After having read Sonia’s post, and while in the process of mourning the end of Execution of Justice, I am reminded of the work I did in Chicago this past summer. For two weeks, I worked on a documentary series called 50 Faggots: How Gay Do You Want To Be Today?
Here is how my friend Randall Jenson, the director of the series, describes 50 Faggots:
“50 Faggots is a new, online documentary series educating, exploring and celebrating how individual effeminate gay men survive and thrive in today’s American queer communities. It uses longitudinal, auto-ethnographic documentary filming and educates audiences with the unprecedented access to the lives and experiences of effeminate male activists, artists, professionals and educators perspectives rarely discussed within most cultures. The series addresses the dearth of self-acceptance among effeminate men, young and old, with humorous anecdotes, important wisdom, and inspiring models of resilience. By offering individual alternatives to dominant constructions of American masculinity and heteronormative gay lifestyles, this film illuminates the on-going issues relevant to queer communities.”
I would say that’s an accurate description.
I found Randall and the series when I stumbled upon a link my drag friend Cyon Flare posted on his Facebook wall. Suddenly, as a sophomore at the end of my wits, I found someone, rather a whole group of men, who were talking about what I wanted to talk about. I was elated to know that there was dialoguing happening between gay men about what it’s REALLY like to be a part of what is so often referred to as “the Gay Community.”
I quickly sent an email to Randy telling him how much I appreciated that the series was in existence. About a month later, I got an email back in appreciation of my interest and Randy and I have been friends ever since.
This is a much longer story than I can post online, but working on the documentary this summer, which meant working and living with Randy, I met a lot of the cast members and I met important people in Randy’s life. I had many challenging conversations, many good, some bad, and found myself in several moments on the verge of tears or in the process of passing out (literally). I’m not kidding when I say it was the best of times and the worst of times. I had to ask myself a lot of important questions in relationship to what being “gay” means to me. Furthermore, I had to ask myself what kind of community am I looking for right now.
I posted the link to the website on top of this post. This is a topic I love to discuss, and I think the first webisode, or even the Season 1 trailer, can be interesting for anyone. Please let me know if you get a chance to look at it!