As you more than likely know, June is Gay Pride Month – what a better time for a new documentary on what it means to be out in America? On Wednesday, June 8th, PBS airs Out in America, Emmy-award winning director Andrew Goldberg’s documentary that offers a comprehensive overview of what it is like to be gay in America as we enter the second decade of the new Millennium. But this is a documentary with a divergent approach to its subject. While Goldberg doesn’t ignore the struggles and hardships the GLBT community has experienced over the years, his primary goal was to present an uplifting portrait through the words of people who know firsthand what it means to be out and proud.
“Out In America” allows out celebrities such as Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Tales of the City writer Armistead Maupin, country singer Chely Wright and humorist Kate Clinton to tell their stories and what it means to not hide their sexuality from their personal and professional lives. However, the piece also features more real life people whose stories are just as impactful and powerful. Included in the documentary are two gay men both named Harold who have been together for nearly 50 years, the organizer of the Capital Queer prom, a drag queen, a West Point graduation and former US Army Captain as well Ruthie and Connie, a lovably charismatic lesbian couple that have also been together for decades.
I talked with Goldberg and participant Kate Clinton about the film and why it remains important to continue talking about all of our coming out stories and not keeping who we are quiet anymore.
Jim Halterman: Watching the documentary I couldn’t help but realize we never really get tired of hearing each other’s coming out stories and what it means to be out. Why is that?
Kate Clinton: I know that whenever we start talking about our coming out stories my young friends all do that eye rolling thing and say ’Here we go again.’ It’s really important, though, because some people think they’re out but they’re not fully out. You gotta say it! A lot of our coming out stories are saying ’I am a lesbian.’ Saying ’I play softball’ doesn’t cut it. And it’s a part of our history and it’s an important part. I believe that it’s still one of the building blocks of our movement. It’s stunning to me to talk to people who have non-discrimination clauses in their workplace but…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE