24th of June 2019. The day this review was written and the day on which 7.7 billion people are walking around on this planet. All different, all unique and all with their own personality but sadly not all accepted.
Despite it being the 21st Century, there are still people out there who are abused (both physically and mentally) just because of who they are and who they love.
With his latest documentary director Ashley Joiner (“Pride”) shows us in the most beautiful, colourful and heartbreaking way that the fight for equal rights and respect for LGBTQ+ people is still an extremely hard one.
Men and women who are in love with a person from the same gender can’t share their love in public and sometimes even in private. Having to go to bars just made for them.
It probably sounds like something very familiar and from this age but already in the ’50 that those things were happening. Right from the start the lust, passion, and determination to fight for what the LGBTQ+ community wants was massive.
From the Homosexual Law Reform Society, who wanted to make sure that homosexuals could love each other and show that, even if it was just in private, in 1959 to the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the 1970s.
While their fights were hard, the setbacks were even harder such as the introduction of Margaret Thatcher’s section 28 that stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”.
If things couldn’t get worse, the AIDS virus made its way into the UK and the AIDS crisis killed more men in the United Kingdom than any other epidemic for over three hundred years.
Sadly, the Gay Liberation Front didn’t last but it was the start of the LGBTQ+ revolution. It was the forerunner of the switchboards and the inspiration for the worldwide pride marches.
Almost fifty years later, the means are infinite (thanks to social media), the attention huge and the attendance during the prides even bigger. However, that doesn’t mean all the problems are solved, on the contrary.
LGBTQ+ people are confronted with discrimination, exclusion, abuse, punishment and even death on a daily basis. And for what? Just because they love someone of the same gender or because they want to express themselves in the way they want. Doesn’t everyone has the right to live the life how and with who they want?
Well based on the fact that there are still twelve countries in which being gay can lead to the death penalty and also the fact that there are still 72 countries in which being gay is illegal, that’s certainly not the case.
It’s worldwide known that people of the LGBTQ+ community are being threatened, repressed and not respected by some members of the society, nations, and countries but director Joiner shows us even that even in the LGBTQ+ community itself there’s room for discrimination, disparaging and insults.
In a place where people should feel safe, loved and cared for, might not seem as colourful as it looks. Thanks to “Are You Proud?”, you get to know even more about the rough life LGBTQ+ sometimes have to endure.
Because of the big amount of gay prides, social media influencers taking the stand for the LGBTQ+ community and more openness towards your own (gay) personality, it might feel like this is a fight just fought in the recent years.
However, nothing can be further from the truth. A truth that’s being told by different people of the LGBTQ+ community in “Are You Proud?”, starting with George Montague, a 96-year-old WWII veteran, who after a lot of leading a “fake” like he finally came out as gay after struggling for more than seventy years.
A struggle that 74 million people are facing these days and so it’s important to hear as many different voices as possible such as the ones from Lisa Power (founder of Stonewall, Terence Higgins Trust, LGBT Switchboard and GLF), Sami Cee (LGBT Against Islamophobia) and Son of a Tutu (Drag performer). In total there are 36 voices heard loud and clear among the masses of colourful footage, vibrant and lively scenes.
After being screened at the BFI Flare London LGBTQ+ Film Festival 2017 as work in progress called “Pride”, “Are You Proud?” became full-length documentary made for the LGBTQ+ community and by the LGBTQ+ community. However, it’s a documentary everyone should watch.
While it’s filled colours, rainbow flags and glitter and glamour, it also shows the hard and difficult fights that are being fought for equal rights and mutual respect. While we as a whole community aren’t certainly there yet, let “Are You Proud?” become one of the voices of the generation.