Watch Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

  • 1977
  • 2 hr 4 min

Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is a documentary film that was released in 1977. Directed by four filmmakers, Peter Adair, Nancy Adair, Verlie Appleby, and Andrew Brown, this film is a ground-breaking exploration of the lives of gay Americans. It tells the stories of 26 individuals, each of whom provide a unique perspective on what it is like to identify as gay in America during a time when homosexuality was widely stigmatized and misunderstood.

The film is structured around a series of interviews with these individuals, who come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. They speak candidly about their lives and how they have come to understand their sexuality, as well as the challenges they face in a society that often discriminates against them. Some of the stories are deeply moving, such as that of a young man who has been disowned by his family and is forced to live in poverty, while others are inspiring and uplifting, such as that of a lesbian couple who have found a way to build a loving and supportive relationship despite the obstacles they face.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is how it captures the diversity of the gay community. It includes interviews with people of different races and ethnicities, ages and genders. This diversity is reflected in the various settings of the interviews, from rural farms to urban apartments, from grandparent's garden to strip clubs, from private homes to shared gathering places. It showcases how the experience of being gay is different for everyone and is not a single monolithic identity.

The film also explores the ways in which the gay community has responded to discrimination and persecution. It follows some of the early gay rights activists who fought tirelessly for equality and acceptance, including Harry Hay, the founder of the Mattachine Society, and Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who founded the Daughters of Bilitis. Their stories are inspiring to see how they raised their collective voice and worked towards mainstreaming acceptance.

Throughout the film, the interviewees provide insight into the range of issues that are facing the gay community in America. They talk about discrimination, violence, workplace harassment, police brutality, and healthcare issues. They also discuss the relationship between the gay community and other marginalized groups, such as people of color and women, and how the fight for gay rights is intertwined with struggles for other civil rights.

It is not just the stories, but also the way they are told that makes this film special. There are no narrators or experts to tell the story - instead, the people themselves speak directly to the camera, sharing their stories, concerns, and dreams as if they are talking one-on-one with the audience. The filmmakers employ a vérité style of shooting, which captures naturalistic moments of the interviewees and their lives. This makes the viewer feel present and part of the individuals' lives, breaking through stereotypes and misunderstandings, but also adding to the sense of normalcy of the gay experience.

The reception of the film was, and still is, significant for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. It was one of the first films to give such a comprehensive and multifaceted portrayal of the gay community. At a time when many Americans still knew little about gay people, this film helped to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges and obstacles that gay people face.

In conclusion, Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is a documentary film that has stood the test of time. It is a landmark in the genre of LGBT documentaries that showcases the various personalities, struggles, and journeys of the gay community in America. The interviews have humanized the community and demystified the narratives of the individuals. Even after 44 years of its release, it continues to be a moving and powerful tribute to the bravery and dignity of those who have fought and continue to fight for their rights.

Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is a 1977 documentary with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Where to Watch Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives
Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • Language