Out in the Silence Rural Oregon Tour gaining Momentum!

It’s official.  The OUT IN THE SILENCE tour of rural Oregon has begun.

In the next 10 days, documentary filmmakers Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer will travel 1,500 miles and visit 15 Oregon communities, screening their award-winning film about the experience of being LGBT in rural America, and facilitating real dialogue about what it will take to achieve fairness, inclusion, and equality.

As a native of the small town of Oil City, Pennsylvania, Joe Wilson knows what it is like to grow up gay in a rural community not ready to fully embrace who he is.  As filmmakers and organizers, Joe & Dean have traveled to hundreds of towns across the country to move people, to inspire us to continue our work for human dignity, and to challenge the beliefs, fears, and assumptions that hold us back.

In the past two months each of the host groups have used this opportunity to present in front of the school board, at city council meetings, to come out and invite to coworkers, childrens’ teachers, to start relationships with their local journalists, faith leaders.  The successes of this tour are too many to count, and it has scarcely begun!

So congratulations rural Oregon, you are an inspiration.

And now, the first few days of the tour have set an important tone, bringing into focus the contrast that keeps ROPers always on our feet.  Yesterday, a screening at Linn Benton Community College brought a rain of nasty fliers that moviegoers found littering their cars and parking lot after the event (see Hate Rears Its Head On Rural Oregon Community College Campus).

Then this morning, the Scappoose screening hosted by Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity packed our local cinema, nearly overflowing a room with capacity of 114.  Mothers with children, gay and lesbian couples, local political representatives, health care providers and teachers packed the theater, ready to find out more and have meaningful dialogue.

For those of you itching to know more about the tour, a complete list of stops is here.  And remember that every day is an opportunity to begin the conversation in your community about LGBT inclusion.  Screening packets are available by mail to groups and individuals that want to host their own film screening.  Just let us know.


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