I know that statement is true for me because in 1993 I saw a documentary film that changed how I thought about love and life. The movie was Silverlake Life, and it documented the relationship of two gay men, Tom Joslin and his partner Mark Massey, as they both struggle to deal with AIDS. I was so moved by their relationship and their genuine love and care for one another. I had never considered same sex relationships in the past, and as I cried and wept openly through this movie, I recognized that it makes no difference what the gender of the person you love is. I am sure up to that moment I had never considered the possibility of the same sex love and devotion and caring that I saw in this amazing documentary. I was a completely straight man; having been married before and married again and having had many children, I had just never seen love from that perspective before. It forever changed the way I saw what real love looks like.
Cinema is an amazing way to tell stories, whether they’re love stories, comedies, dramas, or Westerns. 2005’s Brokeback Mountain tells the story of a complex romantic relationship between two American cowboys. It has been regarded as a significant moment in cinema for bringing queer cinema to a mainstream audience.
Film has a way of reflecting what the public sees as a norm. And even though throughout all time and eternity people across the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender presentation have existed, the gay experience is finally being accepted, in the U.S. at least, as a very normal human experience, and film and media have a lot to do with that.
I would argue that some of these wonderful movies, and countless others, have moved the needle of our understanding of relationships in a way that paved the way for same sex marriage. They normalized the human experience, the gay experience. And made it possible for people to realize just as I realized in 1993 that love is love, and we all have the right to experience that love and give that love in a way that speaks to us.
The right to be gay is just recently become normalized in our society. The rights to be trans however, are being fiercely squashed by many powerful voices in this country. Just as there have always been gay people in our world, there have always been trans people in our world. Our experiences are just as valid and real as anyone else.
So many great movies have told that story. Boy Meets Girl from 2014, The Danish Girl from 2015, Soldier’s Girl from 2003, and so many more.
So, keep telling our stories! We need them
Diane is both cast and crew of The Gayly Dose, an Atlanta-based podcast that elicits vulnerable and honest dialogue about everyday and taboo topics that LGBTQ+ people aren’t having with each other … but should. Diane co-hosts “Hues for Humanity,” a segment with TGD founder Helmut Domagalski. Purposefully candid and brutally honest, the cast speaks on a range of topics, including gender norms, monogamy, body issues, coming out, dating apps, lesbian breakups, and growing up gay in the church. Listen at thegaylydose.com.