Bozeman Monologues bring taboo topics to the table

The Bozeman Monologues brought together members of the MSU and Bozeman community to share stories about gender, sexuality, relationships and everything between. The event was hosted by Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), an MSU student-run group that works to spread knowledge about healthy relationships and raise awareness about stalking, relationship violence and sexual assault. The Monologues touched on many of these topics, giving the speakers an opportunity to promote thoughtfulness of issues often left misunderstood or considered taboo.

In addition to raising awareness, all proceeds from the event, over $1,200, went to the Survivor Fund, a program run by SASA to help assist survivors of interpersonal violence in Gallatin Valley. The funds support survivors in obtaining food, housing, clothing, transportation and other necessities when needed. The VOICE Center, Bridgercare, Haven, the MSU Office of Health Advancement, The Bozeman Help Center and the MSU Queer Straight Alliance sponsored the event.

Fourteen presenters got on stage at the Emerson Center for Arts & Culture on Tuesday, March 8 to share pieces that they had written or or that others had written. The Bozeman Monologues were inspired by “The Vagina Monologues,” a play written by the performer, playwright and activist Eve Ensler. The play has since been translated in 48 languages, been performed in 140 countries and served as the inspiration for countless adaptations. This year’s sold-out showing of The Bozeman Monologues was the third annual event of its kind.

The stories ranged from amusing anecdotes to serious accounts of issues that face our community members on a daily basis. “Gone Fishin’: Memoir of a Virgin,” by Ryan Frank, shared the comical tale of how he lost his virginity, and the mishaps that went along with the evening. “Rock Hard… Muscles,” performed by Ryan Chauner, discussed through poetry the right and wrong ways to display masculinity and sexuality, detailing how weight lifting at the gym is neither the correct time nor place. Billy McWilliams, owner of the downtown shop Erotique, entertainingly educated the audience on disparities in the bedroom during his piece “Orgasm Inequality.”

Some of the stories were a tribute to the comedy in awkward erotic encounters, everyday situations packed with sexual tension and even seemingly mundane decisions like choosing the best birth control. However, many of the presenters shared their experiences on issues that often aren’t navigated in casual conversation, and how they are impacted by those issues on a daily basis.

Several presenters shared experiences concerning sexual assault, bringing to light the situations women are put in across the globe due to the threat of interpersonal violence and rape. Other performers spoke to the many challenges facing the trans community, such as coming out to a family reluctant to support identity. As Cassidy Anne Medicine Horse summarized, “The trans community has come to a consensus that it is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.”