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Subversive's 'Stop Kiss' takes aim at bigotry

Early on Saturday morning, two gay men were assaulted outside a pizzeria on Allen Street. At least one of their assailants used an anti-gay slur during the attack, which left one of the victims with a swollen eye and the other with a split lip.

It is unclear to what extent the attack was motivated by anti-gay sentiment, but its message is clear: It remains dangerous to be out and open about one's sexuality in 21st century Buffalo. But people choose to do it anyway.

That choice -- to live truthfully despite consequences ranging from workplace discrimination to outright violence -- is the driving force behind Diana Son's 1998 play "Stop Kiss." Subversive Theatre's production of the play, directed by Kelly Beuth, runs Feb. 23 through March 18 in the Manny Fried Playhouse (255 Great Arrow Ave.). It focuses on an anti-gay hate crime against a New York City woman who was observed kissing another woman.

"Taking on the indifference of law enforcement, the disapproval of loved ones, and the grim threat of violence that the LGBTQ+ community faces on a daily basis, this quintessential Off-Broadway drama speaks truth to power with a delicate sincerity," a release from Subversive reads.

Subversive's production stars Brittany Germano, Jenny Gembka, John Profeta, Justin Fiordaliso, Brian Brown and Theresa DiMuro Wilber. Tickets are $25 to $30. Call 408-0499 or visit subversivetheatre.org.

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