While neither is inherently worse than the other, many sects of the religious community have targeted the queer community for existing.
As a result, the queer community has largely developed an enmity for the religious community. The historical and contemporary attacks on queer communities by some religious leaders and entire religious communities has caused a deep divide between these populations. Queer folks have also often been faced with internal, moral, and emotional conflicts between their queer identities and their spiritual beliefs. In the United States, this conflict has primarily been focused on the tensions between the queer community and the Christian/Catholic faiths.
Bare: A Pop Opera closely examines the relationship between Catholicism and the queer community, focusing on the effect it has had on queer youth during their formative years. The story revolves around Peter and Jason, two senior high school students at a Catholic boarding school. At the beginning, we learn that they have been dating for a few years and that Peter has a growing desire to come out to his family.
The story unfolds as Peter explores his desire to be open about their relationship. However, Jason’s resistance and fear towards being out pushes Jason to try to be straight, despite his relationship with Peter. Jason and Peter symbolically represent the two parts of a queer individual’s mind when they’re contemplating their queerness and coming out. Peter is the part that wants to out in the open, being their true self. Jason is the part that fears being out and open, the part of self-preservation.
Music is central to the story, but the emotional aspect of how it’s written perfectly encapsulates the fear of coming out. For those who did not grow up in a religious household, some parts of the plot development and the fear of God may be lost. But these viewers will still likely be able to appreciate and relate with the experience. For those who grew up with religion, there may be a bone chilling twitch of recognition.
In the end, Bare is a great coming-of-age queer coming-out story, and it ends without a note of finality. The open-endedness of the final scenes leave us without many answers, but it does show us a world where religion can be used as a tool to oppress rather than enlighten.