April 16, 2024

While the LGTBQ rights movement has made tremendous strides since that first rock was thrown at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969, there are still many areas of the U.S. where the queer community doesn’t feel safe.

In the new Hulu documentary, “We Live Here: The Midwest,” director Melina Maerker and producer David Clayton Miller chronicle queer families living in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Ohio. “It took a long time,” Maerker told me at the recent Los Angeles “We Live Here” premiere of finding people to participate in the film. “It was really hard.”

“First it was a lot of interviewing families and seeing if they were willing to tell their stories,” Miller said. “But many of them were concerned about their jobs, let alone what their neighbors would feel about them. It was very difficult.”

Maerker added, “They feared a lot of discrimination within their community, which is why we refer to the families in the documentary as ‘courageous families.’”

While Maerker and Miller teased that they’re already looking at other areas of the U.S. to focus on in a follow-up film, they always knew they’d put a lens on the Midwest first. “It’s the heart of ‘family values,’” Maerker said.

“I think American family values have been taken over by the right wing and conservatives,” Miller said. “What we wanted to show was LGBTQ people could also have family values.”

Maerker said family values have become exclusionary. “If you really look at what family values is supposed to mean, it’s caring about other people, protecting your neighbors and being kind,” she said. “Why shouldn’t that also apply to LGBTQ folks?”

Kansas farmers Denise and Courtney Skeeba said they jumped at the chance to tell their story, which includes their son Marek Skeeba. “A good close friend of ours said, ‘You’re changing the minds of the nation one family at a time,’ and we really feel that on a deep level,” Courtney said. “That’s the only way to do it, one family at a time.”

Denise recalls stepping back from LGBTQ advocacy work when she and Courtney decided to have a child: “We knew that the most radical kind of activism that we could do was to live our lives in an every day way. There’s nothing unusual about us.”

Nia and Katie Chiaramonte lived in Iowa when they were filmed for the doc, but they have since moved to the East Coast with their five kids. “It does feel much better being on the East Coast with ‘We Live Here’ coming out now,” said Nia, who is transgender. “We’re less fearful than we would be if we were in Iowa.”

“We Live Here: The Midwest” is now streaming on Hulu.

free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin
free coin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *