When asked Who are we? The otherness dissolves and turns into a mirror.
Being the ones who must have the answers, we cross paths to ask ourselves the exact same thing. And we like it, of course. It is the only question we never want to stop asking ourselves.It is a mobile question that is followed by many others. Who were we? Who do we want to be? What will we be tomorrow? What will we be after that? When asked Who are we? we find no sempiternal answer except for, perhaps, one: we are what we want to be.
This metamorphic aspect that Brandon has comes from its character of Civil and Cultural Association, and the little multiform house that everyone knows is only one edge of it. Brandon, in reality, is a team of people who can – from an affective but also a formal standpoint – create and support an endless number of projects and initiatives. It is a constituted, possible and motorizing identity: a cultural center, a gallery, a website, social networks, events, alliances, a library, a production company, a publishing house, a point of take-off and contention, the face-to-face and the virtual. It is a club.
Brandon for Equality/Equity of Rights and Opportunities Civil and Cultural Association, takes art and its manifestations as the basis of its activism (ARTIVISM) and culture as a powerful political fact capable of promoting a more just and egalitarian society. Although Argentina is a pioneer regarding the promulgation of some rights for the LGBTTIQ+ community, Brandon’s challenge is to work for the real execution of those rights in society and the profound transformation of the common imagination in fertile and friendly terrain for its exercise.
Our headquarters (CasaBrandon) – that heart with a roof in the middle of Villa Crespo – has managed to serve as a refuge for the organization and promotion of activities that, due to their sexual orientation, gender, color, ethnicity, race, age, religion, language, political opinion or of any other nature, have difficulties for their exhibition in the traditional broadcast channels. It aims to be a space for the search and the affirmation of identity and freedom, the friends’ house, one’s own home.
Brandon, as an identity, was born in the year 2000 of the desire of a group of friends determined to change the LGBTTIQ+ every-day life. A rough daily life, used to knowing only when it asks, kind of underground, full of stereotypes, with that air of what is forbidden that – seen with hindsight – bears little resemblance to what a group of minorities pregnant with other minorities needs to deconstruct and build themselves in another way. So many years and experiences later, the activist and militant, social and artistic, cultural and intellectual struggle, loving but angry, has this place of daily convergence in which everyone can make visible the pride of being all that one is.
For over 12 years now, the physical headquarters have hosted artists, producers, cultural managers, intellectuals, professionals from the independent circuit and anyone who wants to be part of the mystical Brandon. With a capacity for 120 people and all the technical equipment for the development of artistic activities, it has witnessed live music, poetry readings, art exhibitions, book presentations, seminars, talks, film/video screenings, theater, dance, performance, festivals and fairs. Since 2011, all this that had been occurring from the noble intention of multiplying voices, was declared “of Social, Cultural Interest and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights” by the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires.
For 17 years, the alliances we have built are countless. Everything that has happened indoors and everything that has been done since the appropriation of other spaces has made us what we are today. We have been part of or worked with great LGBTTIQ + references: Organizing Committee of the LGBTIQ Pride March, Movement of Cultural and Artistic Spaces (MECA) (with whom we wrote and militated the Law of Cultural Centers approved in 2016), Chamber of Live Music Clubs (CLUMVI), Fm La Tribu, Red Nosotras en el Mundo, Futurock, “100% Diversity and Rights” (“100% Diversidad y Derechos), Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA), Argentine Federation LGBTIQ, Susy Shock, Lohana Berkins, Marlene Wayar, Diana Sacayán, Effy Mia. As we said: uncountable.
We are lucky, we are many, we are united even in the deepest divergences and, from there, we stand to fight from all possible flanks, to get the State to respond to us, to raise our voice when necessary, to be a battle and a truce, to question, contradict and find ourselves. We are aware of our role: we have managed to have a social and political impact. That is a weapon. A weapon of mass construction.
Today, in a particularly difficult time for everyone, we continue working and building. Entrenched we rest, we plan, and going against a grey panorama, we grow and advance. This is an infinite and imperishable road that, from Villa Crespo neighborhood and toasting with our people, is traveled with stubborn joy.
The email inbox is full of proposals, the team organizes, its founder (Lisa Kerner) articulates and asks herself – every time – what Jorgelina (her fellow/founding partner of this trip that is Brandon) would say if she were with us.
“Did you see The Wonder Twins?” asks Lisa. Yes. And under the super-powerful protection of love and shared history, a loving band that is willing to work non-stop will transform itself into everything that makes us feel better and freer.