Thursday, January 22, 2009

Impressions on Straightlaced

PFLAG members in California attended the premier of a new educational film Straightlaced- How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up. We all know that our society holds strict notions about what it is to be male and female and how that relates to identity, expression and sexual orientation. Hearing how those constraints, messages, and beliefs effect students from very different communities is the foundation of this new release by our friends at Groundspark who have given us It’s Elementary, It’s Still Elementary, That’s a Family and Let’s Get Real.

Sandy Mackovich, San Francisco PFLAG's Publicity Coordinator shared some of her impressions of the experience.

“We were collectively in awe of these teenagers, they showed remarkable courage. They were true and honest about their feelings which weren’t always easy to hear but it provided them a safe place to openly talk. There was one young man in particular, who is an Eagle Scout, something that is very important to him. He came out in the film and risks the chance of losing his Eagle Scout status. There was a collective gasp in the auditorium when he spoke on the film. It was clear we were all floored by his bravery.”

She went on to say, "I have been a member of PFLAG for 10+ years and I learned a lot from these kids in Straightlaced. It was the perfect reminder that showing support, offering a gentle non-confrontational comment and leading by example can get others to change their minds. It was just what I needed to re-ground myself after the devastating loss of "NO on Prop 8," here in California. I have been extremely angry for the last couple of months, yet listening to these kids reminded me that I need to continue being respectful of others, even those that differ.”

Sandy concluded by saying, “I walked away completely inspired by these kids and excited about the opportunity for our youth if this is presented around the country and used as a discussion topic.”

We also heard from PFLAG National summer intern Christine Holcomb who attended the showing and reminds us that whether we are students looking for a forum to address these issues or adults who can provide the opportunity for such discussions, Straightlaced is a great teaching tool. See Christine’s essay here.

- Suzanne Greenfield

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