Tonight: Montana PBS to Air Inlaws & Outlaws!

Some good news for Montana- Inlaws and Outlaws will be screened on Montana PBS tonight.

inlawsFrom the director, Drew Emery:

Montana friends!
Set your DVRs for Sunday night 6/9 10:30 pm: your local PBS station is airing our marriage documentary Inlaws & Outlaws — along with our story update: Just Marriage.

If you believe in love… and equality, please do pass on the word to friends & family!

Drew was in Montana last year, sharing the film with audiences in Helena and Bozeman. It’s an opportunity to see what love looks like up close.

Grab your peeps and watch this- it’s amazing.

Building Courage

I came out approximately 5 years ago.

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time, I was terrified. I assumed that I would never speak to my family again, lose my friends, move far away and start a new life.

Now, that just seems silly. I told one of my sisters first, and word got around either by me or through the grapevine. The majority of my friends stayed true to me. Those that did not,  quietly removed themselves from my life. Although, to be fair, I didn’t exactly give some people the chance to tell me what they really felt, and for that I feel regret. I should have given them the chance to give me a chance. 

I was selfish, scared, immature and irresponsible to a degree. I didn’t know what to do with myself once I had finally conquered my biggest fear. Life became beautiful, wonderful and… chaotic at best. Eventually, I straightened it out, grew up and moved on. I have amazing family, awesome friends, and great jobs. Something struck me today at a new job I recently took.

I was talking to a coworker I hardly know. I just met her, we are both new, and I have no idea what her beliefs or political standings are. I related my relationship to hers, talked with other LGBT employees about the drag shows, etc. I openly mentioned my partner in my interview, and as the last few weeks of training have progressed there has been no hesitation in relating my life and experiences to others. And I wasn’t even thinking twice about it. Even when I taked to a sweet little lady about the election of a new Pope, I never assumed she was anti-LGBT inclusion. I just saw that she was sweet, polite and happy about the selection that had been made. It made me smile.

There used to be such fear and discomfort. Always worried about how someone might react to my orientation, my life, my partner… But now, I just don’t even think about it.

And no one reacts innapropriately. THAT, my friends, is so beautiful. And I owe it to all of you that have supported me, given me opportunities and chances, friendship and love. I hope and pray that every young person, regardless of what struggle they have, will find those people in life so that they may reach full potential.

I smile so much these days. I laugh, dance, sing, and love. Not like before, when it was gaurded, insecure and sometimes forced. Now it is genuine, bright and glowing like a Montana summer day.

We all make a difference in the lives around us. Let’s make sure it’s a positive difference.

Just Marriage

I’m really proud of my dear friend Drew Emery and his film. His passion and vision were priceless in the approval of this measure to legalize Marriage Equality in Washington State- and all around the country. From him and our friends at The True Stories Project:

We can think of no better way to celebrate this amazing day than by releasing our latest video: Just Marriage: from Outlaws to Inlaws.

For a long time, our audiences have been asking for an update on the lives of our storytellers. When we we were invited to bring Inlaws & Outlaws to public television, we decided this was the perfect time to do just that.

So enjoy. And as you reflect on how far we’ve all come these past eight years, give a moment of thanks to the thousands of people from all walks of lives who set the ball rolling but stepping up and telling their stories.

Note: If you haven’t yet seen Inlaws & Outlaws, be warned; this update is chockfull of spoilers!

Help Inlaws & Outlaws Make It To Public TV!

One of the best (and most elegant) pieces of human understanding and compassion is Drew Emery’s film Inlaws & Outlaws. I’ve written about the Montana screenings we had this past spring and the fantastic impact it had on the audiences that gathered in Helena and Bozeman. It’s an amazing piece of work.

Now, this little gem has a chance for public distribution- and a better tool for compassion and understanding of gay relationships (and all relationships in my opinion) would be hard to find.

If everybody in America saw this film, opposition to marriage equality would melt away like a bad mood in a room full of puppies.

From the True Stories Project:

We’ve got terrific news! The National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) has offered to distribute a full presentation of Inlaws & Outlaws on public television! That means that, if we act quickly, the film will be made available to virtually all public television stations in the US this Fall – including over 350+ PBS affiliates!

This is huge!

Public TV reaches over 117 million viewers a week. If we slice off even a modest amount of that, we’ll bring Inlaws & Outlaws to a much, much larger audience than it’s ever had. Just as same-sex marriage has finally arrived centerstage with President Obama’s support, we have the opportunity to reach millions of households with true stories we know change hearts & minds.

But to meet our deadline, we need your help — and we need it now.

We need our first $50,000 in underwriting by the end of September. Your support will pay for vital post-production for broadcast, closed captioning, station relations and more. Can you help?

You betcha. I’m in. Anybody else?

Donate here.

Share Your Story- Montana LGBT Couples Needed

SHARE YOUR STORY 

The ACLU of MT needs your help to
make domestic partnerships a reality in Montana!

Real families with real stories

will help us convince the public that same-sex couples need

equal protection to safeguard our families in times of crisis. 

For more information

read the ACLU memo below

or write to

ACLU of Montana LGBT Advocacy Coordinator Ninia Baehr at niniab@aclumontana.org.

English: No Homophobia logo

English: No Homophobia logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Montana, the state government offers legal protections to couples and families that help them care for one another. Right now, these protections are only available to couples who get married. This means that opposite-sex couples are eligible for the safeguards offered by the state, because they are able to marry. But loving, committed couples of the same sex are left without the protections they need to care for one another in times of crisis, and that’s not fair.

