OUTSpoken is a fifth-year program from the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA). Our goal is to create a platform for the LGBTQ community of Knoxville, Tennessee and its surrounding areas to record and perform the experiences of sex- and gender-diverse individuals in the South. Through a series of workshops culminating in a staged reading, OUTSpoken hopes to foster further dialogue between the LGBTQ community and others.

As LGBTQ issues gain greater visibility, it is crucial that we explore the complexities of sex and gender diversity respectfully. That said, we realize that unity cannot and must not be silent and that in order to create a meaningful dialogue, we must acknowledge and listen to the stories, experiences, grievances, arguments, and counterarguments of all sex- and gender-diverse persons.

Part of this process includes showcasing those poems, narratives, performances, and creative works of a wide range of individuals, including those whose experiences demonstrate intersectional issues. It is our sincerest hope that this project will illuminate the struggles of Southern LGBTQ persons and celebrate sex and gender diversity in East Tennessee and beyond.

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