Wednesday, November 23, 2016

DEAR TRUMP: You're Right. The Theater Is Supposed To Be A Safe Space.

Dear Mr. Trump:

Let's talk about safe spaces. After your Vice President received a special message from the Hamilton cast, you tweeted in outrage, "The Theater must always be a safe and special place."

You're right. The theater is a safe and special place. For hundreds of years, the theater has been the refuge of artists, free thinkers, and outcasts. The LGBT community has found a welcoming shelter in the theater where people are allowed to express themselves freely.

The theater was my safe space in high school. I always felt like an outsider, but I found an outlet on the stage to express myself and let my voice be heard. I found friends, other outsiders like me: the bullied and the ostracized, the gay and lesbian kids, the kids of color, and the immigrant kids.

Furthermore, the theater is a cornerstone of free speech, where opinions are heard and social discourse takes place. From Greek tragedies, such as Antigone, to Broadway musicals, such as Wicked and Hamilton, the theater asks important questions about authority, society, and, above all, humanity. Free speech, and our very own First Amendment, have a safe place in the theater. America needs these safe spaces.

Like many in the theater community, the LGBT community, the immigrant communities, and elsewhere, I fear that your administration will destroy safe places like Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities, and even the theater. Your developing administration continually spews hatred towards Muslims, immigrants, women, and anyone you deem different. Since your election, racism, xenophobia, and hatred have prevailed. Now, more than ever, we need safe spaces.

The Theater may even be a safe space for you, Mr. Trump, but only if you agree to listen and open your mind. You won't like everything you hear -- agreement is not the point of free speech. But maybe you'll discover what I discovered: that every human being - from the gay man to the immigrant - has something to offer this country.

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