Jonathan Tolins is an awarded playwright, screenwriter, blogger, activist, husband and father of two, living in Fairfield, Connecticut. He has written, among other things, The last Sunday in June - which was recently translated to Spanish and is having a short season here in Mexico City, as I blogged about.
Jon’s work questions love, sexuality, relationships, politics, genetics, hatred, fears… life! And besides his scripts, he has other great things to say. I interviewed Jon and am glad to share this with you. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
What inspired you to write The last Sunday in June? I was living in the West Village overlooking Christopher Street in New York in the late 1990′s and on Gay Pride Day in 1997, a bunch of friends dropped by unnanounced to watch the parade from my window. We started joking that it felt like we were in a gay play with all the familiar conventions. We laughed a lot. The next day I wrote down some of the conversation and took it from there. I was in my early thirties at the time and my friends and I were at that stage in life where you begin to examine where you are, the choices you’ve made, and the roles you find yourself playing. I was feeling sensitive to the pressures from within the gay community, as well as those from outside. I thought I might have something to say about it.
Do you personally agree with or support LGBT pride marches? Sure, I think the parades can be wonderful. I understand how the more outrageous displays of gay sexuality can make people uncomfortable since that is what will always make the evening news, but I think society (for the most part) has gotten past that squeamishness. I have marched in several parades, both in New York and Los Angeles, and always had a great time. I was on a float with The last Sunday in June company in 2003, which was wonderful. Even better were the times I marched in Los Angeles with my husband and our daughter, as part of a gay parents group. That was “living the dream.” Selina waved to the people from her stroller like the Queen of England.
How do you think your work (written, TV…) affects people who read or see it? I honestly have no idea. I hope that people find that I’ve written truthfully about the characters and the work inspires audiences to talk and think about their own lives, or to find expression for things they’ve been thinking and feeling themselves. But I can’t think about that when I write. I just have to follow my imagination and be as honest as I can.
In what ways has your work had an effect on the LGBT community/movement? Alas, my work is far too obscure to have had any significant effect on the LGBT community/movement. The most widely seen work of mine is probably my contribution to the U.S. version of Queer as folk, but that was always through the filter of the executive producers who ran the show and I’m afraid it was never very close to what I intended. I think The twilight of the Golds may have had a small impact in giving the community a way to talk about the genetics issue. Those discussions come up again from time to time with reference to my play, so I’m proud of that. Most of all, I have heard from individuals who have been influenced or inspired by some of my work and that is intensely gratifying.