Tag Archives: Documentary

New Documentary Explores the Lives of Trans Men

Two fierce women, LaVerne Cox and Janet Mock, spearhead the transgender woman’s movement. That’s incredible.

But when transgender men look to the media for representation, where is their Janet Mock? Where is their Caitlin Jenner?

The documentary Other Boys NYC hopes to change that. Instead of pushing one transgender man’s voice to the front, this documentary is going to push fifty.

This documentary is different from most documentaries in two ways. First, it’s serialized. The first half is released on February 25, while the second half will be released chapter by chapter one week at a time.

Oh yeah, and there are fifty chapters.

Each 5-7 minute installment focuses on a different queer and/or trans man of color living in New York City. Each chapter showcases a story about identity, sexuality, coming out or staying hidden. Today, the trans male experience is diverse, and deserves to be captured, not just so that young trans men can see themselves on the television, but also because transgender men’s voices are valid and deserve to be elevated.

The filmmaker Abdool Corlette heads up the documentary. In a recent statement, he says:

The series aims to inspire empathy and discussion through taking an intimate look at those topics as well as others like dating, family, masculinity, socio-economics, religion and career. It is an intersection of people from all races, cultures and religions.”

The docu-series will premiere on the global network Slay TV. This media platform, which debuted in July 2016, is devoted to telling the stories of queer people of color. You can stream the platform’s shows on iOs, YouTube, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV – you can also watch this documentary free on YouTube and on the official Slay TV website.

Why do we need more QPOC representation? Statistics show that  “in 2016, only 4.8 percent of characters on TV were LGBTQ, and an overwhelming majority — about 71 percent — of these LGBTQ characters were white. Most queer characters depicted were gay men, at 46 percent. Only 7 percent were bisexual men, and 3 percent were transgender men.”

Even if you’re not transgender, you should watch this documentary series in order to learn more about the T in LGBT and the experiences of our transgender friends. The bite-sized segments are short enough to watch anywhere, but so engaging that you won’t want to stop until you’ve finished all 50.

Catch the groundbreaking series here.

New Documentary ‘Rebel Dykes of London’ Is On It’s Way

Before there were queer activists, before there were Riot Grrls, there were the Rebel Dykes of London. They were young, they were feminists, they were anarchists, they were punks, and they were the first generation of sex positive outlaw women, and nothing has been quite the same since.

You won’t find out much about them in the history books, but now a new feature length documentary is set to tell their story. Produced by Siobhan Fahey, an original rebel dyke, and co-directed by Sian Williams and Harri Shanahan, the trailer was released this week – and it looks fantastic.

Fahey explains

This documentary film is being made because the history of the London Rebel Dykes of the 1980s is in danger of being forgotten. Rebel dykes created their own world, made their own rules, and refused to be ignored. We can’t let history tidy them away.”

Described as a labour of love, the film has been made with no budget.

We are doing this in our own time on top of work and bands and lovers and life. It is being created in DIY style, with huge support from an online community of 200+ Rebel Dykes.”

Find out more here www.rebeldykes1980s.com

Lauren Lubin and ‘We Exist’: A Documentary on the Life of Non-Binary People

Existing is a sum of many things: of being recognized, represented, talked about but also in an affirming way and not simply being referred at in psychiatric textbooks. Existing means being part of a language and incorporated into its habits, having your specific needs identified and catered to, your problems and demands heard and the differences that make you into the unique individual that you are accepted and validated. Existing is not just about living and breathing and going to work.

If you have faced several forms of sexism, racism, ableism, homo-bi-ace/phobia, transphobia or intersex-phobia before, you may already have the experience of what it is like to be a living human being but to have your identity denied, erased, concealed, abused or stripped of its individual existence.

In activism there is no point in making competitions out of people’s suffering and oppression. Someone will always have it better than you, and someone will always have it worse than you because of endless mingling webs of intersecting paths and reasons. That doesn’t mean that we can’t – or that we’re not supposed to – focus on the specific characteristics that distinguish the different forms of oppression each complex identity is facing.

When it comes to people whose gender does not fall strictly into the man-woman binary system that society is imposing on us, one of the main forms of oppression they are faced with, is the denying of their existence. Worst of all (as happens with other LGBTQ+ identities as well), the erasure non-binary people might have to deal with, doesn’t only come from outside the queer community, but also stems vastly from within it.

Non-binary experiences are still being stubbornly ignored even within the LGBTQ+ community, not only from non-straight, but also from binary trans people, resulting to a harmful lack of safe spaces for non-binary individuals.

Society insists on being disrespectful towards non-binary people, starting from the distant, seemingly theoretical debates on grammar and on whether we should accept people’s pronouns, to the insistence on segregating everything by gender, sports, restrooms, hair salons, and practically almost everything else we deal with, participate into or are part of in our everyday lives.

This can only be extremely harmful for both the physical and mental health of non-binary individuals, who rarely ever have their voices properly heard and their needs taken into consideration.

Lauren Lubin is the creator and executive producer of the upcoming documentary We Exist, which explores the lives of people who experience their gender in a way different than those who identify as either men or women. The production of this documentary started four years ago and it is one of the biggest initiatives worldwide that have to do with the specific experiences of non-binary people, narrated by them as they interact with all aspects of flawed, binary societies.

WeExistDocumentary-05

The documentary is an intimate work that reaches up to the most personal issues that a gender-non-conforming trans person might face and can function as a crucial point of reference, relation and inclusion for non-binary people from all over the world.

Lauren Lubin says, in their After Ellen interview with Kim Hoffman, concerning their hopes about the release of We Exist:

I have always seen this film as the first step toward tackling and changing the many oppressing social issues people like myself face. And already, I’ve seen how We Exist has begun to make such changes, particularly among my followers in the We Exist community. My hope for this undertaking has always been to create a film that people like myself can share with their loved ones and say, “Hey, this is me. This is how I feel. I’m not the only one.”

And indeed, We Exist has already grown into a worldwide movement, a phenomenon with visible positive effects when it comes to the representation that non-binary people are deprived of. The platform already extends to 67 different countries and it represents experiences of individuals from around the globe, crossing boundaries set by age, race and culture and offering a multi-dimensional picture of non-binary experience.  People are finally seeing themselves reflected on a project, amongst thousands of other projects that insisted on focusing specifically on either men or women:

I discovered Lauren earlier this week and it’s an incredibly important discovery for me because I now know that I exist. I am gender neutral and hopefully I am at just the beginning… to finally live as me.” –S.

 

I am so happy to see this that this brought tears to my eyes… After 26 years I am happy ro finally have a place in this world. I am happy that gender identity is becoming more talked about and educated on… I want to thank everyone involved for the work you are doing. This will save lives and encourage people. THANK YOU!!!” –E. (from the We Exist Media Kit found on the We Exist Official Website).

Lubin believes that

it is absolutely within society’s reach, to expand upon the current gender binary system. It’s clear now, and the science backs it up: Gender—like sexuality—does exist on a spectrum. There are pockets of change already occurring all over the world: from Nepal recognizing a third gender, to individual establishments and schools implementing gender neutral bathrooms, to Facebook enabling their users to define their gender on their own terms. But in order to institutionalize and integrate a broader gender system across all of society—academia, medicine, legislation, government identification, and so forth—it’s imperative for change and accountability to occur at the top. Until then, it’s up to us individuals to educate, advocate and lobby against the status quo until that happens.”

