ARTS FUNDING AWARDED FOR 'IN THE TALL GRASS'
I am incredibly grateful to the Office of Culture at the City of Dallas, for awarding arts funding to my new play, 'In The Tall Grass'. The grant will finance a period of research and development with local actors and a local composer.
‘In The Tall Grass’ is a verbatim play about the murder of Shade Schuler, a 22 year old transgender woman whose body was found dumped in a field in the medical district of Dallas on July 31st 2015. Shade’s story is set against the backdrop of wider atrocities across the US, which saw at least 21 trans or gender-nonconforming people murdered in 2015 alone – more than the total number of trans murders than in any other year that advocates have recorded.
Whilst the trans community and its allies in Dallas were able to confirm Shade’s gender, the Dallas Police department still continue to mis-gender Shade on their website. Even more disturbing is the fact that Texas hate crime laws do not include gender identity, as is the case in many other states. At a time when laws are being re-written to work against trans people (more information on the ‘Transgender Bathroom Debate’, and trans actor Laverne Cox declared a ‘State Of Emergency’ in the transgender community; this play could not be more topical.