SXSW 2019: State of Pride

State of Pride

State of Pride takes a look at the LGBTQ movement and Pride celebrations as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising this summer.

While Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this film, it’s activist Raymond Braun who gets the stories on camera.  Braun tells his own emotional story with regards to his coming out.  But like anyone who has ever come out, you can’t help but feel empathy for his pain.

In looking at how Pride has evolved, the film takes us to a few different communities.  These include Tuscaloosa, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco to name a few.  People from all walks of life within the community are featured in interviews on camera.

San Francisco uses Pride weekend to make it a celebration.  The Trans March is Friday, the Dyke March is on Saturday, and finally, the weekend wraps up with Pride on Sunday.  Whereas in the Deep South, there is Black Pride taking place in another part of the city.

In San Francisco, one trans woman, Jackie, is celebrating her first Trans Pride after coming out the previous August.  Jackie realizes how lucky she is because of the relationship with her family and having the economic resources available.  Thanks to Braun and company, she’s lucky enough to meet Our Lady J, who served as the SF Pride Celebrity Grand Marshall.

Talking with Raymond Braun, Our Lady J Pride says “Trans Pride feels more like a protest than a celebration.  I think it’s because we still have so far to go.”  In response, Jackie says that she loves the protest part so much when it comes to Pride.  All in all, it’s a very intimate conversation between the three of them.

In many ways, we’re still fighting for our rights.  The transgender community alone deals with an unproportionate amount of violence.  All one needs to do is take a look at the transgender people of color.  This community alone suffers from the worst of it.  One trans woman of color talks about how a guy followed her into her house and wanted to kill her.  This isn’t right.  I should not have to stress it but I will: trans women of color suffer from more violence than the rest of the transgender community.  These ought to be hate crimes but in so many states, this sadly is not the case.

While State of Pride only offers a glimpse into three communities, there is still a lot of work ahead.

DIRECTORS:  Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
FEATURING:  Raymond Braun

State of Pride holds its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the Documentary Spotlight program. YouTube releases the film on May 29, 2019. Grade 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.