They also refer to the discrimination and the erasure a non-binary person has to deal with in most parts of their everyday life:

My current reality as a non-binary person living in a binary world is that once I leave my home, there are very few public spaces where I can fully exist. What’s more, legally I do not fully exist as my true self, which not only dehumanizes my person but also make my life extremely difficult and unsafe. The ideal, perfect day for me would be just like anyone else’s: to step out into the world without question or fear, knowing that I do and can exist as I am, wherever I am, and to be recognized, respected and protected exactly as I am.”

Non-binary identities are often shut down as “Tumblr SJW made-up identities”, downright refusing to respect people’s existence as well as their rightful, valid experiences. In all honesty, no one should demand proof for the way a person experiences their gender and sexuality, given that people’s identities don’t harm other people or their respectful identities in any way.

However, even science backs up the idea that sexuality and gender fall onto a spectrum. One recent research led by the Medical University of Vienna and presented in Huffington Post last year, shows that the human brain holds a wide range of gender differences varying from person to person, independently by their biological sex characteristics. In a society where trans experiences are more often than not pathologized, and their identities objectified, sexualized and heavily misrepresented.

According to the We Exist Media Kit, the documentary circles around Lauren’s life, showing  everyday reality for a person identifying as gender neutral and leaving a positive, empowering note. The trailer looks amazing, both sentimentally and aesthetically, and gives us glimpses of Lauren’s childhood, athletic dedication and transition, promising us a multi-dimensional depiction that can raise awareness about people whose gender doesn’t fall within the binary. Lauren Lubin is actually a multi-talented person, having earned a full scholarship for basketball at the University of Colorado, today spreading awareness about gender issues through their documentary. They have published two books: The Rainforest Awakenings and The Thoughtless Revolution.

Their voice has been heard on ABC Good Morning, Curve Magazine, Out Magazine, TIME, The Huffington Post, on the Everyone Is Gay Tumblr Blog with Kristin Russo (co-founder of The Parents Project, a digital resource for parents of LGBTQ+ children) where they explained what the gender binary means and how gender is a spectrum and spoke about their journey of discovery. They have given an interview with Rebecca Ruiz on Mashable, where they addressed the issue of assuming people’s gender in everyday life without giving much thought into it. Lauren Lubin have also given speeches at several schools, universities and youth organizations such as the Columbia University, the Trinity College, the University of Colorado, Lurie’s Children Hospital Safe Space Day, SpeakingOUT Organization, and many more.

The documentary is directed and edited by Andrew Seger, a Brooklyn-based editor and producer who has worked together with Starbucks, VOGUE and other projects.

There might be a rise in the conversation about LGBTQ+ issues, but equality has not been achieved, especially for the least represented, understood and discussed identities. This is why initiatives such as We Exist are deemed absolutely vital to raise awareness for non-binary and gender-non-conforming issues.

 

 

The Making Of A King – The Kings Are In Town

Drag kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes as part of an individual or group routine.

They may be heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise part of the LGBT community. Drag kings are largely a phenomenon of lesbian culture and have made up a large part of the lesbian community for many years.

Compared to their counterparts, drag queens, very little is known about the drag king subculture. Nicole Miyahara, the director of the film, hopes to change all that with her feature documentary and she has just recently launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise enough money to get the documentary finished.

We started this journey over four years ago. When I first met these drag kings, I was moved by their artistry and resilience. I knew I wanted to bring their story to the big screen.”

This feature documentary paints a broader and more inclusive picture of diverse identities and what it means to be a drag artist. These kings are challenging gender norms and stereotypes through drag and art, and in the process inviting the audience to question their own cultural expectations of gender.

Through deeply honest interviews, the kings reveal the journey of expressing masculinity through performance, explore what it will take for drag kings to be part of mainstream pop culture, and share how their experiences with drag positively affect their daily lives.

1094701_671753542837654_291473157_o

Nicole and her film making team have spent years getting to know these artists and following their stories through the camera in order to explore their culture and understand their battles. One protagonist of the documentary, Havok Von Doom expressed the importance of getting this documentary out there:

This film is really important on many levels. Drag kings have a bad rap even though we put it just as much work, time, effort into every illusion as the queens do. What we do transcends genders. It doesn’t matter what’s underneath the character that you are seeing. What I hope is that audiences will see this film and realize that drag in general should be celebrated as a mainstream form of entertainment.”

Apparently drag kings have an ongoing battle within the drag community and are fighting for equality within their own drag community. They are faced with issues such as equal pay, equal access to show time, and respect in the greater LGBTQ community.  Nicole talks about the message she is clear to portray with the film and says:

 We understand the responsibility and opportunity to open people’s minds with this film. We hope this documentary will create conversations about gender and performance art.”

It is important to the LGBTQ community that documentaries like this hit the big screen as it raises awareness in our own community as well as to others outside of it. Gender, identity and gender roles have been issues in society forever but it is even more important to challenge these issues in our own LGBTQ community so let’s support the film in any way we can.


For more information, please visit  or follow the film on Twitter: @DragKingFilm.

Documentary ‘in particular, barbara findlay’ Details Vancouver LGBT Activist’s Fight for Equality

For the past 30 years, lawyer barbara findlay Q.C has been fighting for the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Canadians.

Not only was barbara findlay one of the first lawyers to practice openly as a lesbian, but she has also broken ground by taking on cases regarding gay adoption, family law, discrimination and in 1995 she represented Kimberley Nixon who was asked to leave the Vancouver Rape Relief organisation because she is trans.

So important has barbara findlay’s work been to Canada’s LGBT community that it has now been presented in a documentary called in particular, barbara findlay.

Directed by Becca Plucer, the documentary also features the likes of Kimberly Nixon, as well as 13-year-old Tru Wilson (who got a Catholic school board to change its policy regarding the gender expression of students) and other activists and writers who are working to fight against oppression.

Moreover, the documentary looks at some of the low points barbara findlay’s life. For example, in the late 1960s, a time when people didn’t necessarily know what a lesbian was, barbara findlay was locked up in a psychiatric ward for admitting her attraction to women.

The lawyer also faced sexism as one of few women who were in law school.

And there are high points as well, including barbara findlay’s meeting of her partner Sheila Gilhooly, who features in the documentary as an interviewee, meeting her thesis advisor Dorothy Smyth and in 1982 when she discovered that LGBT people had been left out of the human rights code.

In particular, barbara findlay aired late last month at The Rio for Queer History Month, and some of those lucky enough to be in attendance called it an ‘important story to tell,’ massively praising the documentary. For those who were unable to attend the showing of the film, however, a post on barbara findlay’s website explains that the documentary will be available online after June 3 via OUTtv.

Lesbian Pregnancy Documentary ‘Romeo Romeo’ to Air as Part of America ReFramed Series

World Channel’s America ReFramed series of independent films aims to “present personal viewpoints and a range of voices on the nation’s social issues – giving audiences the opportunity to learn from the past, understand the present, and explore new frameworks for America’s future.”

