out in the silenceComing to PBS’s America ReFramed series tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3: OUT IN THE SILENCE

Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer’s personal confrontation with small town homophobia has been screening extensively at festivals, universities, conferences, and community events since 2009. Among the festivals it’s appeared in are Human Rights Watch, Nashville, Rhode Island, aGLIFF, ImageOUT, Reel Affirmations, and Reeling. The film has also received an Emmy Award.

After longtime partners Wilson and Hamer decided to place their wedding announcement in Wilson’s rural hometown newspaper, the simple act sets off virulent homophobia within the community of Oil City PA, with anti-gay activists like Diane Gramley, the heartless and humorless head of the local American Family Association, denouncing gay marriage. A local resident, Kathy, takes note of the controversy, and, with no one else to turn, reaches out to Wilson to somehow help her her teenage son, CJ, the victim of regular bullying at school. Moved by her plea, the filmmaking pair returns to Oil City to explore why the conservative community has reacted so strongly against their declaration of love and commitment, and why Kathy has had such difficulty finding support for CJ’s plight. Believing that commonality trumps difference, they seek out an illuminating dialogue with opponents, forming an unexpected friendship with an Evangelical preacher who criticizes their union, while they also serve as role models for young CJ, providing compassion and hope that he will make it through this challenging time.

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