This week I talked with Amie Klujian, Co-Founder of Back Lot Bash Chicago’s most attended women’s festival that takes place over two weekends kicking off on June 16th with fabulous events running June 23rd through June 25th during Chicago’s LGBTQ Pride week. Back Lot Bash started in 2004 in response to the lack of women’s events and the limited presence of female artists in the Chicago LGBTQ community. What started as a one-day event has morphed into a 4-day festival becoming an iconic staple of Chicago pride week that draws over 6000 attendees from Chicago, the Midwest and around the world. Co-founders Christina Wiesmore and Klujian strive to bring the community together by showcasing emerging and established talent and activating citizens by helping to raise money for community organizations. Every year Back Lot Bash partners with local organizations such as HRC Chicago, CMSA and AIDS Ride Chicago with a portion of the proceeds donated to a number of charitable organizations including A Sister’s Hope, Girls in the Game, UCAN and other groups focused on Women’s LGBTQ issues. I talked to Amie about who will be performing at this year’s Back Lot Bash events and give us her spin on our LGBTQ issues.
When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Klujian stated:
I think there are two important components to this that are intertwined and interdependent on each other. I see an important community of LGBT organizations national, state and local that have a huge voice within the institutional structures of our society whether that’s health, youth rights, civil rights, media, marriage rights and within those I really see leadership and membership that are invigorated and motivated by what we see going on in the change of the administration. Motivated to lead where needed and to resist where needed and to collaborate where needed with other non-LGBT organizations and to activate where needed because I think this administration spews toxicity and threatens our rights, dignities and our lives by targeting us often times as ‘less than’ in their policies and ignoring or denying real issues that exist such as bullying kids in schools and things like that. So, I believe that these organizations need to continue educating, advocating for and protecting where necessary rights for equal standing and this helps all of us. The second component I think is important is about us, the individuals, the people and the members of our community. I’m seeing so much individual engagement, moments of courage and more singular grassroots efforts and efforts on the part of individuals actively supporting LGBT causes and to support organizations, voice their opinions and stand up for themselves. So I see an emboldened and passionate future for our community and I’m so thankful for that because it just takes one person to spark better understanding and change. I’m very confident through our organizations and through individuals speaking their voice and even events like Back Lot Bash and similar events that take place around the country where we build more and more solidarity and collective voice each passing day. I’m proud and know we will be successful and get through this.
Amie Klujian earned a degree in politics from Princeton University and a master’s in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University. She’s an HRC Federal Club Member and serves with pride on the Executive Board of Directors at Girls in the Game, a nonprofit that helps girls become empowered game changers. The fabulous entertainment lineup for Back Lot Bash 2017 includes DJ Whitney Mixter, Madison Paige, Sea and Gunn (Daniela Sea & Gunn Lundemo), Rebel & Basketcase (music from Evan Rachel Wood and Zach Villa), Bria and Chrissy, Catfight, JD Samson, Kiyomi Valentine, DJ Goodboy and Tory Whodat among others.