America ReFramed’s fourth series includes a series of hard-hitting documentaries including Revolution ‘67 (a look at The Newark Riots), American Arab (which explores identity and anti-Muslim sentiment post 9/11) and Divide In Concord (a “contemporary debate” about individual freedom vs. collective responsibility).

Romeo Romeo will soon be added to that list when the 2012 documentary about a lesbian couple trying to get pregnant airs on March 22.

Romeo Romeo follows Alexis and Jessica Casano-Antonellis on their journey to get pregnant, with World Channel’s official blurb explaining that “the two women spend their life savings to buy sperm online and then head to the hospital to have Lexy inseminated.”

Romeo Romeo 03

However, getting pregnant “turns out to be more difficult than they anticipated.”

Also covered in this documentary are topics such as whether or not the sperm donor should be anonymous, as well as the potential risks (such as a miscarriage and premature delivery).

World Channel notes that Romeo Romeo features “rigorous documentation” of what the couple goes through.

Romeo Romeo 02

While having the process documented on camera may have been a little difficult for the couple, in an interview with After Ellen, the two women explain that the decision to go through this was partly because of the lack of awareness and information surrounding the subject.

Romeo Romeo director Lizzie Gottlieb felt that “[IVF] had not been explored enough on film and there wasn’t enough awareness around what women go through that have fertility issues.”

The couple also reveals that when they embarked on the process, there “really wasn’t a whole lot” of resources and information available to them as a lesbian couple.

While the film won’t necessarily teach everybody everything, the fact that Romeo Romeo also looks at the “medical, logistical, financial and emotional costs” of the process should be informative.

Romeo Romeo airs as part of World Channels’ America ReFramed series.

Croatian Documentary ‘Sick’ Features a Woman Institutionalised for Being Gay

All over the world, gay conversion therapy is a common practice. Aiming to ‘convert’ a gay person to heterosexuality, the practice has been criticised as abusive and may lead to depression and possibly even suicide.

And yet, it still remains legal in many parts of the United States and even the United Kingdom, which may come as a surprise given the recent steps forward on LGBTQ+ rights.

Unfortunately, the topic of gay conversion therapy is something that Ana Dragicevic, the woman at the centre of new Croatian documentary Sick (Bolesno) knows well.

When Ana was 16 she fell in love with a girl at school and after her parents discovered that she was gay, they sent her to a psychiatric hospital as a ‘drug addict’.

sick_photo9

Though this wasn’t the case, after nine months Ana told Doctor Mirjana Vulin (the hospital’s director) that she was an addict, which led the doctor to try and cure Ana of her “disease”: homosexuality.

Although Ana was let out when she lied and told them that she’d fallen for a boy outside of the hospital, when she was released she told her parents that she was still gay which led them to send her back.

Kept away from other patients, Ana ended up spending five years (in total) at the hospital, making life difficult upon her eventual release.

Now, Ana has a fiancée named Martina and the two women plan to get married in Amsterdam.

03bolesno

However, Ana suffers from paranoia (she is concerned that Martina will betray her in the same way that her parents did) and she also has PTSD, is suicidal and is prone to self-harm; all of which she is on medication for. And, though Martina hopes that they can just move on and be happy, Ana is suing both Dr. Vulin and her parents.

Information on where to see Sick can be found on the Fade In (the film’s production company) Facebook page.

What’s It Like to Grow Up Trans in the South? New Documentary ‘Deep Run’ Answers

One phrase that we’ve heard a lot recently is ‘the transgender tipping point’; the idea that now, finally, we are seeing trans characters in the media and trans people’s stories being told on our TV and cinema screens.

For example, there’s trans woman of colour Sophia Burset on Orange if the New Black, 2015 film Tangerine follows two trans working girls, Amazon series Transparent follows a family dealing with their parent’s transition. And of course, recently there’s been the high profile transition of Caitlyn Jenner of Keeping Up With the Kardashians fame.

But while the trans tipping point has given us more trans characters and stories about trans characters that aren’t exploitative or dehumanising, that doesn’t necessarily mean that life has gotten any easier for the average, real-world trans person. Murders of trans people are at a historic high in the US, with at least 20 trans women having been murdered this year.

The intolerance against trans folk is particularly potent in the south of the United States, with these states locations being infamous for their high levels of religion and low levels of acceptance. Exploring what it’s like to be a trans person in this area is a new documentary called Deep Run, which follows trans man Cole Ray Davis in a ‘coming of age’ story that follows five years of his life living in rural North Carolina, including how he find acceptance from his family, his girlfriend and his church community.

Deep Run 04

Already, Deep Run has picked up several awards including Best Documentary at the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival as well as Emerging Talent Award at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, but these aren’t the only endorsements attached to the film.

Deep Run 01 Deep Run 03

In addition to critics praising it as a beautifully shot piece that really does its subject and its atmosphere justice, Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon (who is also Deep Run’s executive producer) says that the film is now more important than ever and she also tells The Advocate that;

There’s people that’s just trying to make ends meet, can’t find a job, problems that a lot of people have in the United States right now with poverty and hunger and homelessness, and then on top of that you add the challenges of transitioning without money for [medication], without real counseling, without the kind of support from a community that is so important when transitioning, and it became more and more important to me that this documentary was something people should see to understand other types of situations where people are transitioning and not just the glamorous life of Caitlyn Jenner.”

Deep Run02

Davis also spoke the publication about his life and experiences during Deep Run:

[Making the film was] fun and sporadic, more overwhelming than anything,” he says “It is difficult living openly trans in the Deep South, there are times when it can be scary, but for the most part I just brush it off and live my life. I fought so hard for acceptance because I thought I deserved spiritual help as much as anyone else did. And I was so tired of hearing Christians say we believe that only God can judge, yet their whole practice seemed to be about judging, and I just thought I wanted to challenge that,and see if I could be accepted.”

Visit the Deep Run website to find out how you can see the film.

https://vimeo.com/132882263

‘From This Day Forward’ Documentary Features A Family Coping With a Parent’s Transition

Between Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black, Maura on Transparent and Caitlyn Jenner of Olympic and Kardashians fame, recently, the conversation about trans folk has really focused on those who come out and choose to transition once they already had families. But, with the first two names on that list being fictional and with Jenner’s own documentary series being given the E! reality drama touch, those stories aren’t necessarily relatable.

Perhaps offering a better look (or at least a different one) at how families adapt and change once someone in the family comes out as transgender, is From This Day Forward.

From This Day Forward 01

For the Shattuck family, that person is their dad, Trisha. Before getting married, Trisha told Marcia that she liked to dress up in women’s clothing but, perhaps out of naivety, Marcia didn’t think anything of it, just assuming it was a kink that shouldn’t be disclosed out of the bedroom. For Trisha, however, this most definitely wasn’t a kink, it was her gender identity.

When Marcia and Trisha’s two daughters, Laura and Sharon were five and eight years old (respectively), Trisha came out and announced her plans to transition.

From This Day Forward reveals that the emotional toll of keeping her identity a secret was very difficult for Trisha, and in the trailer, she says that “being transgender is like walking around, silently crying unless you have an opportunity to express yourself”.

Unfortunately, Laura and Sharon weren’t best pleased with the timing of Trisha’s coming out and they want to know why their dad didn’t wait until they were older.

