DVD Review - Breaking Through

Cindy L. Abel served as Co-Chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to increase the number of openly LGBT public officials in local and federal government. Abel is the director of this documentary, which basically interviews over two dozen openly LGBT people currently or formerly serving in some level of government. Many of whom got support from the Victory Fund. Therefore, it's no surprise how Abel was able to organize all these interviews.

What's notable is that these 24 or so people are all pioneers of a sort. Most, if not all of them represent the first in their respective roles. For example, one of the most powerful persons interviewed is Tammy Baldwin, the U.S. Senator of Wisconsin. Senator Baldwin is the first openly gay U.S. Senator in American history, which is the highest or most powerful position of all the interviews here. All the rest are state or municipal politicians, not with greater federal powers.

Aside from a well-edited, opening montage, the movie moves steadily one by one through the 24 or so people as they talk about their observations and experiences being gay, before and after choosing to enter politics. They talk about the coming-out, the campaigning, the controversy and the camaraderie through it all.

There's the aspect of older LGBT politicians looking back like Representative Barney Frank at age 74 reflecting on the early days when gay people in U.S. Congress or state legislators were only making in-roads. There's also the aspect of younger LGBT politicians like 29-year-old Bryce Bennett, State Representative in Montana, or 31-year-old Amaad Rivera, former city councilman for Springfield, MA, offering fresh perspectives.

Barney Frank has appeared on national TV, so people would easily recognize him. Aside from Lupe Valdez, the sheriff of Dallas, Phyllis Frye, the first transgender judge in Houston, and Alex Wan, the city councilman in Atlanta, Georgia, no one of the 20 others stands out personality-wise. A lot of their stories run together and sound the same.

A lot of it is just getting to the election. We get no sense of these people doing their jobs. Having the titles they have is all that matters in this movie and hearing how they achieve that is this movie's goal. It stands as a testament to how far this country has come, a landmark on the road to full equality and acceptance of LGBT rights.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for general audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 27 mins.


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