About the SHOUT! Versions
A. The Anthology
SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth is an anthology of personal narratives by LGBTQ veterans and military family members that documents and archives a critical moment of transition in US military history (1950s-present), as well as the history of LGBTQ civil rights and struggle in the United States. This anthology is organized chronologically, beginning with recollections of being gay while serving during the Vietnam War and ending with a discussion of the changing policies for transgender service members under Donald Trump’s presidency.
The collection includes narratives by educators, parents, and children of LGBTQ service members. Narratives of the closet and fear of discovery, discussions of anti-LGBTQ violence and discharges, and reflections on how military family life enabled and foreclosed LGBTQ identity and community all produce a rich and nuanced record of the impact of military policies on LGBTQ service members and military families. While some of the essays venerate the military, others are deeply critical. Together, the anthology captures multiple “truths” of military experiences in a time of great transitions for the US military, not just with regard to gender and sexuality policies, but from the era of the Vietnam draft, to decades of a volunteer, predominantly peace-time force, to the post 9/11 era of multiple deployments to active war zones.
Want to read the anthology?
The anthology was published in 2017 by the Museum of the American Military Family Press and is edited by Circe Olson Woessner, Director of MAMF, and Lora Beldon, Director of the Military Kid Art Project. The anthology is available for order through Lulu.com. All book proceeds support the work of the Military Kid Art Project and the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center. A second anthology, Still Shouting! is forthcoming.
The anthology also contains images of pieces from the MAMF exhibit “Inside Out: Memories from Inside the Closet,” that began as a community art project for LGBTQ veterans led by Dr. Kyle Erwin. Each piece is created by LGBTQ veterans who use a military uniform shirt turned inside out as a canvas.
Here’s an article written by Theresa Duke about her involvement with the anthology and exhibit.
B. The Play
The idea of the play began as one story told by Theresa Duke, a transgender woman and veteran, from the anthology, SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth. Her piece, titled “Inner Voices,” had such strong descriptive dialogue, editors Beldon and Woessner agreed the story would translate well on stage. The play quickly grew to include many voices and stories from LGBTQ military personnel and families.
The play version of SHOUT! is an ensemble production which includes compilations of true LGBTQ military family stories from multiple generations and military branches, spanning rank, race, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds. The setting is a community gathering where LGBTQ military veterans and family members connect and share their stories.
Sponsored by the New Mexico-based Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center (MAMF), the 2019 production was a collaboration between Lora Beldon, Director of Military Kid Art Project, the Transgender Veterans Support Group of Richmond, Virginia, and TheatreLab. Funding for the project came through a grant by the ARCUS Foundation.
SHOUT! the play was written by Melissa Rayford based on the 2017 anthology. It premiered on September 22, 2019 at TheatreLAB in Richmond, VA, directed by Melissa Rayford and produced by Lora Beldon and Deejay Gray. It starred Lucretia Anderson, Raja Benz, Petie Bogen-Garrett, Avery Johnson, Stevie Rice, and Caitlin St. Clair. Because the characters are not named during the play’s performance, the script names some characters based on the original actors.
Want to produce the play in your community?
For information on mounting your own production of SHOUT!, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from script leases support the Military Kid Art Project and the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center.
Circe Olson Woessner and Lora Beldon discuss SHOUT on the museum’s podcast MAMF MEDIA
C. The Filmed Version
This trailer consists of three separate 60-second scenes filmed during its debut at TheaterLab in Richmond, VA. SHOUT’s play script or the full-length filmed version of the play can be leased. Both the script and the film come with a 55-page curriculum package.To lease the full-length filmed version of the play or the script, contact email@example.com Proceeds from the film support the Military Kid Art Project and the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center.
D. The Educational Package
The curriculum guide is designed as a supplement to the performance, filmed version, and/or script version of SHOUT! the play (2019), written by Melissa Rayford and based on the anthology SHOUT! Sharing Our Truth edited by Lora Beldon and Circe Olson Woessner (2017). The curriculum guide will also be of use to readers of the first anthology (2017) or second anthology (forthcoming).
The intended audiences of this educational package are teachers, students, event organizers, and training facilitators, but these materials will also be of interest to directors, actors, and others interested in LGBTQ military communities and families.
The information and resources compiled in this packet are not comprehensive; they are a place to start for those wanting to learn more about LGBTQ identities in military communities and families. It was developed by faculty members at Truman College, Chicago and San Fransisco State University with input and content from many organizations to include: Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), National LGBTQ Task Force, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Click here to view the table of contents.
The development of the curriculum package was supported by a generous grant by the GriffinHarte Foundation.