Sharon Shattuck (who also directed the documentary) also wants to know about her parents’ love as, when Trisha began to transition, her and Marcia nearly got a divorce.

Plus, for a straight woman who now is now married to another woman, there’s although the question of sexuality, though Marcia says that “it’s this inner being that is the attraction, and it’s just always there. And there’s nothing really that can break it if it’s there for you”.

From This Day Forward 02 From This Day Forward 03

On top of this, there’s the fact that Sharon is getting married and From This Day Forward considers a conversation that Sharon and her dad had when she was 13, when her dad hoped that one day she’d wear a dress to walk Sharon down the aisle.

It doesn’t seem right to call this one a learning documentary and it’s certainly not hard-hitting but From This Day Forward does manage to be serious and yet heart-warming at the same time.

The film is currently doing the film festival circuit so visit its website to find out when it’s showing near you.

Gaybies: We Are Not a Hypothetical (Photo Series)

Right now, roughly 11% of gay adult men and 33% of gay adult women in Australia are raising children. And yet, while poll after poll showing the majority of Australians approve of same-sex marriage, Australia remains the only English-speaking country in the world not to have legalised it, with conservatives citing the same concern: the welfare of kids raised by two mums or two dads.

In all of this, filmmakers Maya Newell (herself raised by two mothers) and Charlotte Mars noticed one voice was crucially missing: the kids.

So over several years, they followed the lives of four children and their same-sex parents, and made the feature documentary Gayby Baby.

After seeing the documentary before its release, artist Casey Legler and photographer Jez Smith – in collaboration with the Gayby Baby team — spearheaded the photo series GAYBIES: We Are Not a Hypothetical, which showcases kids raised by same-sex parents — including several from the film.

Upon its Australian cinema release last week, however, Gayby Baby made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Conservative tabloid The Daily Telegraph published a front-page news story reporting that parents had objected to a scheduled school screening of the film. Soon after, The Guardian proved those reports were false. It didn’t matter: the New South Wales education minister banned the film from being screened during school hours.

The timing of Legler and Smith’s photo essay couldn’t be better. Now, after being told their families are “not normal” in the national press, three of the kids featured in Gayby Baby — Ebony, Gus and Matt — have spoken up, and the present-day photos have given them the opportunity to have their voices heard one more time.


Ebony, 16

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247563

I’m in the film Gayby Baby, which started when I was 12, and I’m now 16. My brother Ashaan is now 5, Seth is 12 – oh gosh, he’s old! – and Makaya has just turned eight weeks. Ang is 40 this year and my mum is 36. I hear the words “gay agenda” all the time, and every time it makes me laugh. The only agenda my parents have is getting Makaya to sleep, or making sure we have done our homework, then getting our reports … and seeing we haven’t done our homework. I doubt this film has a gay agenda. It’s just us, and [filmmaker] Maya following us around for a few years. If my life has an agenda, then I’d like someone to explain that to me.

People can make assumptions about you and throw statistics at you and they can say all these things about you but in the end no knows your family but you.”


Seth, 12

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247570

I have two mums. There’s also my sister Ebony, my little brother Ash, and my littlest brother Makaya. I found out my family was different in Year One. At my school you do Christian Scripture, and the only way not to go is you have to send an email to the principal. My parents didn’t know about that, so I went. We were a couple of weeks into it when they started to say, “If you have same-sex parents, or if you are gay, it’s a sin.” It was a shock and I was kind of confused. So I went home, Mum had a good long chat to the principal and Ang got me a bowl of ice cream. But yeah, that’s how I knew my family was different. But I’ve never really cared, ’cause my family is great. I’d rather my family is different and happy, than “normal” and not happy.

No matter what people say, don’t let it get you down. Just own it. If someone says your family is weird, just move on.”


Ashaan, 5

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247578

I am Ashaan and I have two mums. On my birthday I get two things!


Jesse, 23

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247585

My family consists of my two mothers – Louise and Margaret – my brother Raj, and my father Paul. What’s great about my family is that it is different, but at its core, it’s the same as everyone else’s. If Gayby Baby had been shown when I was at school, I wouldn’t have had to lie and make up stories about what my family was, and who that other woman living with us was. I could have been open and honest about myself and with my friends from the start. No one can ever discriminate against you if you are proud of yourself.

No one can ever discriminate against you if you are proud of yourself. You shouldn’t have to hide. Be yourself.”


Gus, 14

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247593

My parents are Jen and Jamie, and I have a little sister, Rory. What’s great about my family is that they love me very much. They’re a pretty average family, but they are pretty daggy. When I woke up on Wednesday, my parents were pretty upset [by the Daily Telegraph front page], because the screening was suppose to be a step forward for the gay movement. But I was like, “Cool, I made the front page.”

Just try not to listen to the rich white politicians and love your family. Don’t blame them for anything, cause despite what everyone thinks — it’s not a choice.”


Vivienne, 10

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247602

I have three mums – Fiona, Jam and Gina – a brother called Bruno who is very annoying, a cat called Jasper, and another a cat called Flash who lives with six Spiny Leaf Stick insects. What I like about my mums is that they are completely different.

One is tough and is a blacksmith, my other mum works for Women NSW and my other mum is a writer. At school, sometimes people say “that’s gay’ or they call people gay. I try and stop them but they just keep doing it. The other day, even one of my best friends said, “That’s so gay,” and I was like, “That is extremely rude.”

Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let them bring you down.”


Rory, 8

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247612

My family is like every family. There are some bad things and some good things. I felt half happy because Gus was on the front page of the newspaper, but half sad because they were being mean to people with gay and lesbian families. The people who disagree with it have not watched the film. If they watch Gayby Baby, they will know that everyone is the same, because all families have their differences.

Everyone is the same because all families have their differences.”


Brenna, 19

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247619

When I was eight, me and my parents went on an episode of [Australian children’s TV show] Play School . Parents complained, so controversy is something I am very used to. Even though it’s been really yuck to see homophobia given airtime, it has shown that there is a lot of support for gay and lesbian families too. Watching Gayby Baby, I realised I had never seen my family on screen in all those complex ways. I felt an enormous sense of pride.

I want kids who are growing up with same-sex parents to know that you understand diversity, acceptance and love more than most fully grown adults.”


Dylan, 13 and Matt, 16

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247640

Dylan: I have two mums who are married, a dad, a soon-to-be step mum, a brother and a stepsister. My mums got married in New Zealand, then came to Australia for the reception. It was really fun. My brother and I made speeches, danced down the aisle and did the first dance. To other kids in families like mine, I’d say, just remember that you are just like every other family, but you’re better, ’cause you have two of them. Be proud of it.

Matt: My mums wanted to get married in Australia but it’s illegal. They were going to wait until they legalised it, but that was going to take too long, so they went to New Zealand. It wasn’t the best, ’cause they had to go overseas and none of their friends could be with them. But then they came back and had a wedding reception and that was really fun. People are saying Gayby Baby is political and shouldn’t be shown in schools, but it’s just showing kids like me who have gay parents that it’s alright.


Sunnai, 16

gaybies-in-their-own-words-body-image-1442247649

I have two mums, a donor dad, and another mum that lives in Melbourne. I’ve been in the [Sydney Gay and Lesbian] Mardi Gras since I was zero. When I was four, the theme for the rainbow kids was The Wizard of Oz.Mum, Lil and I all dressed up as the Tin Man and we painted our bodies silver. It was one of the best Mardi Gras I’ve ever been in. My advice to younger kids? Acknowledge that you are different. Because who wants to be normal? Normal is so boring.

Who wants to be normal? Normal is so boring. Being different is so special; you are brought up with so much love and acceptance.”

thegaybyproject.com/screenings

Polarised: New Documentary Takes A Honest Look At Mental Health Issues In LGBTQ Community

Polarised is a new short, powerful and much needed documentary about LGBTQ+ young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 19.40.05

In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke, Amy Gunn and their contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by mental illness.

A study recently showed that LGBTQ+ people are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide at any given point in their lifetimes.

LGBTQ+ people are 3 times more likely to experience anxiety disorders than heterosexuals, and up to 6 times more likely to suffer from depression.

Charlie Smoke, Executive Producer said:

As the Project has progressed, it’s become evident that this isn’t a documentary that will just personally touch our lives. It’s become a vehicle with which to channel the voices of many – those whose voices have been battered down, ignored and lost.

It became evident when we managed to raise over £2,200 in just under two months through our first round of crowd funding. We want to explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill in 2015 and to make ourselves visible. This short film is the start.”

The short film (running time approx. 24 minutes) can be viewed on KitschMix.TV

The project has also announced ‘The Polarised Glitter Ball’, an evening of drag, burlesque, comedy and queer performance on the 21st November at The Good Ship in Kilburn to raise vital funds for the production of the feature documentary. Tickets can be bought here

New South Wales Premier ‘Distressed’ After Backing Ban On Same-Sex Parenting Film

Mike Baird, the Premier in New South Wales in Australia has apologised, and said he was “distressed” after he backed ban on showing of a same-sex parenting film.

Burwood Girls High in Sydney planned on screening the film Gayby Baby to students last Friday morning as part of “Wear it Purple” day – a equality campaign aimed at encouraging LGBT inclusion and support in schools.

gayby-baby

However, the film was banned from being shown during school hours, by New South Wales’ education minister Adrian Piccoli.

State Premier Mike Baird backed the move:

I understand the intent of that is to provide an example of tolerance and that’s something I absolutely support. Should it be in class time? No, I don’t think so. Should it be optional? Yes, I do think so.”

Upper house Labor MP Penny Sharpe brought up the controversy at a budget estimate on Thursday.

She said she had heard from a gay parent who said she felt the government’s action on the film had sent a message to her kids that they were not normal.

The letter read

I want to cry because although I know our child is ever so loved and balanced and sensible, and fully supported as an emerging young person in their own right, I can’t really know what this does to them. I am outraged at the media, but more at the damage made so much greater with a government affirmation and intervention that ensured that the message of `unacceptable’, `not normal’, and `tacitly deviant, therefore worth less’ was slammed full force, without consideration, consultation or care, into the minds of children and families throughout the state.”

Mr Baird responded to say that he had been “very distressed by the way this played out.”

I have to say to her that I’m incredibly sorry. Everyone – every single person – has value. Everyone is normal. The last thing I want is for any family to not feel loved and accepted across NSW.”

Gayby Baby is a documentary, which tells the stories of children of same-sex parented families. Sydney filmmakers Maya Newell and Charlotte McLellan raised $100k to make the film through crowdfunding in 2012.

Gayby-Baby-03

As the daughter of two mothers, Newell hoped to change the minds of those who believe same-sex parenting is detrimental to children and ultimately her goal is to bring gay marriage to reality. The documentary is told from the perspectives of the three such ‘gaybies’ to see what it’s really like to grow up in such a family.

Where Have All The Lesbian Bars Gone? (Video)

San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, and New Orleans are four of the biggest gay party meccas in America, yet the cities’ lesbian bars keep shutting down.

lesbian bar 01

It’s not a situation unique to the US. In towns and cities across the world, lesbian spaces are disappearing at an alarming rate, despite the growing acceptance of non-heterosexual identities.

Why are lesbian bars dying while gay male clubs continue to thrive? Is it because of rising rent prices, the stereotype of lesbians moving in after the first date, the rise of the trans rights movement, or something more complex?

In a new documentary for new Vice channel Broadly, Le Tigre and Men star JD Samson travelled across the US to speak to those who’ve watched the evolution of lesbian culture first hand to find out what’s behind the trend and what, if anything, can be done to stop it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-KU2EDJ2Lk

The Last Lesbian Bars is a brilliant film featuring in depth interviews and archive material that really goes beyond the usual stereotyped explanations of U-Hauling lesbians to really get to the bottom of how the spaces we inhabit have changed, just as we have, in the last 60 years.

AirBnB Celebrates Pride Month With a Short Documentary About The Travel Challenges LGBT Couples Face (Video)

The ability to travel safely and free of prejudice is something that most heterosexual couples take for granted.

As LGBT couples we face something very different. Wherever we visit or stay, there is a possibility that we could be discriminated against us.

That’s not something that even a service like Airbnb can necessarily end, but with its new short documentary, “Love Is Welcome Here,” as part of the company’s #HostWithPride campaign, they make clear that they’re aware of the issue.

The documentary, created in partnership with Molecule, features several queer and same-sex couples – a cisgender woman and a transgender man, and young and old same-sex couples with different kinds of families – as they talk, first, about their love stories.

It’s always charming to hear people recount the joy they felt when they first held their child, or the exciting adventures they’ve had together, but the film quickly takes a sharp turn toward the dark side of sharing experiences as a queer couple: Namely, that some of those experiences can be scary in ways that have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with how the people around you see you.

AirBnB Celebrates Pride Month 03

AirBnB Celebrates Pride Month 01

As one woman in the film says,

Planning a honeymoon as a queer couple, we have to be really careful about where we go.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by all of the other couples in the spot – “Some countries are less friendly than others,” “Your ultimate fear is your safety,” “If people knew that I was trans and we were queer, would these people talk to us?”

AirBnB Celebrates Pride Month 04

AirBnB Celebrates Pride Month 02

While Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy seeks to address such concerns, the company seems to recognize within the ad that no corporate policy can eradicate bigotry, and instead keeps its eye focused on a better day. It ends with the words

We look forward to a world where all love is welcome.”

And that’s something that everyone should be able to get behind.

‘Open Windows’ Documentary Interviews Older European Lesbians

While being a lesbian in modern day society isn’t easy by a long shot, it is substantially better than what it once was. These days, there’s lesbian representation that is diverse across continents, races, age groups and gender presentation. There are also Pride events and it is now accepted for politicians, companies and celebrities to support the LGBT community rather than shun them. In fact, if you aren’t on the side of LGBT equality, you’re usually a minority in that opinion.

But before the turn of the century, these things were all but a pipe dream. There was a time not so long ago when not only did lesbians have no rights protecting their identities, but they didn’t even have words to describe their sexuality either; how could you know you were a lesbian when a) people didn’t like to talk about it and b) there were no lesbians in TV shows or movies who you could relate to?

Many older lesbians have seen this new era of progressive opinion and LGBT acceptance develop within society, yet they have also felt the hardships of living in a society that even at the best of times, couldn’t accept them.

