageous and amazing people we are sure we will meet along the way. We are asking for donations to help us buy equipment. In particular, we need two high quality portable cameras, a tripod, lenses, audio equipment, a small laptop to begin post production on the road, editing software–and travel insurance for it all!
We are also looking for contacts abroad, including members of the LGBT communities but also friendly people willing to host us or just share a cup of coffee. Any connections you can provide would be a great help and strengthen our effort.
Our Sapphic Nomads project has been a dream of ours for many years. Our shared passion for travel and storytelling has helped inspire us to overcome many of our fears and to take the plunge. Thank you for being a part of our journey and for believing in our story. And please share our project and indiegogo campaign with your friends and family! Thank you!
Stay Tuned For...
From the road, we will be filing occasional reports with "This Way Out", a globally-distributed weekly LGBT public radio show. We will be sharing stories and interviews of the people we are meeting with an international audience. Please be sure to tune in! Learn more at: www.thiswayout.org