The Rainbow center screened the a documentary called “The Out List” about celebrities who have come out publicly as LGBTQ as part of its rainbow cinema series Thursday evening.
The film was a series of interviews sharing the stories and experiences of coming out as LGBTQ, but also a glimpse into the lives of these activists who have been demanding equal rights and combatting AIDS, like playwright Larry Kramer.
The film had several individual stories from some of the most notable people in society today, such as Wanda Sykes, Ellen Degeneres and Neil Patrick Harris. In addition there were also people less known in the public eye such as Lupe Valdez, a sheriff in Dallas, TX., who is a lesbian, Rene Clarke Cooper, the executive director of log cabin republicans and is gay and Wazina Zondon, a teacher in an undisclosed middle school who is queer and a naturalized citizen of Afghanistan.
Each story was a different perspective and when put together in documentary format, presented a narrative comprised of many walks of life and cultures that there LGBTQ individuals come from and the array of struggles they face.
Following the screening there was an engaged discussion about the documentary. The group was asked if there was a message for the youth to take away. Almost every person spoke and shared their thoughts on the film, what it did right and wrong and the application to current social issues.
“In this film it showed spirituality as a justification of gender and sexual identity as opposed to what was previously believed that spirituality could not coincide with sexuality and gender,” said Samantha Janot, a first year undecided.
One story in particular was that of Wade Davis, a former football player in the NFL. In his interview he explained that he lied to his fellow players for years, not coming out until after he retired from playing. Davis was so conflicted that he went as far as referring to his boyfriend as Stephanie when on the phone in the locker room fearing that he would be removed from the league for being gay.
He struggled with the stigma that homosexuals were always perceived as effeminate and that he did not fit that mold. Although, he still did not fit a heterosexual mold and ultimately leading to a feeling of further alienation. Davis came to the UConn last semester and spoke at the True Colors conference.
“What really stuck out to me was the issue with intersectionality. Wade Davis said in the documentary that he was being told that he could not be black and a homosexual because it was another thing that is going to be pressing on you. These people were being told this, not out of hate but out of fear because they obviously care about their kids,” said Anastasia Martineau, a first year psychology major.