‘Queer Survival Quest’ aims to inspire change

Leader Staff news@ptleader.com
Posted 9/19/17

“With this project, we can improve not only our queer community, but our community as a whole.”

That’s what Sam DeLuna said about “Queer Survival Quest,” an event that combines theater …

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‘Queer Survival Quest’ aims to inspire change


“With this project, we can improve not only our queer community, but our community as a whole.”

That’s what Sam DeLuna said about “Queer Survival Quest,” an event that combines theater and activism to encourage change. He is one of eight local LGBTQ youths who are participating in the project.

“Combining theater and activism is a super-effective way for me to put change into the world I’m living in,” said another participant, 15-year-old Liv Crecca.

The event is presented by the Mandala Center for Change on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 25-26, and is supported by nine local legislators who are set to attend the event.

The community is invited to watch the play, explore solutions, propose new policies and vote at one or both of the performances, which take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Fort Worden USO Building.

“I was inspired to do this project after hearing several queer and trans youth speak at a local anti-hate rally about their increased fears of survival in the current political climate,” said Marc Weinblatt, project facilitator. “The group that has gathered to do the project is blowing me away with their courage, passion and wisdom. Just being in the room with them has been a rare gift. I have learned so much about current struggles and how the world around them still barely supports their reality. I am truly humbled.”


The project was open to all youths ages 14-22 who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender nonconforming or otherwise outside the dominant culture around gender and/or sexual orientation.

Eight youths participated in a weeklong workshop in August to explore issues relevant to their lives. From that work they developed a short play that serves as a springboard for public dialogue and is aimed at proposing new laws and policies to support LGBTQ youth.

“It’s important to me for schools to be on the same page as their students, including transgender students,” said Max Stewart, age 14.

According to surveys, 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population has self-reported a suicide attempt, with that number climbing to between 10 and 20 percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents, said Weinblatt. By comparison, 41 percent of trans or gender-nonconforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.

Currently, 10 local and state officials are set to attend, said Weinblatt, including state Rep. Steve Chapman, Port Townsend Police Chief Mike Evans, Port Townsend School District Superintendent John Polm, and city, county and hospital commissioners.

Weinblatt said that Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn had planned on attending, but is out of town. “The hospital is committed to improving health care policies to support the LGBTQ and specifically transgender community,” said Weinblatt.


Each event is to begin with a short play based on local LGBTQ youths’ real-life experiences of unsafe bathrooms, the health care system, schools, family and more. Next, audience members are invited on stage to offer solutions, leading to a community dialogue.

Both performances are to be streamed live via video so people who are not able to attend in person can watch and even participate, live, from anywhere in the world. The live stream can be accessed at


Admission is free, with donations welcome.


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