[Kansas girls among themselves: Joyce DiDonato channeling gay icon Dorothy at Saturday’s Last Night of the Proms with Arlen’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.]
I know, there’s no shirt and there are no cufflinks, and a glittery dress might just be the anti-thesis, but DiDonato has put on the revered trouser role pants plenty of times and continues to do so, so forgive me if today, I take off my hat to a classy ally while she’s wearing skirts instead.
With dedicating her very public Saturday performance of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” to the brutally challenged Russian LGBTQ* community (a longer blog post on the issue of equality by the mezzo herself can be found at her website), DiDonato has taken a stand many others haven’t.
We can argue that such gestures don’t change much, but they do. They may not directly save a life today that would direly need saving, but this world works via symbols, and an encouraging, public greeting may at least point the attention where it is needed and perhaps, for a minute, put a bit more spring in the step of a person who has to carry the unfair burden of undemocratic laws. The latest suggested made (though it is unlikely to pass, but they said the same thing about the so-called propaganda law)
The Russian LGBTQ* community is not caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment. Instead, it’s chained to a hard place and getting rocks thrown at it in addition. If there is to be change, it will take time and persistence, and much will have to happen within the Russian society. The issue is is complex, there is no clear strategy (Boycott the Olympics? Don’t boycott the Olympics?) and people are suffering. But offering our ears, our support and our couches simply cannot be wrong. Just like dedicating our songs.