Vancouver queer organizations launch LGBT movie-themed visibility campaign

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      Have you heard of the new cutting-edge Korean thriller She's Here? How about the French drama Coup de coeur about an interracial relationship between two women? Or how about the Taiwanese feature Not a Romantic Comedy about…washrooms?

      No? Well, you should. And you should also know that these films don't exist.

      They're actually a part of a campaign launched by Our City of Colours in conjunction with Love Intersections, both of which are organizations dedicated to increasing awareness and visibility of queer people in various cultural and linguistic communities in the Lower Mainland.

      Our City of Colours has released several waves of multilingual posters since 2011. This latest campaign takes on a film-poster theme that fits with Love Intersections' online videos.

      Love Intersections founder Jen Sung told the Georgia Straight by phone that they have created 15 different posters in which LGBT issues, ranging from gender identity to homophobia, are addressed in mock film posters.

      The posters received a City of Vancouver grant from the Transit Shelter Advertising Program. Six of the posters are displayed at various Vancouver 15 bus shelters, in neighbourhoods ranging from Dunbar and Kitsilano to Hastings-Sunrise and the Downtown Eastside from October 26 until November 15.

      All of 15 posters are on display at Heartwood Community Café for a month, where a launch event was held on October 28.

      The posters feature text in both English and a second (or even third) language, including Chinese, Arabic, Swedish, Hindi, Farsi, French, Ojibwe, Tagalog, Korean, and American Sign Language.

      Sung explained that they chose the film theme for a number of reasons.

      "We all want to see ourselves on the big screen, in movies, or on TV and rarely do we ever see ourselves even accurately or at all," she says of the movie theme.

      She said that the movie theme also reflects the video-orientation of Love Intersections. Each of the posters will link up to videos at the Love Intersections website.

      Currently there's only one poster based upon an existing video, "Regalia: Pride in Two Spirits", about two-spirited youth Duane Stewart of the Haisla and Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

      She says Love Intersections launched in 2014 in response to what occurred at the Vancouver School Board public hearings for an update on their sexual orientation and gender identity policy.

      "We actually witnessed a lot of racism and discrimination within the LGBTQ community against Asians and Chinese people, saying that they're really homophobic," she says. "Through that experience, we wanted to start Love Intersections to cast a spotlight on the complexity of those intersections of identity, that race and gender and sexuality and other forms of identity markers are actually a lot more complex than 'Oh, all Chinese people are homophobic'."

      Love Intersections focuses on stories of queer people of colour and challenge notion of being LGBT as for white people only. Some of the organization's work overlaps with Our City of Colours and both are working to increase positive representations of LGBT people to counter both negative depictions or invisibility.

      While the posters help to remind non-queer people that queer people do exist in their communities, it helps queer people to feel represented, rather than invisible or unheard. 

      "We're not just reduced to the stereotypes that we see depicted in movies and Hollywood so to have a platform in how we want to be visible is quite powerful," Sung says.

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