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Mental health theatre looks at LGBT issues

Wed, Jun 26, 2013

Three scenes depicting LGBT characters struggling with mental illness will form the centerpiece of OUTspoken: A Call for LGBT Stories at the Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted) June 24.

Staged by Erasing the Distance, (ETD) which hopes to foster dialogue about mental illness, the event will then include sharing activities led by ETD Executive Director Jessica Kadish. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, and can be purchased at etdoutspoken.brownpapertickets.com.

“The purpose of the event is to try to get a dialogue going around mental health issues and individual experiences and stories in the LGBT community in Chicago,” Kadish said. “It’s still not something we talk about a lot and our theatrical, story-telling approach is something we feel can open up the conversation more.”

Mental illness can be especially challenging to LGBT people, given the difficulties of being LGBT in today’s society, Kadish said.

“LGBT people don’t experience issues that are fundamentally different from what everyone experiences. But I do think based on the double stigma that comes with being an LGBT person and experiencing mental health issues, and the marginalization that comes with that, make mental health issues something that’s harder to talk about. Something that’s been in the news in the last couple of years is that LGBT youth are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. It’s important to state that’s not something intrinsic to being LGBT; that’s associated with the societal difficulties of being LGBT, but it does contribute to the frequency of mental illness among LGBT people.”

By Duncan Weinstein
StreetWise Editorial Intern

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