Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (June 20, 2008)


Having worked at since 2003, I’ve seen my share of coming-out stories (and TV episodes, and books, and — you get the point), but a new documentary, When I Knew, which presents ordinary people talking about the moment they first realized they’re gay, is unexpectedly entertaining, funny and moving.

Directed and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Party Monster), the 35-minute documentary airs on Cinemax on June 25 and is also screening at Frameline this weekend in San Francisco.

This documentary works because it keeps the pace quick, has a sense of humor, and includes a real diversity in the people interviewed. That includes equal numbers of men and women, people of all ages and races, and stories that range from super-serious to quite lighthearted.

Kate Getty (left) and Lisa Hayes in When I Knew

When I Knew reminded me of how much we as gay folks still need to get together and share our stories, since we almost always come out alone.

To aid in this process, the filmmakers have set up a video booth at Frameline this weekend where anyone can go in and record their own "when I knew" story (select videos will be edited into the June 22 screening).

I actually don’t like recalling the moment that I knew, since that moment was kind of depressing. But the documentary did make me recall the moment that I should have known I’m a lesbian.

Let me set the scene: It’s 1992, and I’m in high school physics class. I and several other classmates are sitting at our desks before class starts.

Me: I got into Wellesley!
Annoying yet prescient girl: You know that like 75 percent of the girls there are lesbians.
Me: [shocked and utterly horrified] That is not true!!
Annoying yet prescient girl: Yes it is.

In fact, 75 percent of the girls at Wellesley are not lesbians (bummer), but perhaps part of the reason I was so upset was because her claim (though outrageous) was intriguing. Very intriguing.

If only I had known that Wellesley breeds super lesbians, I might have come out a lot sooner!

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