Religion And Homosexuality, A Toxic Truth

Australia needs more stories like The Rolling Stone.

Jaws were left flung open, tears hung precariously in people’s eyes and a deafening silence took over the theatre.

That was how an audience of about 70 was left at the end of The Rolling Stone, a play at the Seymour Centre, about Uganda’s treatment of homosexuality.

Religion and homosexuality. A strained if not outright hateful relationship that remains to this day.

It’s so easy to forget, and often willfully so, the atrocities and injustices that are still perpetrated across the globe. It’s easy to say 'at least I am a good person,' but as you sit watching a family torn to breaking point, and a couple in love face death, you question your resolve.

Uganda has an LGBTQ community of approximately half a million people. And homosexual activity is illegal.

In 2006, a Ugandan newspaper published a list of 'allegedly' gay men’s first names and occupations. In 2010 a tabloid paper called Rolling Stone went a step further publishing the names, photos and addresses of 100 men and women accused of being gay, going as far as calling for their execution.

What this particular production told its audience was the purity of love regardless of sexual orientation and the toxic judgement under the guise of religion, the media and the mob mentality that follows all too often.

No bells or whistles, just a raw, honest story being told. Photo: Clare Hawley.

The emotional impact of the production lays in the raw reality of its story.

It is so very imperative to have these stories told, not just in the media but on the stage. The story needs to be seen, to be absorbed and given a voice beyond the pages a newspaper.

Australia is in desperate need of more productions such as The Rolling Stone, telling stories people don’t want to hear but should.

We need more stories told of the world as it is today, as dark as Shakespeare would write it, just based on a lived truth.

THE ROLLING STONE

Dembe and Sam have been seeing each other for a while. They should be wondering where this is going and when to introduce each other to their families. But they’re gay and this is Uganda. The consequences of their relationship being discovered will be violent and explosive. Especially for Dembe, whose brother goes into the pulpit each week to denounce the evils of one man loving another.

The play has finished its run at the Seymour Centre, but with any luck it will be back, Australians need it.