Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns, who drew national media attention when his story of surviving bullying went viral, is headed to Atlanta later this month to support “Breaking Through,” a project from local filmmaker Cindy Abel.
Burns will be on hand for a Sept. 27 fundraiser for the film, which tells the personal stories of openly gay elected officials around the country. Details of the event are TBA.
“Joel is coming because he knows ‘Breaking Through’ will bring hope: to teens who, like he once did, are wondering if life will have purpose and [if they should] commit suicide, and to adults, who conclude their career choices will be limited if they’re openly gay,” Abel said in an email announcing the fundraiser.
Funds raised will help pay for the completion of “Breaking Through,” which Abel said has completed interviews and is slated to be finished in October. You can learn more about the film at its website.
“The movie is about breaking through barriers to live happy, passionate, fulfilled lives. The prism, or the lens, through which we’re looking is openly LGBT elected officials — it could be any group of people but this just happens to be a group I am so inspired by,” Abel told GA Voice in an interview about the film last year.
“What we really want to do is show you can be anything you aspire to be.”
The film has a national scope but deep roots in Atlanta. In addition to Abel as director, producer and writer, Atlanta gay political advocate (and recent Georgia House candidate) Ken Britt serves as executive producer and Barbara Rubin is producer.
The film features Georgia’s own lesbian state Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) and gay Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan, along with LGBT officials from around the country including U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
You can check out Joel Burn’s moving testimony about anti-gay bullying in this YouTube video, which has garnered almost 2.8 million hits:
The Sept. 27 event is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at a private home in Midtown. It features appetizers by Radial and cocktails by Diageo. The suggested minimum donation is $100. There is also a private dinner with Burns set for the night before; it has a maximum of 10 guests and requests a $500 donation. For locations and other details on the events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-247-6716.
Top photo: Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns (via YouTube)