Palm Beach County Teens Learn About LGBTQ History By Interviewing People Who Lived It

Oct 25, 2018

Stonewall. Harvey Milk. Anita Bryant. ACT UP. 

To many LGBTQ teenagers, those names are just as current as the Boston Massacre, Nathan Hale, Benedict Arnold and the First Continental Congress. But a renowned Palm Beach County theater and a major LGBTQ community center are teaming up to change that.

The newly launched "Legacy Project" is a collaboration between Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Compass Community Center, which provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth.

Teen members of the Compass Youth program will interview their older LGBTQ counterparts on camera. The young filmmakers will then create multimedia "time capsules," digital stories enhanced by photographs, music, and voiceovers. 

"So many rights have been gained for the LGBTQ community over the years. A lot of our young people are enjoying those rights, but don't really know where they came from," says Gary Cadwallader, Palm Beach Dramaworks Director of Education and Community Engagement. 

The theme of the project is "Stories of our past. Told to our future." And Cadwallader says it's not only meant to build a bridge between the generations but to honor the older LGBTQ -- their challenges, fights for equality, struggles and triumphs.

Like Melissa, a black drag queen who recounts how his parents reacted to the news that he was gay.

And Ramsay, an air force veteran who describes how she was mercilessly interrogated and then continually followed by investigating officers on the mere suspicion that she was a lesbian.

Once the digital stories are finished, they'll be presented live on stage by the young filmmakers.

Following are two previews:

The Legacy Project will be unveiled at Palm Beach Dramaworks on October 30 at 7 p.m., free to the public; reservations are suggested.