Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"State of Pride": a young "conservative" midwestern gay man learns about different values among LGBTQ+ as he visits Pride events in four cities

State of Pride” (2019), directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, from YouTube Originals and Telling Pictures (71 minutes, 2019), presents (small town) Ohio-born Raymond Braun as an athletic, “masculine” gay man visiting pride in Washington DC, Tuscaloosa AL, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City, and encountering LGBTQ+ people very different from him.  The events seem to come from 2018.

Braun says he outgrew his “sassiness” and became a mainstream-valued and athletic young adult man, but “still” gay. He wrote his mother a 16-page letter coming out and was reassured by her response, before he went on the tour to make the film. 

In Tuscaloosa, he met the trans community, and especially POC and underprivileged. He learned about systematic violence against that community, and noted the cultural separation from white gay men, including racial problems in the deep south.  He is told that trans pride should be part of the regular pride weekend, and is often viewed as a “protest” rather than pride.

In San Francisco, he meets a young man who had fled Syria through Lebanon.  It was not clear whether he was a refugee or asylum seeker (or whether he was Christian or Muslim, as religion was immaterial).
He also met a young man who had been a gymnast but broken his neck in an accident in 2013. He was now in a wheel chair but had regained some leg use.  He didn’t even realize he was paralyzed for a few moments after trying to get up. He was also Mormon, and had done an LDS mission, and was familiar with the LDS member forced support of Prop 8 a few years before,  Braun accompanies him to a pride march in Salt Lake, where he meets and has dinner with the Mormon family.
This little film has quite a narrative, matching some of the larger films around.

The film is offered for free viewing.  It would seem that YouTube (given the current controversy) could help content creators by offering some films for rent ($3.99) from documentary or news creators affected by current issues.

Picture: Tuscaloosa, May 2014, my visit, in area leveled by 2011 tornado 

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