Today we are here to open a festival, a celebration that takes place in times of war.
The question is: what are we celebrating?
We celebrate the very possibility of being able to celebrate together, a possibility we recognise as precious in itself.
Gender Bender is a joyous occasion, a happy occasion for vast rejoicing.
Happy, why? Because it is free and because it sets us free.
How do we want to celebrate?
By fully embracing the contradictions of the reality in which we dwell.
A reality that not always fits our desires, and sometimes does not even recognise them, but which we necessarily have to cope with, alone and along with the other people we share our lives with.
Gender Bender is a cultural activist project that has always been ingrained with the belief that it is possible to operate with art and culture to create a transformation in the world we live in.
It is a festival that has been an act of human and artistic resistance for 20 years.
Gender Bender works to keep alive a sharp critique of the social order that arbitrarily assigns different values to differences, and through which we incessantly replicate – desirable and terrible – forms of power that trigger possible clashes and conflicts.
What do we engage in with Gender Bender? The creation of festive communities that dance together. An apparent utopia that becomes a real, achievable and viable experience.
It is in this spirit that we seriously celebrate and joyfully discuss, facing the complexity of conflicts in order to construct a time of reflection, dialogue and gratitude.
A gratitude that goes to Cassero, home of Gender Bender, to the extraordinary workers of the festival, to the irreplaceable volunteers, and to all the public and private institutions and agencies that support us.
Finally, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who celebrate with us.
Enjoy the Festival!
Daniele Del Pozzo and Mauro Meneghelli