Two Spirits: Coming To Montana PBS

Two Spirits, a film by Lydia Nibley, is coming to PBS this Sunday, June 12th at 10:30 pm through the program Independent Lens– and I want to encourage you to watch it.

It is an amazing film which “interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female- and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders.”

I’ve talked about this remarkable film before. My friend and collaborator Gregory Hinton gave an excellent introduction to the film when it was screened at the Autry as part of our Out West series last summer. Part of his memorable remarks were these:

The city and the country have a lot to catch up on.  We have much to teach each other. To protect our rural kids, and our rural elders, our community must be visible, like a porch light streaming into the western night sky.

And now, to Lydia and Russell, the filmmakers of Two Spirits, thank you for your advocacy by flipping on the switch.

Two Spirits is the story of Fred Martinez, a Navajo boy who was also a girl. It is also the story of Pauline Mitchell, the mother who loved him, who prayed every night for his safe return.

It speaks to the prescience of the Navajo culture.  Imagine a time where Two Spirit children were adored, their talents cultivated, their spirits revered.

The World Premiere of Two Spirits was sponsored by the Matthew Shepard Foundation in Denver.  I recently told Judy Shepard that in addition to experiencing bias as a gay man, I have also experienced bias as a rural westerner. I asked her if Matt loved Wyoming. Judy told me he stayed in Laramie because it was home and he loved the out of doors.

The love of mothers and courage of sons astonishes.

Stay home if you want. Be who you are. This is the mission of Out West.

Check your local listings here, and watch the trailer below:

Gregory Hinton on “Home Ground”

My dear friend and Out West Executive Producer, Gregory Hinton did a radio interview with Brian Kahn on Home Ground for Yellowstone Public Radio recently.

He talks about growing up in the American West as a gay man, expressing articulately and beautifully many of the struggles that we all share. He also speaks to the need for greater understanding of the gifts and stories that LGBT persons bring to our life here.

Listen to the program. (29 mins)

In Memoriam

Off To The Rodeo Again

If you read my previous post, Off To The Rodeo, you read about the work of Out West, and, hopefully, you saw the amazing images of gay rodeo photographed by Blake Little by clicking on the link.

If you didn’t quite get to the photos, Blake has given me permission to post one of those fantastic photos on From Eternity To Here. They’re a powerful reminder of the long history of gay men in the West living life the way they want- as cowboys!  Enjoy!

Chute-Dogging by Blake Little

(click on image to enlarge)

Off To The Rodeo…

From my dear friend and collaborator Gregory Hinton, a letter about LGBT history and Gay Rodeo:

Dear Friends of Out West:

In my digging though gay western history at the One LGBT Archives at USC, I discovered several gay rodeo photographs by Los Angeles photographer Blake Little in a 1990 glossy gay mag. I was moved by them because reflected back to me were several handsome bull riders and chute doggers I had known who passed away in the next few years. Blake photographed me for POZ Magazine in 1996 after IMP.

I contacted him several months ago. In addition to being beautiful, Blake’s rodeos photos are historical documents. He is also an excellent rodeo photographer.

After my call, he pulled together this collection which he’d put away all these years. We went through many of them together.

He has hundreds of photos and a great personal rodeo narrative. He was 1990 IGRA Bull Riding Champion of the year. I’m working on getting him an exhibit and a book!

Gay Rodeo is wonderful option for rural gay men and women to stay in touch with their country roots. These photographs say it all. This is why I am devoted to the mission of Out West, which seeks to illuminate the positive contributions of the LGBT community to the history and culture of the American West.

On behalf of Out West, I am indebted to Blake for sharing this wonderful body of work. Please visit his website. If you have personal memories of Gay Rodeo, Blake has provided an opportunity to blog.

Gregory Hinton

Creator and Producer of Out West: LGBT Stories of the American West

Check these images out, they’re pretty cool!