In a new documentary from Michèle Massé called ‘Open Windows’, we hear what it’s like to be an older lesbian from four older lesbians themselves.

All four of the women in the film are from Europe: there’s a couple named Micheline and Jocelyne who live together in Paris and then there are two women who live in Madrid, Empar who’s married and Boti who’s divorced.

While it perhaps would have been nice to see a more regionally diverse bunch of people (attitudes towards lesbians in Western Europe will be greatly different to those in the UK or in Eastern European countries) each of the four women in Open Windows brings a unique perspective on the fight so far and what needs to happen next.

open-windows-02

For example, Boti, having gone through a divorce from a same-sex partner, feels that same-sex divorce should also be talked about as much as same-sex marriage and that discussing that will help the entire thing seem normal. Empar, on the other hand, says that as she grew up in Francoist Spain (a totalitarian state) there was no reading material available about homosexuality and information was limited, so when she finally realised that she was a lesbian, she was relieved.

open-windows-03

Meanwhile, Micheline and Jocelyne face their own set of troubles, such as the fact that Micheline struggled to come out until her sixties and Jocelyne holds the very real fear that people will react badly to her on the street or in her apartment building and that she will end up in a nursing home where the carers do not respect her identity.

Open Windows is currently playing in film festivals across the globe. Visit the film’s website for more information.

‘Visible Silence’ Documentary Sheds Light on Thai Lesbian Society

Thailand is often regarded as one of the best places in Asia for LGBT citizens and tourists. The country decriminalised sodomy in 1956 (in contrast, the UK didn’t do so until 1967), in 2002 the Thai Ministry of Health stopped classing LGBT identities as a mental illness, and since 2005, LGBT Thai citizens have been able to openly serve in the military.

However, while these things are fantastic examples of how public perception of LGBT people has changed in Thailand in the last few decades, things aren’t quite as tolerant as they seem. For example, the country has no discrimination laws that protect LGBT people against hate crimes, and equal opportunity policies for LGBT people are not enforced in the workforce either. LGBT Thai families are also burdened by the lack of clarity surrounded same-sex adoptions as well as the lack of same-sex marriage or domestic partnership laws.

This uneven playing field helps us to understand the topic at the centre of new documentary, Visible Silence. The movie, made by Ruth Gumnit, discusses the fact that Thai society is such that you can be identify however you like, so long as you aren’t out and proud. One choice quote from the movie is “they say to be born a woman is punishment for the sins of a past life. So to be a woman who loves women is punishment for even greater sins” which is harsh to say the least.

The film also looks at the the “tom” (as in tomboy) and “dee” (as in lady) dichotomy within the community. While the concepts of butch and femme are well understood across the globe, in Thailand these identities also come with the idea that dee lesbians will eventually return to traditional (heterosexual) lifestyles and that it’s the toms who are holding them back.

In some parts of the film you see women explaining that they have had dee partners leave them so that they can marry men instead.

Overall, Visible Silence is a good look at the LGBT community in another part of the world. It feels genuine to the community that it’s trying to represent, even featuring LGBT people from different industries and lifestyles (e.g one of the women is a Buddhist nun, while another is an elephant tour guide) so that you get the full picture. It’s only 45 minutes or so long, though, but it makes those few minutes count.

Visible Silence is now airing at film festivals. Visit the film’s official website for more info.

 

Documentary ‘Olya’s Love’ Looks At Lesbians Living in Russia

While it’s not ideal to be an LGBTQ person in any country in the world (homo and transphobia is still prevalent even in places where LGBTQ people have full human rights and protection within the law), in Russia it is particularly difficult. The country recently brought an ‘LGBT propaganda’ bill into law, which prohibits people from discussing pro-LGBT viewpoints in public for the fear of ‘corrupting’ children.

Not only does this law mean that Russia’s LGBT citizens aren’t allowed to put together things such as Pride events, or LGBT rights rallies, but it also leaves them vulnerable for other anti-LGBT persecution. For example, it’s a well documented fact that Russian law enforcement agencies will look the other way when LGBT people (or those perceived as LGBT) are being attacked, or they will even carry out these attacks themselves, asking for bribes to leave them alone.

Olya's Love 02

We hear about these stories in the news; general footage of protests and fights on streets, but it is very rare that we actually see the real effects of Russia’s intolerance. New documentary Olya’s Love wants to change that, as the movie follows dreadlocked Moscow activist Olya as she navigates the homophobic waters.

Some of the film follows Olya and her partner Galiya, with the two having gotten together after Olya had been engaged to a man, having wanted to stick to the norm. In some scenes together they are completely taken with each other and in love (in one particularly sweet moment, we see Galiya adjusting Olya’s dreads) but each is viewed with the realisation that they could be arrested for just being who they are. For example, the other side of Olya’s Love shows a private LGBT meeting being met with an anti-LGBT protest, in which the protestors chant that their identities are unnatural. In others we see violent scuffles erupt; horrifying scenes are activists peacefully walk with rainbow flags in their hands.

Olya’s Love is a short documentary, however, as it’s just over an hour. But in that hour you get a personal look at what it’s like to be LGBT in Russia – minus the politics and the news headlines. It’s just an honest, albeit upsetting depiction of how Russian LGBT life really is.

Olya's Love 01

Olya’s Love has been airing at film festivals but it is also available on Vimeo On Demand.

 

 

Tegan and Sara Talk Fans in New Rolling Stone Documentary

In the new short documentary by Rolling Stone, “Dear Tegan and Sara: Inside The Band’s Bond With Fans,” addresses the evolution of their relationship with their fans: from their early days playing for friends in coffee shops, to their recent mega success sharing the stage with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Macklemore.

We’d hang out all night talking to people. By the time we actually had real fans, that was how we thought you did a show. We created relationships with these people and they told us their stories.”

For 20 years, Tegan and Sara have been forging a unique relationship with their fans. The short video shows rare footage and photographs from the band’s earliest performances, the film also includes the voices of some of their biggest fans, who attest to the group’s profound influence on their lives.

tegan-sara-02

 

As much as we have felt like we never shut up about being gay, we’ve represented hope for a lot of these people because we do get embraced.”

New Documentary “We Exist” Shows What It’s Like to Live Outside the Gender Binary

When you use a public bathroom, when you’re shopping for clothes or even when you choose the place that you go and have your hair done, you are constantly forced to choose between male and female. But what if you’re neither? What if you don’t identify as male or female or what if you feel as though you’re somewhere in between? Society doesn’t always accommodate that identity and for non-binary and gender queer individuals, it can be a headache as they are forced to apply a gender to themselves that just doesn’t fit.

A new documentary called We Exist aims to tackle the gender binary head on, by both raising awareness about the non-binary identity (and what it is, for those who are unaware) and to also explain the challenges faced by non-binary individuals who live in an inherently gendered world.

WeExistDocumentary-05
WeExistDocumentary-02 WeExistDocumentary-03

Creator and executive producer of We Exist, Lauren Lubin explains that:

This film is unique because it is the first of its kind to intimately document the everyday life—as well as the emotional, physical, and mental changes—that non-binary individuals go through while living in a binary world. Up until now, gender has been depicted within society and the media as exclusively as either male or female. This is one of the first films to really break that mold entirely.”

