Queer people have shaped history through their contributions to politics, science and the arts – but often, the LGBT+ community are unaware that these people were queer in the first place. New LGBT+ documentary project Being Different: 101 Global LGBTQ Individuals Who Changed The World aims to change that.
“Despite adversity and discrimination,” the project’s website says, “LGBTQ individuals have excelled throughout history. Yet historians and academics have conveniently participated in the heterosexist erasure of these LGBTQ contributions by omitting the LGBTQ status of prominent historical figures from academic and historical documents.”
The LGBT+ documentary aims to reclaim these individuals’ stories, politically and socially contextualising their efforts and showing how sexuality-based discrimination impacted on their work. The historical figures covered will range from Socrates to Sir Elton John.
The website states “Without documentaries like this one, political and social majorities may find it easy to dismiss LGBTQ issues as a contemporary social agenda of an insignificant political minority.” Being Different will educate policy-makers and the public about the contributions made by LGBT+ individuals of diverse races, ethnicities and genders, placing queer people undeniably where they should be – at the centre of history.
This new LGBT+ documentary project will be directed by Kevin Feraday, who has been producing short films for seventeen years. Its executive producer, Mark S Bonham, is a co-founder of QueerBio.com – an online database listing over 15,000 contemporary and historical LGBT+ individuals, which acts as a biographical reference source for the global queer community.
Being Different will be presented in two different forms: a 90-minute feature documentary to be shown at film festivals, and a more in-depth series of four one-hour segments, suitable for TV and online presentation. It will be accompanied by a website that will encourage the viewer to share their own personal narratives, as well as providing a forum in which viewers can debate the contributions of the LGBT+ leaders.
The Being Different team have launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, aiming to raise $25,000 – 10% of the project budget – towards the documentary’s production. Contributors can receive perks including a digital download of the documentary, extra footage and inclusion in the closing credits.
With projects such as the ‘OUTing the Past’ LGBT+ Festival gaining traction in Ireland and abroad, there is a clear appetite among the LGBT+ community for recognition of historical queer voices. Being Different looks set, with the help of contributors, to offer the community an essential retelling of our own history.
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