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STATE OF PRIDE will premiere on YouTube during this PRIDE Season with Human Rights Activist Raymond Braun

May 30, 2019

ATM: What do you believe PRIDE means to the younger generations now?

RB: PRIDE is the connection between people and is rooted throughout history. PRIDE has been paving the way for equality and injustices for decades, while creating a conversation about the LGBTQ community. As you see in STATE OF PRIDE, different cities all have a unique way to celebrate PRIDE, from Time Square to Alabama. In the past,  there were too few conversations about the LGBTQ community. PRIDE forces a conversation. You can have this rainbow flag and gather around to talk about it.

ATM: The message that this event touches on is important in this world and America’s culture. For more people to understand it despite your religion, it should be a course that is taught in the education system. It should go back to when the movement first started so people can understand. They should not go on based on stereotypes. Most people believe you have to be a part of this community to support it when this is totally not the case. There are people who are not of the particular cultures that still support the culture.

RB: I love what you said about it being a part of our country’s history. I would be so honored if after watching the film it allowed people to look more into LGBTQ history. I was in the closet for the majority of high school. I was curious about my gay identity and seeking mentorship. Like I said in the film, I thought I would never come out. I wanted to learn more about what it was like to be gay. The kind of visions I expected for myself. I realized how few people get the opportunity to learn about the laws and milestones of our history without proactively looking for it.

My school only talked about Stonewall. There should be a more comprehensive education about our history and social movement for those who have been marginalized. There should be more of an inclusive education so LGTBQ kids can learn and start a conversation that does not start in every school. I would love for it to be in colleges and high schools. Learning about people who are different than you and how it is important in shaping American history.

ATM: It also opens up the conversation about a lot of people who were gay fighting for our country in various ways. Most of them have been deleted from history or just not included because of their sexual orientation. A person’s sexual orientation should not overshadow their achievements. This should be the standard. If a person does all these wonderful things, it is great. But once you fall in line with this community, then it is pushed under the rug and does not matter.

RB: In history, both should be reported on, which is the overall  achievement. People should know how you identify. There are a lot of people who have problems coming to terms with their identity. This shows the expression of the movement. It would be important to see this. I do think of them being visible about who they are is important for them too.

ATM: The film concentrates on a lot of viewpoints. You have angles coming from religion, one being the Mormon community. One black woman said this was kind of like black history month. You even get a perspective from a white male who became paralyzed. There is a discussion about his life, his sexual, and stereotyped surrounding him. People have labeled him as A-sexual.

Image result for State of Pride youtube

RB: I hope in general this film helps unravel some mishaps about the LGBTQ community. It is exciting for me to think about how different audiences will react to it. If you are in the LGTBQ movement, then I hope the film will bring up conversations and questions. If you are outside of it, then hopefully you will learn. There are some many diverse perspectives on the meaning of PRIDE. It relates to each individual and what they take out of it.

ATM: They need to know. This film even shows prior images and footages of PRIDE movements. You see the progression of the movement. The young generation should realize this is nothing that is new. This has been a movement that has turned into a culture for decades upon decades. There are a lot of people who made early contributions. One person being Sylvia Rivera who was a very prominent supporter and fighter of gay liberation and also the Stonewall event of 1969.

RB: Yes. It is important. When first learning about Stonewall and LGBTQ history, we looked at the LGTBQ representation in entertainment. I thought about Harvey Milk. I was excited to work with Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the STATE OF PRIDE directors, who I learned about in high school. To actually work with them now and collaborate with them on a film has been such an honor.

ATM: This culture will not die or stop because of the awareness and support of people now. There are so many people who are supporters of PRIDE and this is why the event, lifestyle, the culture will stand for decades and decades from now. A lot of people just want change, advocacy, and equality.

RB: The exciting thing about PRIDE and social media is that people have realized there are LGBTQ people everywhere. Social media has helped us connect this. I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I did not see anyone who was out, or that I could identify with. I got into the world of PRIDE and more of the LGTBQ community when getting an internet connection – funny enough. Now I, much like many individuals across America and the world, get an opportunity to connect through PRIDE.

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