Fort St. John, Canada
March 14, 2011, 12:59 AM
Thank you for this very informative, tasteful and heart-felt film. I am humbled by the strength, courage and selflessness that CJ was able to find in himself when defending the rights another person, and in doing so exposing himself to the bigotry of his home town. I am a 22 year old gay male who grew up and will be moving back to a “red-neck” town in northern British Columbia. Fort St. John is a small town based on the oil industry and so it has a tendency to attract a rougher more transient crowd. Growing up I never had to deal with harassment of being gay in a rather conservative town… but this is only because I was so great at hiding my true self. I knew that I was gay as young as 12 years old, but never had feelings for another guy until around the age of 15. Using the internet as a way to immerse myself in the homosexual culture I was able to quench that part of myself, without having to reveal myself to my friends, family or community. I can truly appreciate the terror that this young man was subjected to… I may have been lucky in the sense that I was not brutalized, but I became so good at wearing a mask of “who people expected me to be” that I almost lost myself. I have considered suicide before, I even dated a woman for 2 years in an attempt to live the lifestyle that people expected of me… that would be easier. The channels carved through my soul by the sorrow and shame I felt during that time in my life will likely always be a part of myself. I only came out last year, after my younger brother passed away, because I could no longer live a life where I lied to myself and those around me. I hated myself, became depressed and would have rather ended it all… I didn’t. I had spent the last 4 years in Vancouver working on my Pharmacy degree and was fortunate to be in a place where I could find the support necessary to help me through the most difficult time in my life. Now, being in a better place, I know that I am going to use my experiences to be part of the change for a better society. I will go back to Fort St. John, will openly express myself as any other person would, and will be the target for the harassment, the bigotry and the hatred that is founded in the misunderstanding of some people within the community. I will do it all because I am going to be a part of the change that works towards a society where young kids, adolescents and adults that are gay don’t have to live in fear suffering for who they are. Like the quote in the beginning of the film indicated, “if we don’t speak up we will still be afraid, it is better to speak up”. I will share this film with every on that I know. Thank you.
March 14, 2011, 12:58 AM
Bravo! What a beautiful film! I wish ALL the best to you all!!
March 08, 2011, 09:31 AM
When I watched this documentary it really upset me that in today’s society there are still people who don’t accept or understand homosexuality. I’ve never been able to understand why people think that someone would choose a life full of prejudice and hate. I have been very lucky that my friends and family are very accepting and understanding and I am very thankful that I always have their support. However I know there are a lot of places where this is not the case and I think that in this documentary could have opened a lot of people eyes to the suffering and hate many gay teenagers go through growing up. I’m 18 now and I am at university, where everyone seems to be a lot more accepting. However I remember first being outed as gay at school, and the fear I felt as a 15 year old genuinally worried for his life in a place where the word gay was used as a daily insult and sexual orientation was never talked about much. Luckily I was never attacked or seriously bullied because of my sexual orientation as I had a lot of good friends who, at the first sign of any abuse, would act out with me. But I wish it were the same for everyone. I wish they would bring a documentary similar to this out in the UK. I myself would gladly produce something that I know would make a lot of people realise that sexual orientation is not a choice and no one should be made to feel the way CJ and the hundreds of other teenagers are made to feel every day at school. Thank you for making this documentary I just hope it really does help change people.
March 02, 2011, 01:55 AM
This film was part of the Human Rights festival here in Bellingham, WA and I know it will change lives. I grew up in Oil City, right next door to Joe (sister of Kent McFarland). I too attended the Catholic School and I too left as soon as I turned 18. I was lucky to have wonderful parents who raised me to see everyone as a human being, period. Thank you for making this film and telling their stories. I was especially touched by the father from Titusville. His evolution and struggle to accept his son is the real hope for me. Know that your film will impact many.
February 23, 2011, 03:37 AM
I thought this movie was phenomenal. Thank you for producing this. I hope people that watch this will open their eyes to the reality of how this nation is changing. This was a great story, and it made me really mad seeing how many people made such horrible comments to your marriage and to C.J. in school. None of you deserved it, but I can see how that is the reality of small towns in the United States. Many people I have come across that come from small towns are Christians and Republican. It is sad that they can not change their minds. It is important if we ever want to become more equal in this world.
I wish the best for all of you!
February 22, 2011, 11:26 PM
As the mother of a lesbian and fortunate to have many gay friends in Tucson I just returned from seeing the movie at the great Loft Theatre.
It was so awesome that I am really without words. My dgtr. lives in New Brunswick, Canada and I surely hope she gets to see the film somewhere. Thanks so much for coming to T.
February 04, 2011, 10:26 AM
I have been thinking about so many parts of the film and the discussion since seeing it February 2 during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. I am impressed with how you both are using the film as a tool for conversation and education. Random thoughts include how strange it was that the Pastor asked if gays had stereotypes about straight people. Gay people have grown up with straight people, know thousands of straight people, so even though the question was answered by one of the students, “Straights dress badly” the comparison that all people stereotype is disingenuous. I thought the points about how mainstream Christians have allowed other extremist Christians to be the voice for their religion and assert that homosexuality is a sin and gays deserve to die is a valid value and argument. The film is so much stronger by the process you enable.
January 18, 2011, 01:28 AM
Thank you for this film. I will be sharing it with friends.
And to CJ, I have to say thank you for having the courage to come out and also to share your story. I was nowhere near as courageous when I was your age and can not imagine the courage and strength it took for you to stand up. You are truly an inspiration. God Bless you and your amazing mother.
January 10, 2011, 08:50 PM
Thanks for all of your hard work on this. It’s great that you are able to show this in so many places, but there is still much work to be done.
If you get a chance please show it in Somerset County, PA. I feel like I can’t hardly go back there anymore and I heard of someone else that feels the same way. I’m sure there are more people in that area that leave and never return for the same reason.
New Orleans, LA
January 10, 2011, 12:04 AM
What an impressive example of how just a few people can make a huge difference. This conversation that you have contributed to is growing, maybe not as fast as we would like, but there is momentum and I thank you for all the time that you have put into this. This video, along with groups such as the Trevor Project, It Gets Better, HRC, etc. allow young gay people to see that there is support out there. As only being 25, I look to do my part and become involved in the gay community of New Orleans promoting a positive lifestyle of gay and lesbians. One line that really stuck with me was, “what they call an agenda we call our lives.” Well said. Changing one mind at a time means one more person to support the LGBTQ community and understand how the human urge is merely to be accepted and respected for who we are.
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