Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Coming Out" NY Times Video Series

I discovered that the New York Times website has a video series called "Coming Out" with interesting short personal videos about different members of the LGBT community and their stories.

I was particularly interested in this one about  Larry Kramer, a gay rights activist who founded Act Up and wrote the play "The Normal Heart" about the AIDS epidemic of the 80's. It is interesting to see how though he has accomplished so much for the gay community, he seems pessimistic about the amount of change made by the community, which he feels is low. He shares that people "still haven't come to terms with [AIDS] as a unifying force for us." He seeks to normalize the image of gay sex, especially in mainstream cinema. He expresses that he is furious at some other gay men for "not fighting harder against the mysterious disease that became known as AIDS." One of the main avenues in which he believes gay people should be succeeding more in is political power.

In the collection, a video showed a couple who faced a hate crime recently in New York City in which the couple, two men holding hands, was viciously beaten in broad daylight. The video reported that hate crimes against LGBT folks in NYC have increased 70% this year. One of the men echoed the sentiments of Larry Kramer, saying that the fight is not over with marriage equality in NY. "It's never been about that," he says.

Another video shone a spotlight on the recent marriage of Billy and Lewis, who have been together for 46 years. While Lewis was deployed in Vietnam, they would write letters to one another, inverting genders so that the homosexual nature of their relationship wouldn't be discovered.

Other highlights include: same sex couples reflecting on how Prop 8 has affected their relationships, the complex realities of same-sex family structures ("sperm and egg mixers") and Michael Sam reflecting on his experience being labeled as "Michael Sam: Gay Football Player."

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