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What I love about Vivek Shraya

What I love about Vivek Shraya

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Artist aptly explores all the good things that come with being queer
If anyone knows the hardships of being queer, it’s Vivek Shraya. The Toronto artist has documented his struggles with homophobia and coming to terms with his sexual identity for more than a decade through film, literature and music.
 
But in Shraya’s latest short film, What I Love About Being Queer, the tables have turned.
 
Aptly named, the film – an independently produced feature making its way through Canadian film festivals this summer – poses a simple question: what do you love about being queer? The result is a hopeful 18-minute foray into the minds of 34 ordinary queers that speaks volumes, one that counters the “hate” culture of homosexuality as presented in Shraya’s former works.
 
“It’s a question we don’t ask ourselves, or generally get asked,” Shraya says. “But it’s an important one.”
 
The film features a diverse range of faces and identities, from the likes of musician Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara), TV personality Alex Brown (of 1 Girl, 5 Gays) and Canadian novelist Farzana Doctor, though no subjects are explicitly named on screen.
 
It’s a way, Shraya says, for the audience to engage with and relate to “everyday” queer faces.
 
And these queers bare all. From post-practice gym-shower encounters with other men to fantasies of being part of a “secret gay society,” the cast never shies away from the nitty-gritty. All the while, Shraya follows up this “raunch humour” with commentary on serious matters, touching on both the stigma of HIV/AIDS in queer communities and the ongoing fight for equal civil rights.
 
The film is heavily influenced by Shraya’s own interactions with queer youth struggling to come to terms with their sexual and gender identities in his day job as an educator at Toronto’s George Brown College. However, unlike other “forward-thinking” film projects, like Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project, What I Love About Being Queer strives to embrace the perks of being queer in the present. It’s a step away from the “tragic” culture of queer youth suicides; rather, Shraya says, it examines “what happens when [queers] live.”
 
“So many youth view queerness as a negative part of their identity,” he says. “This film is filled with reasons to love this part of themselves.”
 
Filmed entirely in Shraya’s Toronto apartment in October 2011, What I Love About Being Queer is a candid and raw look at queerness. In some scenes, the hum of Shraya’s refrigerator or soft giggling can be heard off in the distance. It all makes for an honest yet familiar account of being queer.
 
At best, Shraya’s intimate yet humorous approach is a welcome change of pace. It is a much-needed piece in the puzzle that is Shraya’s own identity and artwork.
 
It is a step forward.
 
For screening dates and more info about the film, visit vivekshraya.com.
 
  

Comments

make homosex not queergender
pp, some typos become Freudian slips -- your typo of homoexuality instead of homosexuality proves my point! You cannot even write the fucking word!!! meanwhile, the Queer Gang of 34 ironically utilize the sexlessness of gender to assimilate but they of course see gender as sexy. Some get erections and wet cunts over the fluidity of not knowing if they are fucking a male or female or trans person or someone beyond gender and genitals. A con and a farce. Only in Toronto you say. Pity. Shitty!
Sigh
Really, Erica, your article uses the words "queer" and "queerness" 17 times. That's got to be a record. Most of us do not self-identify as "queer". It's off-putting that the 200 people who are associated with Xtra are shoving this down our throats.
ughhhh, again???
perhaps coelacanth can go through the people on that poster and prove how they're all linked to QUAIA. I can think of a few who are not. Also, please say which of the people on the poster hate homoexuality. Or view gender as sexless.
QuAIA supporter
Vivek Shraya is a QuAIA supporter. See: http://www.facebook.com/events/103982939652088/ In the same way that QuAIA calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against gay-friendly Israel, I will be boycotting Shraya's latest short film.
LOVE this film
what a beautiful display of the true resilience that exists within the queer community. it's shocking how easy it is to forget. Congratulations and thank you Vivek!
What I love about beeing Queer
Vivek Shraya's - What I love about being Queer...gets its First North American Showing at a queer film festival, during the Toronto Queer Arts and Culture festival on August 18, 2012 (7 pm to 10pm) @ Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, plus 11 other film festival selections by international filmmakers.
Why I hate Queer.
What I HATE about people who identity as Queer. That would make a much more interesting film. Old gay men thrown on the trash heap as garbage by the ideological face of a dogma called Queer. Look at the poster for this and every face is a member of QAIA! The same old same old "Queers" who hate homosexuality with a passion; worship gender as a sexless leitmotif that links all the oppressed (especially the penis in vagina queers). A triumph of the won'ts. As unidimensional as a CBC after school special. Thank Dog I once lived during a homosexual era and retired from gay as Queer jackbooted in to rule. Only in such a small town as Toronto can 34 Queers rule the "communities" like potentates.
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