The true story behind one of the most impactful pieces of writing ever published in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
September 1970. A year after the Stonewall Riots, Harper’s Magazine publish the now notorious article ‘Homo/hetero: the struggle for sexual identity’. Acclaimed journalist and former editor of Harper’s Magazine, Merle Miller reads the article from his home in upstate New York and decides to take a stand.
September 1971. Merle sits at his desk and begins to write. Part man, part memory he invites the audience to join him on an incredible journey of his life from provincial Iowa to the pages of the New York Times.
What It Means is an emotional voyage through history – some personal, some not, highlighting the importance of standing up for what you believe in, accepting the validity of one’s own voice and taking a courageous step onto the platform that is offered to you however long it may take.
‘There it was, out at last, and if it seems like nothing very much, I can only say that it took a long time to say it, to be able to say it, and none of the journey was easy.’ Merle Miller
As Merle crashes into our world, audiences are witnesses to his protest and companions in his reflection, as he writes the article he has been avoiding for a lifetime. The article in question, What It Means to Be a Homosexual, is a public declaration of identity, a rallying cry for equality and – ultimately – part of the fabric of protest that formed the modern LGBTQ+ movement.
Richard Cant plays Merle; he has recently appeared on stage in The Vortex (Chichester Festival Theatre), Orlando (MGC Garrick) and The Normal Heart (National Theatre). His television credits include It’s A Sin, The Crown and Silent Witness.
Wiltons Music Hall
Wed 18 Oct 2023
Captioned in house by Wiltons Music Hall