Western PA (formerly Oil City)
February 02, 2013, 09:19 AM
I grew up in OC, graduating in the early 1980s and had a bad high school experience. I am straight, however since I was small and awkward and did not fit the prevailing view of how masculine a boy should be I was called gay, fag, wimp, you name it, you could say that I was a straight boy who experienced anti-gay bullying. Starting in 7th grade, I was spat upon, pushed into lockers, had my hair pulled and pretty much treated like scum. The trauma was severe for me. As a 12 year old I constantly wondered how I would deal with this and my only comfort was knowing that there was a way out, that a single shot to my head would end this, a path that I am glad that I did not take.
It got much better once I got to the upper grades 10 to 12, but the damage had been done, like that B Springsteen song I felt that I was like a dog beat too much and spending half my life just covering up. I wish anti-bullying was around when i was a kid.
I would not say that I have a positive view of OC, the overall climate was very narrow minded and nasty, however at the same time I would ask not to paint all residents there with the same brush. I am not living there anymore but know that there are some very decent and open minded people there.
I am sorry to hear that others experience this. One of the biggest problems that I have seen in society is that we are not civil to each other and accepting of others differences. I am very sorry if any of you out there are treated like this, and I hope that anyone who is treated like this gets the help that they need to improve the situation.
Vereeniging South Africa
January 08, 2013, 03:37 PM
Wow, wish i had seen this years ago. i’m not ,out and about , like 10 years ago. some people know at work. but not everyone. i mentioned it at church. was the outcast. dont go to church anymore. thank you for this and the effort you made to make a difference. i appreciate.
flower mound, tx
July 09, 2012, 04:40 AM
I just watched the film. I am a 36 year old male and there is not much that can bring me to tears. your film did. I have a gay brother and he is no less of a person because of his sexuality. Actually he is more of a person for being open. He is my brother and there is nothing that will change that. Great work!!
July 06, 2012, 03:27 AM
I just want to say I just finished watching your documentary ‘Out in the Silence’ & it was really touching & a great film to watch. I was really glad that the school finally now has included gay/lesbians in their non-discrimination policy. I also wanted to say CJ & his mom were awesome. So were the couple who re-did the old theater. I hope everyone from the film is doing well & I’m glad you were able to change people’s minds.
Again, a great doc. that was made :]
July 05, 2012, 12:54 AM
Your documentary is the first I have seen that has truly made me realize what I went through as a teen and what I/we go through as an adult. I live in a town similar to Oil City here in Central NC and it kills me how we can be one county away from one of the most liberal cities in the state and still experience hatred and ignorance. However, you have given me the passion to do whatever I can to educate those who do not understand - even after the passing of the marriage amendment last May. I am lucky that I have a long lineage of family members and friends who know and love me for who I am - not what I am. I am also lucky that my partner and I have been together for 11 years today. Our desire is that teens grow up happy with who they are without fear. That they find it within themselves to stand up to the intolerance and when they feel they cannot cope, that they reach out. We are looking into starting a PFLAG chapter in hopes that we can start the process of awareness, understanding and more importantly support. Thanks so much for making such a moving piece of film art.
June 29, 2012, 12:17 AM
I drive through Oil City on my way to visit my grandmother in Warren, and though I’m not a local, I know Oil City and I know Western PA. Born and bred burgher. Black and gold in my blood.
Thank you for trying to make the world a better, kinder, safer place. I will never understand where such hatred stems from and such mean spiritedness. What horrible people those AFA people are. I guess they never learned “Love your neighbor as yourself” or perhaps they just don’t love themselves very much. That seems to be often the sad case for angry people. They’re really just insecure about their own self worth and need to hate on others to feel better about themselves.
I think next time I go to visit my grandmother, I’ll stop by the Latonia instead of just drive on past. Maybe I’ll even make the trip sometime for one of their events. Good things should be supported and encouraged, and anything that creates a better world for my toddler to grow up in, is good by me.
February 26, 2012, 04:04 PM
I am the mother of a gay son whom I love to the depths of my being. The struggles he faced in our small town drove him away after high school which meant leaving his home here with us.
He is much happier where he now resides but we are still left behind here trying to make changes in our small town by being proud of our son and speaking up for our children.
Thank you for the movie as it inspired me to be even more vocal in the hopes that I can help another child in this same situation.
Bronx New York
June 25, 2011, 08:12 PM
I just watched “Out in the Silence” on PBS, and i thought it was amazing!! It is so shocking to me that in 2011 we cannot get “our shit together” as a planet and unite to destroy prejudice. I enjoyed the film immensely.
Passaic, New Jersey
June 25, 2011, 04:42 AM
Dear Joseph and Dean,
I just finished watching your documentary of the struggle with the discrimination against gay and lesbians in Oil City. I am a 20 year old hispanic gay man and I would like to thank you for doing what you are doing! You have been not only an inspiration to me and thousands of others about not hiding and pretending to be someone else. As a growing teenager I have also had the same exact trouble as CJ Springer, with all the teacher looking the other way when other teens ganged up on me. Administrators ignoring every single complaint and worry of my mother and mothers of other gay teens who attended the school and were constantly harassed and beaten! Just two months ago a very dear friend of mine was ganged up on and fatally beaten to death and unfortunately died on his birthday because he was gay. So unfortunately instead of celebrating his birthday like we did every single year I and many of his dear friends and family members had to go to the funeral home to his wake. Again, I was deeply moved by your documentary and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what you are doing! Hope you luck in all your journeys and marriage.
St. George, Utah
June 12, 2011, 04:06 AM
To the mother, Kathy, I just want to say that seeing you brought me to tears with how you supported your son. You remind me a lot of my own mother who has stood at my side from the moment I came out to her, when I started a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at my high school, and who has driven across the state and back, helping me make this state a more tolerant and accepting place to live. I commend you for your courage and thank you so much for standing up and speaking out for your amazingly courageous son. To CJ, never give up your fight. You have no idea how many people you have touched with your story, and how much change will come as a result of it. Stay strong. You’re an amazing person and I am so honored to have been able to watch this DVD. Keep changing the world.
“A small body of determined spirits fired by the unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history” - Gandhi
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