Before we begin, I just want you to watch this video. Watch it in full and take it all in and don’t open it and then check your email and then go back to it and then mute it and make a phone call. Watch this video.
Your first thought should be oh my gosh I am crying these beautiful tears of joy and enthusiasm. Ryan James Yezak, the filmmaker / Gay Man With A Film Plan, is trying to make a documentary about you, after all. It is totally normal to feel deeply moved right now. Plus, did you catch those clips of Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Charlize Theron, and various woman news anchors? “Second Class Citizens” is telling a story about the gay rights movement – and it seems like ladies inclined to do other ladies appear to actually be a part of it.
The film’s purpose, though, goes beyond simply telling or teaching lessons about gay rights and being gay. In fact, the entire project is meant to inspire further movement toward equality, since nothing seems to be stopping the stubborn homophobes we are forced to fraternize with and around:
The general population is not aware that discrimination against the gay community goes beyond marriage & bullying. There is far too much hate directed towards our community and I want to capture that hate on camera. In addition, I want to explore where this hate comes from, why it continues to exist, and what we must do to get rid of it. A better solution is needed because the solution we have right now isn’t working fast enough.
Yezak is hoping to cover a broad range of issues related to discrimination against the gays: marriage, adoption, education, private organizations and religion, employment, giving blood and marrow and semen, bullying, housing and homelessness, and the “gay panic defense.” He is also totally enthusiastic and totally overwhelmingly excited to make one of the most profound movies about gay people in our time:
The idea for this documentary was born when I first learned that California’s Proposition 8 had passed, defining marriage only between a man & woman in that state. I was angry & I wanted to do something about it. As time went by, I learned more & more about the inequalities that exist for gays, lesbians, & bisexuals in this country. I made a friend on YouTube who revealed to me that he would be expelled from his school if they found out he was gay. I did not believe him – in what kind of reality could something like that be true? It is true. Shortly after that, a string of natural disasters occurred & my boss asked me if I wanted to donate blood with her. I immediately got up to go with her & then stopped abruptly realizing that I couldn’t donate blood. She did not believe me, nor did she understand why. I felt like a different species. I did not feel one with the human race in that moment. That was the moment it had a direct effect on me & my rights – that is when I decided to make this documentary.
If words aren’t enough to prove his spirit, you can also watch this video which varies entirely in tone from the above trailer to see how excited he is:
Hopefully by now, you’ve finished crying. Especially because you must admit that all those clips of dancing gay men just cheered you up. But there is certainly room here now for a knee-jerk reaction of oh my gosh what if this isn’t about me, because the filmmaker is a cis white dude and so are many of the people in his trailer. Plus, the “T” in LGBTQ appears to be mysteriously and awkwardly absent from this documentary, despite how integral, oh, I don’t know, the Stonewall Riots and other trans-led and trans-inclusive movements were in creating a gay or queer movement in the first place.
The power of one artist to tell a story, however, is often limited to their own lives and experiences. And despite the imperfections of this project, I want you to sit back and relish the idea that soon an entire movie will exist that somewhat chronicles gay history for everyone else on this planet and makes the equality of gay people seem not only important, but imperative. And that will always be a good thing, even if it is only a small step towards the best things.
I don’t have to urge you to give, because Yezak’s Kickstarter goal has been exceeded, to say the least: he has 48 days to go and has already doubled his target amount in donations. But you can show support on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you follow the movie to its eventual release. You’re going to want a copy, after all.