National Coming Out Day commemorates the 1987 march on Washington, D.C. of half a million people supporting lesbian and gay rights. Each year there are hundreds of events planned nationwide around a specific theme. For 2009, the theme is “Coming Out Spiritually”, with a National Equality March scheduled in D.C. for October 10-11. However many in the gay/lesbian community are calling for a move away from national demonstrations toward more local events and interactions.
“In keeping with this year’s theme, the message we hope to send to the Atlanta faith community is that we’d like them to recognize many members of our LGBT community are also quite spiritual, and we don’t want them to abandon us,” explained Jeff Graham, Executive Director for Georgia Equality. “As for our own members, the message is ‘it’s time to stop talking to buildings and start talking to people’. We’ve spent a lot of our political efforts organizing marches and rallies, which have brought our civil rights issues to the forefront for legislators. But we can’t allow ourselves to get caught up only in protesting and not dialoguing with others.”
Georgia Equality is sponsoring the Atlanta screening to provide a local venue to participate and discourse. The screening will take place at the midtown 14th Street Playhouse, beginning at 4:30 pm. Immediately following the ninety minute film, director Ramsdell will use themes from the film to engage panel and audience members in an action dialogue, exploring attitudes and feelings about spirituality, fear, hate, and hope.
“At a time when productive dialogue is so desperately needed, national debate has become diminished to ego-inflated talk shows, town hall screaming matches, and congressional outbursts. As a result, we have a nation sharply divided and expressing hateful sentiments,” stated Ramsdell. “These divisionary behaviors are not only accelerating us down a dangerous path, they are keeping us from the greatest opportunity afforded us as a species – the opportunity to empathize with our fellow man; through dialogue, compassion, and intelligent discourse. The film is a catalyst to facilitate this very process towards understanding.”
Dialogue and community sharing will continue afterwards at a reception hosted by Einstein’s, also in midtown Atlanta, from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.
Reactions to the film from a similar screening, held on June 5th by LCERA in Lapeer, Michigan, included ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’, and ‘intense’. The goal of that event was to facilitate a dialogue between the local homosexual and Christian communities. “Mr. Ramsdell couldn’t have done a better job in helping us bring the devastating issue of hatred with the message of hope to our community. It isn’t an exaggeration to describe this distinguished, preeminent film as stunning.” Stated Gale Crooks, Founding Member of Lapeer Community Equal Rights Alliance.
For a Calendar of more locally scheduled events for National Coming Out Day, visit Project Q.
About Georgia Equality
Georgia Equality is the state’s largest gay and transgender rights organization. Their mission is to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities throughout the state of Georgia. For more information visit: www.GeorgiaEquality.org
About Under The Hood Production
A production company launched in January 2003 in Atlanta, GA by filmmaker Michael Ramsdell to develop and produce thought provoking, independent narrative and documentary films, like “Montclair” and “The Anatomy of Hate”. A native of Flint, Michigan, Ramsdell currently resides in Brighton, Michigan with his wife and children.