I remember seeing "Word is Out" when I was in college in the suburbs of Chicago. The film was shown on the PBS station there (WTTW, Channel 11) and I watched it with one of the few gay men I knew at the small Catholic college I attended. When it was rerun, six months later, we celebrated watching it again, reacquainting ourselves with the men and women we thought of as friends.
I fell in love with the people who shared their stories. But much more importantly, when I saw the film, I became real. I became a real person. I knew what I was was real, and that I shared an experience with other people —even in far away, exotic places like San Francisco— and I was a little bit less alone in the world than I had been before I saw the film.
I have thought about the film all my life since I first saw it. I have thought about how daring and powerful the people were who allowed themselves to appear in the film back in 1977. I have wondered if everyone has been able to find satisfaction and a measure of happiness in their lives after the film was made. I have marveled at how both the pessimists and optimists were right about how little and how much we have progressed since the 1970s.
In short, the film was a watershed moment in my life. I only wish I had a more eloquent way of thanking the filmmakers. On a personal level, I thank them for producing the film at just the exact moment when I needed it most, and on a cultural level, I thank them for preserving our history for generations to come.
I send greetings to you, with great affection,
HERBERT J. BRANT, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
Department of World Languages & Cultures
Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI