Workplaces have not historically been a safe spot for queer people to be or express their own selves. For queer individuals, work is a right that has been often difficult to secure or outright denied because of our sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression - just to name a few. For some queer people, being in the closet is the safest choice while being at work; for bosses and colleagues may mock our differences and then make us lose our peace of mind - or even, our jobs.
These short films break the collective imaginary that says that queer individuals “can only work at marginalized jobs” or “can only be themselves in hidden places”, as work is a daily activity to which all human beings have the right to access - in order to grow personally, to be part of and serve a greater community, and to have a thriving, joyous life. In a world where rainbow capitalism promises inclusion, statistics around the world say millions of queer people still struggle in tough conditions in order to get a decent job. And from our community, predominantly, those who face the harshest odds in securing employment are transgender. How can cinema contribute to a major social transformation where queer people can deliver their best talents and creativity at all kinds of jobs? And on the other side of the screen, how can we, as viewers, stand for this fundamental right for LGBTQIA+ communities?
This exhibit proposes, as a start, that supporting and promoting the careers of queer creators, artists and storytellers (such as the cast & crew behind these short films) can be a path for change. These stories from different corners of the world invite us to be inspired with queer workers that stand tall within their harsh contexts, facing not only biases and discrimination, but also love and acceptance.
Program note by Iván Esteban Reina Ortiz, curator of Queer Workers of the World, Unite!