Bridging Historical and Present-Day Queer Community Through Embodied Role-playing
Keywords:community building, LGBTQIA+, queerness, larp, role-playing games, metareflection, bleed, integration
Just a Little Lovin’ (JaLL), a live action role-playing (larp) portraying queer lives in the face of the HIV/AIDS crisis, provides an example of how a larp might connect participants to historical communities (Baird 2023). This connection may serve as a catalyst for an ongoing bond that might foster personal growth as well as present-day community building. There are many reports on the impact that the larp has had on the participants on a personal level (Baird 2021; Bowman 2015; Friedner 2022; Gronemann ed. 2013; Groth et al. 2021; Levin 2019, Stenros 2021; Stenros and Sihvonen 2019). Through the lens of emerging theories on transformational role-playing, new perspectives arise that enlighten these experiences further.
Taking into consideration metareflection (Levin 2020), transformational containers (Baird 2021; Bowman and Hugaas 2021), and different types of bleed (Bowman and Hugaas 2021; Kemper 2020), this article discusses what we might learn from role-playing queer history. I argue that in the affirmative space of the larp, playing queer personality traits that might have been suppressed has offered personal growth through emotional (Bowman and Hugaas 2021), emancipatory (Kemper 2020), and ego bleed (Beltrán 2012). However, continued development of marginalized personality traits might require extended integration work, for which post larp practices are just emerging. Through the feeling of belonging to historical queer movements that JaLL offers, participants have been spurred to reach out to queer communities of the present-day, and have also built their own queer communities, both of which may support prolonged integration and development processes. These perspectives might aid in a continued development on post-larp integration practices and community building, as well as open up the possibility for other marginalized groups and historical movements to consider how they might benefit from their own bespoke larps.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Hilda Levin
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