Lubin also says that with shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black discussing trans* identities, it shows that society as a whole is ready to talk about gender and understand that just like sexuality, gender exists on a spectrum – a spectrum that doesn’t just have ‘male’ and ‘female’ at either end, with nothing in the middle.

WeExistDocumentary-06

But in order for society to accommodate non-binary identities, a lot of change will be made, explains Lubin.

In order to institutionalize and integrate a broader gender system across all of society—academia, medicine, legislation, government identification, and so forth—it’s imperative for change and accountability to occur at the top. Until then, it’s up to us individuals to educate, advocate and lobby against the status quo until that happens.”

That change may be some time away, but with documentaries like We Exist, that change will happen sooner rather than later.

LGBTQ Documentary Teaches Young People About Love and Identity

Coming to terms to your identity as a young LGBTQ identified person can often be a difficult thing. Not only is there the fear of what will happen when they come out (about being ostracised from friendship groups and kicked out of their homes by guardians) but there are also many questions about the identities themselves.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of queer representation in general but specifically about young people, there’s a lot that young people (both non-LGBTQ and LGBTQ-identified) do not know and there are also myths about LGBTQ identities that need to be dispelled.

Attempting to educate young people across the board is a new documentary called The Year We Thought About Love. As the title suggests, the documentary is about a Boston LGBTQ youth group called True Colors: OUT Youth Theater. The film follows the troupe as they consider their own loves – be it first loves, present loves or heartbreak – and turn it into a stage production.

year-we-thought-about-love-01

Although the film is directed towards young people (the audiences who watch the play in the film are also middle and high school students), it doesn’t hold back. For example, there’s the story of trans girl of colour Alyssa who explains that she has been thrown out of her home, there’s Chi a religious gay male of colour who is trying to navigate homophobia at home as well as within his church.

These are the stories that the media very rarely shows or dares to tackle and The Year We Thought About Love shows the true face of the LGBTQ community. Not only this but for many people, it may take the voices of these young people to help them truly understand LGBTQ identities and help them dismiss feelings of ignorance towards queer people.

The Year We Thought About Love can be seen at screenings around the United States this April.

Australian Film Maker Challenges The Perception of Same-Sex Parenting

A brand new Australian documentary film is coming soon –  Gayby Baby – which tells the stories of children of same-sex parented families.

Gayby-Baby-01

In Gayby Baby we meet four kids – Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham – whose parents all happen to be gay. As they each wrestle with the onset of puberty, the outside world wrestles with the issue of marriage equality, and whether or not kids of same-sex families are at risk.

Sydney filmmakers Maya Newell and Charlotte McLellan raised $100k to make the film through crowdfunding in 2012.

As the daughter of two mothers, Newell hopes to change the minds of those who believe same-sex parenting is detrimental to children and ultimately her goal is to bring gay marriage to reality. We’re in the midst of what Newell likes to call a ‘Gayby-Boom’ with fifteen percent of homosexual couples raising a child – amounting to millions of children across the globe. The documentary will be told from the perspectives of the three such ‘gaybies’ to see what it’s really like to grow up in such a family.

Gayby-Baby-03

Newell explains

“I am a ‘gayby’ – a person with gay parents. I want to tell the story of children growing up in families like mine. When I was a kid, there were not many other children with gay parents. I would have loved to be able to watch a film and feel that my experiences were shared. So I decided to make that film.”

Maya Newell

The release of Gayby Baby follows Newell’s Growing Up Gayby, a 2013 documentary on the same subject which screened on the ABC in 2013.

The documentary will be having its World Premiere at Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada next month, and we’ll let you know when screenings are happening here.

Gayby-Baby-02

The official website for Gayby Baby will soon be updated with lots more information. See it here.

Laverne Cox Unveils Trailer for Her Upcoming Transgender Documentary on MTV

Laverne Cox has unveiled the first trailer for her new her hour-long documentary exploring transgender issues, which will be a collaboration with MTV.

She says:

“We live in a world where people are often judged for being different, but this is a celebration of those differences – as well as how we’re the same.

We’ll follow the courageous lives of young trans people, from the moment of realisation to dating, family and the often-dangerous obstacles they faced on the path to self-discovery. For many of us, the ‘T’ in LGBT means more than transgender.

It also means truth. The cast members in this documentary are fearlessly living their truths and in sharing their stories will send the message to other trans youth that it’s OK to be who you are.”

Laverne Cox

Cox is the highest profile transgender actress in the US, and recently made history as the first transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy award, though she ultimately lost out to Orange is the New Black co-star Uzo Aduba.

The T Word is set to broadcast on MTV in the US on Friday, October 17. A UK broadcast date is yet to be confirmed.

Cox is also set to appear in the second season of MTV’s lesbian drama Faking It.

‘The Same Difference’ Documentary Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems Within the Lesbian Community

When you’re part of a marginalised group, ‘there’s a high chance of discrimination’ is almost inked in small print at the bottom of the sign-up sheet, as is the nature of the thing.

It’s something we must strive to espouse through legal means (in helping change laws, for example) or perhaps through voicing opinions and changing viewpoints or by helping encourage and foster diversity amongst the exclusionary straight, white, boys club ranks that the patriarchy kindly laid out for each and everyone of us, with homophobic and racist foundations to boot.

But what happens when what you’re up against is far bigger than you imagined? What happens when they problems you face are not just external, but when the very people who identify as you do turn their backs against you for arbitrary reasons that for some reason are marginalising you even more than society already does?

For many within the lesbian community this happens regularly, which is why one filmmaker has put together ‘The Same Difference’, a documentary to help point it out.

Depicted in the above teaser trailer The Same Difference plans to cover what are arguably some of the biggest social challenges (e.g things outside of legal recognition and same-gender marriage) facing the lesbian community today – within themselves.

Borked mindsets suggest that despite already not conforming to the socially accepted norm (‘heteronormativity’) some lesbian identified women feel that it’s their onus to force each other into these norms, as if lesbians are square pegs to be fit into round holes. That’s obviously not the case, but why should a group further alienate or segregate itself on account of discriminatory ideals that the group doesn’t prescribe to in the first place?

The examples of this that The Same Difference provides extend to studs being unable to observe traits such as long hair or dresses that are often reserved for femme lesbians. While it also covers the topic of bisexuals within the lesbian community and why some people just don’t understand that a woman who loves another woman should be welcomed into a group of women-loving-women with lady-loving arms rather than being shunned because their place on the Kinsey Scale isn’t quite where some would like it to be.

The Same Difference is inarguably important then, for the topics it sheds much needed light on and you can find more out about it at the link below.

Gay For Pay

Gay For Pay – A Documentary That Focuses on Straight Men Who Create Gay films For Money

A trailer for Broke Straight Boys’ – a new reality show – was leaked two weeks ago and garnered over 100,000 views on YouTube. In response, the official trailer for the upcoming reality show was released ahead of schedule.

The show focuses on straight men that create explicit gay films and the multi-million dollar company that provides the platform.

Spotlighting the various people involved in this taboo and unconventional lifestyle, the show examines the dynamic relationships between Mark Erickson, owner of Broke Straight Boys, his staff, and the models. As dysfunctional a family as you will ever find, this group of colorful characters will keep viewers mesmerized at every moment.

