In June 2007 my partner Jerry and I (upper right) joined nine other gay/lesbian couples who had been together for over 10 years to film "Ordinary Couples/ Extraordinary Lives!". It's but one of the nearly 20 featured works to be shown at the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival to be held at the IUPUI Campus Center November 14-16, 2008.
Created by Indianapolis photographer/director Mark Lee, the documentary was filmed before a live audience at the University of Indianapolis. Each couple talks about everything from the coming out process, to faith, raising families, and taking care of one's partner in the golden years - all in a fun and entertaining way.
Gay and lesbian youth from IYG (the Indianapolis Youth Group) and Pike High School helped do everything from building the set to the actual filming. Bilerico's own contributor and advice-giver Michelle O'Mara helped conduct the individual interviews with Mark. Background music throughout the film was provided by local musicians John Cannaday, Deb Mullins, "C-Ray" Ray, and the Ensemble Voltaire, among others.
The couples who volunteered to share a bit of their lives together are: Front Row (sitting down) L to R: Lecia Overley, Vicki Overley, Todd Pickard, Duane Carlisle Jr., Charlotte Egler, Dawn Egler, Kelly Dickens, Rustyna Hodo, Ambrose Smith and Ian Fraser. Back Row (standing up) L to R: Lisa Griffith, Paula Griffith, Keith Petrie, Tom Maynard, Melissa Clague, Stephanie Smart, Gary Brackett, Bill Hendrix, me, and Jerry Hicks. Ian Fraser and Ambrose Smith easily took the "longevity prize" in observing their 55th year together around the time of filming in 2007.
"Ordinary Couples: Extraordinary Lives!" will be shown at the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 16th at the IUPUI Campus Center. Many other worthwhile films will be shown, and you can find out more details concerning the event. The event is a fundraiser for IYG, which provides a safe place, a confidential environment, and youth development programs and support support services which foster personal strength and wellness amoung self-identified LGBT young people. IYG advocates on their behalf in schools, on the streets, and in the community.
Jerry and I were pleased and honored to be chosen to participate in the "Ordinary Couples" production, and proud to do our part in demonstrating to the world that LGBT couples share with their heterosexual counterparts the same kind of human commitment, joys, tears, and have the same needs, undertake the same obligations and responsibilities, and are entitled to the very same legal status and protections as marriage affords. It contains a message especially relevant as we ponder the impact of the adoption of such anti-equality measures as Proposition 8 in California, and similar amendments in Florida and Arizona.