All good things, as the saying goes, gotta come to an end.
And so it is with the “Out In The Silence” On Screen/In Person tour.
Our final two stops were Thursday night in Wilmington, DE and Saturday afternoon in Vineland, NJ. Turn-out was low in both spots — hard to understand since all other tour events had near-capacity crowds. Was it due to lack of outreach or press coverage? Ticket price barriers? Competing events? Discomfort with the film’s subject? Low interest level? Opposition? Who knows?
Nonetheless, we had a good time and the enthusiasm for change, justice and equality for all among those in attendance gave us hope.
Before the event in Wilmington, we went to Spencer Square to show solidarity with Occupy Delaware, a great group of folks raising their voices in concern for poor and working people struggling to survive in a “pro-business” city that has become a national financial center for the credit card industry due to a 1981 de-regulatory state act that removed the cap on interest rates that banks may legally charge customers. Good for profit-seeking corporations, but not for people.
One of the occupiers brought the commonalities in our struggles home when she shared her story of being an out-of-work, homeless transgender woman facing mistreatment, lack of opportunities, and discrimination on multiple fronts. She had always known the challenges of being openly LGB or T. Now she said, she knows how devastating it is to be visibly poor, and even more marginalized as a result, too.
Over at Theater N for the screening, we got a little encouragement from an audience member who talked about the growing LGBT youth movement in the state.
From Wilmington, we hit the road for New Jersey, fabled land of mobsters and mcmansions, but also, and much to our surprise, the Cowtown Rodeo.
At the Cumberland County College in Vineland for the event, we learned that silence about, or at best a grudging acceptance of, the lives and concerns of LGBT people is just as common in south central Jersey as it is in the hills of northwestern Pennsylvania.
So, the lesson for us across the 1,800 miles of the On Screen/In Person tour through the Mid Atlantic states: there is much work yet-to-be-done in the quest for justice and equality for all, and film, and the arts, can play a powerful role, with the necessary support.
Post by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, OSIP Touring Filmmakers. Thank you so much for sharing your film, and for all of the work you do for social change!