“There are a lot of people who have a negative view of the entire gay for pay business, but these are grown adults who are capable of making their own decisions. There are plenty of positives that I believe the show will help showcase. We have gotten many guys off the streets.”

Mark Erickson

Many believe it is nothing more than a marketing tactic. Critics argue that these boys are really just conflicted gay men who are packaged to fulfil the “unattainable” straight boy fantasy. The new reality show delves deeply into the subject to answer the question once and for all.

“People don’t believe that we’re straight, but in certain circumstances, a lot of us need the money badly. Sexuality is not the issue. It’s about survival. You’ll do what it takes to provide for your family. It would take me months at a fast food restaurant to make what I do in a weekend.”

Jimmy Johnson

The series, produced by Hot Mess Productions and Loyal Productions, is currently involved in network discussions and will debut later this year.

 

UK Black Community Shines Spotlight on Justice for Jamaican LGBTQ Community

UK Black Pride was proud to join UK Lesbian Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) to stand in solidarity with Jamaican LGBTQ people who are fighting for their right to dignity and justice by co.hosting an event on Friday 13 June.

Almost 50 participants attended a special screening of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Unreported World: Jamaica’s Underground Gays’ at the offices of Wilson Solicitors LLP in London. The documentary sees Team GB Paralympian, Ade Adepitan, interviews Sachaberry and Krissy who movingly expose, in sometimes disturbingly graphic detail, the systemic extent of violence and homophobia against LGBT people in Kingston, Jamaica, as they try to live their lives.

Whilst homosexuality is not illegal, Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws prohibit acts of gross indecency(interpreted as any physical intimacy between men in public or private). Such acts can be punished by 10 years of hard labour in prison and violence against the LGBTQ community is rife.

The UK Black Pride and UKLGIG screening was followed by a panel discussion and fundraising reception with lesbian and gay rights activists and legal professionals

PJ Samuels spoke about the negative role of some popular culture, including dancehall music, artists who promote “murder music” that advocates homophobic prejudice. Samuels also noted the omission of any reference to lesbians in the documentary but made clear that this invisibility did not mean Jamaican lesbian and bisexual women do not suffer.

Vernal Scott, a gay Christian, described his efforts to coordinate a meeting with the Jamaican High Commission in London and gave personal testimony about his experience of growing up with his conservative Christian mother, who was shown in the Unreported World documentary as a church attendee with a megaphone. Scott underlined the key role that conservative interpretation of religions has played to propagate homophobia.

James Stuart of Wilson Solicitors LLP described Britain’s asylum system and stressed the need to raise awareness and funds to help LGBTQ asylum seekers while audience members called on UK Black Pride to raise the issue of Jamaican LGBTQ rights with the Jamaica High Commission and to maintain engagement with Stonewall to lobby the British government for fairer asylum rights for LGBTQ people.

Closing the meeting, UK Black Pride’s Phyll Opoku-Gyimah confirmed that it would make a donation to Dwayne’s House, which gives care and support for homeless LGBT youth in Jamaica and committed to its lobbying by asking people to sign a petition calling on Portia Simpson-Miller, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, to provide safe accommodation for LGBTQ youth fleeing persecution in Jamaica.

Sign the petition here: http://chn.ge/1j5O46U

#polarised: An Inspiring Documentary on LGBTQ Mental Health in London

Polarised is an upcoming powerful and much needed documentary about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke and his contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

Polarised is important because LGBTQ+ mental health needs to be visible.”

Charlie Smoke (23) London

The film will include interviews with members of the LGBTQ community and it’s allies, social commentators as well as candid footage and animation.

Filming will begin in late July, wrapping at the beginning of September. The documentary will be released in autumn 2014.

A crowd-funding campaign is currently underway to raise the £5,000 needed to make the film. This began on April 25th, and will finish on June 24th at 11.59pm. This can be found at indiegogocom/projects/polarised.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 19.39.43

UK Black Pride Demands Justice for Jamaican LGBTs

Yesterday, UK Black Pride (Europe’s largest not-for-profit organisation for African, Asian and Caribbean-heritage lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people), proudly announced a collaborative project with UK Lesbian Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), to show solidarity with Jamaican LGBTs fighting for their dignity and justice in their country.

UK Black Pride and UKLGIG will host a screening of Channel 4’s documentary ‘Unreported World: Jamaica’s Underground Gays’ on Friday 13 June in London. The documentary sees Team GB Paralympian, Ade Adepitan, interviews Sachaberry and Krissy who movingly expose, in sometimes disturbingly graphic detail, the systemic extent of violence and homophobia against LGB and T people in Kingston, Jamaica, as they try to live their lives.

“UK Black Pride’s message of love without borders resonates with our community of Black LGBT people whose families hail from all corners of the world. We must put every social and political pressure that we can muster to demand dignity and respect for our Jamaican sisters and brothers so come out and join us!”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride’s founder and Executive Director

Whilst homosexuality is not illegal on the Caribbean island, Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws prohibit acts of gross indecency (interpreted as any physical intimacy between men in public or private). Such acts are punishable by 10 years of hard labour in prison. This law and hardened social and cultural attitudes mean that violence against the LGBT community is rife.

UK Black Pride is inviting those who have been affected by the issues raised in the documentary, and those who want to learn more about the situation in Jamaica, and those who want to show solidarity with Jamaica’s LGBT community, to join them us at this film screening, which will be followed by a panel discussion and fundraising reception with lesbian and gay rights activists and legal professionals, including: Wayne Simmonds; PJ Samuels; Vernal Scott, Ana Gonzalez and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah.

You can register for your FREE ticket here. You can also show support by signing a petition that calls on Portia Simpson Miller, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, to provide safe and clean accommodation for LGBT youth who are escaping persecution in Jamaica. Sign here: http://chn.ge/1j5O46U


Watch the trailer for ‘Jamaica’s Underground Gays | Unreported World Shorts’

Incendiary Proposition 8 Documentary Out in June

On June 6th HBO will release a new documentary about the bitter struggle to overturn Proposition 8, the law that until last year prohibited gay marriage in California. Directed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner, The Case Against 8 goes behind the scenes of the historic battle between the legal team led by liberal David Boies and that led by conservative Ted Olson.

The president of HBO Documentary Films, Sheila Nevins, is quoted as saying, ‘We feel it’s important to bring the story of the men and women behind this roller-coaster battle to screens across the country, and we’re extremely proud to bring attention to a fundamental civil rights issue that faces the country today.’

The Case Against 8 will have a limited cinematic release in Los Angeles, New York and other American cities in early June before being shown on the HBO channel. The documentary has already won two awards at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: the Directing Award and SXSW Audience Award.

Proposition 8 was introduced in 2008 when 52.24% of the Californian electorate voted to “Eliminate the Rights of Same-Sex Couple to Marry.” Opponents of gay marriage had previously persuaded the state to adopt the similarly-worded Proposition 22. LGBT people all over the US were overjoyed when Proposition 8 was repealed on 26th June 2013. Since then over 50 suits have been brought against similar legislation in other US states. There have been recent calls by LGBT lawyers to legalise same-sex unions across the country.

Boies and Olson, the two main lawyers in the Proposition 8 case, previously opposed each other in the Bush v. Gore case which took place during the controversial 2000 US Presidential Election.