The Montana Constitution guarantees fair and equal treatment to all people. That’s why the ACLU of Montana is suing on behalf of same-sex couples who have been denied the ability to take care of each other and their families. In the lawsuit Donaldson and Guggenheim v. Montana, the plaintiffs are asking the state to create a domestic partnership registry that would grant them access to the safeguards that are currently only available through marriage. Here are a few of the ways the plaintiffs have been discriminated against:

  • Mary Leslie of Bozeman lost her home because she was ineligible for worker’s compensation death benefits when her partner was killed in an accident.
  • Denise Boettcher of Laurel was denied bereavement leave when her partner Kellie Gibson’s father died.
  • When Mary Anne Guggenheim of Helena had a hip replacement, a health care provider would not speak to her long-time partner Jan Donaldson without a release.

Lawsuits like Donaldson and Guggenheim are important, but to win lasting fairness for gay and lesbian couples we need to convince not only the courts but also the general public that Montanans need domestic partnerships. Our public education campaign, Fair is Fair, highlights the real stories of real people who have been denied equal protection. We are looking for same-sex couples who are willing to share their stories about how they have been denied basic protections afforded to other families. We are especially interested in hearing from couples who have been denied one of the following rights:

 The right to make medical decisions for their partner if s/he is incapable of doing so

 Inheritance rights or the right to determine burial arrangements

 The right to family medical or bereavement leave

 Priority to become the court-appointed guardian for an incapacitated partner

Have you had experiences like these?

If so, please e-mail me at niniab@aclumontana.org or call (406) 579- 8884. ACLU staff will listen and talk with you to explore whether your story might be a good fit with the Fair is Fair campaign. We will keep your information confidential unless and until you feel comfortable telling your story publicly. For more information about the Fair is Fair campaign go to www.fairisfairmontana.org. And please do pass this on if you know a couple who might be interested. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard!

Baucus Endorses Marriage Equality

Say what you will about Max Baucus- and we have- but this gives me a moment of pride:

Fair is fair: he hasn’t always done what I would have liked (and it might take something much more major to get me over the healthcare debacle) but mad props for being the first elected statewide Montana official to stand for marriage equality. Thanks, Max. Click the link above to follow his Twitter feed.

Now for a Pride Present, I’d like to hear the other statewide elected officials following suit.

Hell, better yet, I want to see them in the parade this Saturday.

They’ve all been invited.

Update: Reader Karl Olson reminded us that “Pretty sure Justice Nelson came first, however, and by several years, and more openly. Nelson proved you could get a statewide vote with an unwavering pro-equality stance. Its history, but still relevant in the current fervor.”

Related articles

MT Dems: Marriage Equality Is A Right

Breaking news this morning- From Twitter: “the Montana Democrat delegates unanimously voted to approve a platform amendment supporting full equality for gays and lesbians”

Formal recognition that marriage equality is such an non-issue for most Montanans that this just makes sense.

Bravo.

Helena Screening Tonight!

Don’t forget- tonight Inlaws and Outlaws will be screened at Plymouth Congregational Church at 7pm! Filmmaker Drew Emery will be introducing the film and staying around after for a Q&A. Copies of the film will also be available for purchase.

What do you get when you fall in love?

Inlaws & Outlaws cleverly weaves together the true stories of couples and singles— both gay and straight — and all into a collective narrative that is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

At the top of the film, you meet real people one on one. You don’t know who’s gay or straight or who’s with whom. As their stories unfold and stereotypes fall by the wayside, you won’t care because you’ll be rooting for everybody. With candor, good humor, great music and real heart, Inlaws & Outlaws gets past all the rhetoric to embrace what we have in common:

We love.

HIV In Montana: It’s Not Classified

One of two new Montana public service message targeting men who have sex with men- check back tomorrow for the second:

This short point of view video targeting Montana’s MSM population looks at the Classified Personal ads and points out some HIV facts that should not be classified and offers some excellent reasons to get tested (checked) for HIV. It also directs viewers to getcheckedmt.org , a resource to find the nearest HIV testing location in Montana.

This creative project was created by Laura Dybdal and Jason Gutzmer as part of Montana’s HIV Social Marketing Campaign.

Related articles

Positive and Partners Retreat

This weekend, Ken and I will be attending our third Rising Hope Retreat for HIV+ persons and their “partners” (widely interpreted as caregivers, sibling, parent, husband, wife, best friend, son, daughter, etc). To my knowledge, no other state does such a thing, and that’s too bad. It’s an incredible experience of witnessing relationships, gay and straight, and sharing the struggle to create and maintain relationships with other human beings in the face of HIV.

Ken and I are a sero-discordant couple: I’m Positive and he’s Not. Many of the HIV-related functions/causes we attend don’t recognize or even ask the question. In fact, Ken has said “I think people just assume I’m positive. That’s okay.”

Except that it’s not.

Recognition that HIV doesn’t have to be spread in a relationship is important. In fact, it’s probably one of the best sources of inspiration for others to have sex safely and responsibly; to create and maintain relationships that are life-giving and fulfilling despite serious issues, possible consequences and obstacles- not to mention HIV.

It can be done. It is being done. And Montana’s in the forefront of recognizing that. Who knew?