Entertainment » Movies

State of Pride

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Oct 10, 2019
'State of Pride'
'State of Pride'  

When queer Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedmann were commissioned by YouTube Originals to make a  documentary to mark the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, they chose Raymond Braun, a young LGBT YouTube star, to front the project. Braun, once recognized on Forbes' 30 under 30, was born 21 years after the riots, but has a pitch-perfect sensibility about the current "State of Pride," and so he was the ideal candidate to investigate how the LGBT community of today, especially its youth, now perceive the relevance and significance of Pride.

Braun traveled across the country visiting cities that have held Pride marches and festivals for decades, such as San Francisco and Washington, but also cities and towns where homophobia is still rife. The latter ones were particularly heartwarming; seeing communities very cautiously coming together and getting excited at any small success in organizing their first Pride celebrations. It all seemed light years away from the extravagant celebrations we have long taken for granted in the likes of San Francisco, and at the end of the film, it certainly made us appreciate them all even more.  

Braun is an adept interviewer, and on top of that his natural charm not only relaxes some of the first-time Pride participants, but has them eating out of his hand - none more so than handsome Carter, who has been wheelchair-bound since he broke his neck, and who shares his inspirational story about coming out as gay to his traditional Mormon family in Salt Lake City. Carter won his family over, as he also does even quicker with the audience. All of his family participate in their first Pride in Salt Lake City (which naturally had more religious fanatics objecting than usual) was definitely a wonderful highlight of the film. 

Where a black trans woman telling us about a man who followed her home to possibly kill her fills us with horror, seeing Carter's family gives us all hope that some things are getting better, in some places, for our community.

This refreshing look at the relevance of Pride today was perfectly summed up by Braun himself. He opines that even if there comes a time when we achieve all the equal rights we are still fighting for, then we should still have Pride. It is, after all, a marvelous celebration of our community - and we need to always remember the journey it took.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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