TV Review - Legalize Gay

Brian Sims, Jeshawna Wholley
and Ben Cohen (right)
Christopher Hines makes documentaries about gay culture. His previous two centered on male body images. This one introduces us to ten people who are working to advance gay rights and acceptance. Hines starts with the "It Gets Better" web site, which featured the Orioles baseball team and the cast of HBO's True Blood, as well as many other celebrities and regular people. The effort was made to encourage gay youth not to give up hope.

The web site was in response to the numerous teen suicides. Many of which stemmed from school bullying. Hines immediately introduces us to a man who has made his life's work stopping that kind of behavior. We meet Ben Cohen, a retired, British, rugby player who created The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. Cohen developed an online following of mostly gay men and decided to use that fan support to raise awareness about the bullying issue as well as champion LGBT rights. Cohen is the first heterosexual athlete to do such.

Hudson Taylor follows in Cohen's footsteps. He's a straight athlete who is an ally for gay advocates too. Taylor is an All-American wrestler for the University of Maryland who created AthleteAlly, an organization very similar to Cohen's StandUp Foundation that works more closely with schools as well as other places that involve sports to end homophobia.

But, Taylor and Cohen aren't the only athletes. We also meet Brian K. Sims, the first openly gay college football captain in NCAA history. As of now, Sims will be the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Hines' documentary took place prior to the election, so we get to see the steps Sims took to get there.

While more gay elected officials are crucial for the fight for equality, Hines shows there are others working to effect the politics. Zach Wahls drew headlines when he testified in front of the Iowa legislature. His testimony was against a law that would have banned same-sex marriage. Wahls is a 19-year-old engineering student at the University of Iowa but he spoke out because he is in fact the son of a same-sex marriage, a lesbian couple.

Hines brings in others connected to the cause like Jeshawna Wholley. The young African-American woman challenged Spelman College with being more inclusive of LGBT issues. She was even able to institute the first Gay Pride Week at the historically black college.

This movie is a brief look at some of the individuals on the front lines. They are people making strides and advances. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the work by these people represents real hope for the future. Hines quickly profiles them and creates a nice time capsule that in ten or twenty years people can look back as a real pivot point.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Aired May 5 on LOGO.
To watch the full movie, click here.
To visit the movie's Facebook page, click here.


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