The recent incidents of increased homophobic attacks & post the temporary setback to gay rights movement in Maine, it is time to tackle hidden homophobia that exists in society.

Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have seen the benefits of the relatively recent human rights achievements. Civil Partnerships or unions in UK and Europe (and gay marriages in some countries), some equal rights to access the general services, hate crime protections, these are a few notable examples. But it has been a victory not yet fully won.

Full social acceptance is still slow to follow & wider religious acceptance is still hard to come by.

Against this backdrop, some social issues, that have their reasoning in cultural differences, need to be tackled through cultural means.

Several artists, straight or gay, have been exploring themes around their sexuality for a long time.

It is more relevant now because LGBT artists exploring their sexuality related issues, artistic sensibilities and gender issues, help us to be diverse & truly inclusive societies. Exploring some experiences of say, gay adoption, gay parenting, confident young queer sexuality in schools (or in playgrounds) and in workplaces have a greater relevance today through their artistic, cultural & social expressions.

‘LGBT arts for All’ is still an ongoing development and we need to work towards it for all the time.

GFest – gayWise LGBT Arts Festival opens next week (9 – 22 Nov). It is an opportunity for all of us to engage in the festival activities. From last year’s audience feedback (based on 1000+ responses), over 30% said they were straight. This is a welcomed change that allows greater engagement with the mainstream. GFest, while offering a platform for LGBT & queer artists, is truly inclusive and open to all audiences who have an appreciation for both established and emerging talent offering greater and ever-expanding artistic content.

Artists, who can be seen as ‘street-fighters’ can do this in a ‘responsible & responsive way.’ They do need to feel free to express themselves, or their sexuality, or their sexual identity through their chosen medium – and their work can be open for wider public enjoyment.

Welcome to GFest 09. Full programme on : & see you along with your friends and potential friends at the various events.