Thursday, November 20, 2014

My brother Freddie Gray

I was young when my brother participated in the film project, but thought it was so cool that he was in the movies. I remember when my mother told me while I was in college that he came out, and I responded to her with something like, "so what, he's still my brother." Our family continued with the same closeness we always had, when many families did not and do not show acceptance. I love him with all my heart. He is and always has been the person who understands me well and knows the right thing to say when I need it. In the late 70s when I was visiting him in SF he took me to the I-Beam to dance, and I remember thinking, god, look at all these gorgeous young men and none of them are available! I'm sharing the new edition dvd with the LGBTQ club at the high school where I work. We are celebrating Ally Week. Sadly, I've learned that some posters were torn down and hurtful comments were heard from a few people. The struggle continues... Peace and love to you all. -Melissa Gray

Sunday, March 17, 2013

When they came for me there was no one left to say anything.”

After holding and then leaving my wonderful dear lover in the LA Hospital in July of 1978 I was bereft by the truth that I would never see her walking strong again nor hear her voice against my ear. The next day she would have a tracheotomy and a stomach feeding tube, that would be the last surgery she would have. There was nothing more that could be done. I would take her home after and weeks later she died. We held each other that evening and I heard her tell me she loved me, then I had to go. I wasn’t family, could not stay overnight. I passed a theatre on the way back to the cottage we rented while she had undergone the series of horrible treatments for her aggressive, rare head and neck cancer. We had moved from the Bay Area and left all our friends behind. The theatre I passed was playing Word Is Out, so I stopped to take my mind off my sorrows. I sat alone in the theatre but all around me were my people. I was so proud to see the brave ones on the big screen, coming out to the world. And at the end of the film when the credit’s started to roll the screen went quiet and there was the San Francisco Pride Parade that happened just the year before. And there came my marching Jacquie, walking tall and proud and smiling right under the middle of that big flag declaring “When they came for the Jews I said nothing. When they came for the Gays I said nothing. When they came for me there was no one left to say anything.” There she is still, always marching. Tall, proud, happy, strong. I had lost my old tape I had purchased back then. Just a couple weeks back during a conversation with a young woman she told me she was the Adair’s cousin! She gave me the new 30 year CD! And there was my sweet love marching forever. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. --Jewels Joyce Marcus

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Seeing Word is Out in New Zealand in the late 1970s

My partner Jim and I saw ‘Word is Out’ sometime in the late 1970’s, in Christchurch, New Zealand. We had at that time, been together for about 12 years or so. It was screened at an Arts Theatre at Canterbury University, as it couldn’t get a release in the main stream movie houses. It was a seminal experience for us because of the wonderful people in your movie, and the boost it gave us to realise that people in a completely different country, shared similar problems to us. The feeling of being, for the first time, in a public theatre, surrounded entirely by gay people and their supporters is one we’ll never forget. We were delighted after all this time, to be able to obtain a beautifully restored copy from Amazon, together with the excellent ‘extras’. I can’t tell you how great it’s been for us to meet up with you all again. I just hope that today’s young people will get as much from it as we did. Thank you! We love you all! David Ashleigh

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New book about WORD IS OUT


As Greg Youmans explains, Word is Out (The Mariposa Film Group, 1978) is the most important documentary regarding the visibility of gay and lesbian people produced up to the date of its release....Youmans’ monograph is a work that is filled with richness and contradiction, elements that fill our daily lives.

Friday, January 13, 2012

From Julia...

I'm 24, so obviously I don't have a memory of seeing the film when it first came out. I found the DVD in my local library and am very thankful for it. I came out 3 months ago; most of my family members are very conservative Christians, and they're taking it about as well as I expected them to. In spite of that, I feel so blessed to be coming out in this current social climate, and I know that this new emerging world was made possible by so many brave individuals, including the people responsible for this film and its restoration. Thank you so much for your humanity, your courage, and for reminding me that I'm not alone, that we're fighting the good fight. Love, Julia

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Word is Out book released! Special event in San Francisco



Classic queer
Author Greg Youmans will launch his Word is Out: A Queer Film Classic (Arsenal Pulp Press) at a free event on Jan. 10 at the San Francisco Public Library. The book is about the history, politics, and aesthetics of the groundbreaking 1977 gay and lesbian documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives. The film was the first feature-length documentary about lesbian and gay male experience that was made by lesbians and gay men. It brings a series of intimate, individual interviews together into a national portrait of gay people during the gay-rights struggles against Anita Bryant, John Briggs and others. Word Is Out was very much a Bay Area production: its six makers (the Mariposa Film Group ) were based here, as were its community funders and most of its onscreen interview subjects.

At the book launch (Tues., Jan. 10, 6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, SFPL Main Branch), Youmans will present rarely seen Word is Out materials from the 1970s (from the Peter Adair papers, housed at the library), including clips from the video pre-interviews that the filmmakers conducted with more than 100 LGBT people before choosing the final cast. A roundtable discussion will follow with Janet Cole , who was involved in the film's promotion, as well as four of the filmmakers: Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, Lucy Massie-Phenix, and Veronica Selver. Word is still out!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Word is Out Comes to Montreal!

Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives
At Cinéma du Parc
July 31 to August 5

It is fitting that the run of Word Is Out at Cinéma du Parc starts right after Divers/Cité ends – an event concentrated on community development...

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Word is Definitely Out Now

Hi, All,

I saw this film for the first time in Manhattan. I was so moved by the stories and felt so much strength, power and camaraderie that I went back the next day with a friend.

At that point, I was married and living in the South. I couldn't imagine ever talking with anyone in my very conservative family about a quiet thread that had been running through my life for several years. Many of the people featured in the film were my age when I first saw it.

Today, I was so excited to open the new DVD version and revisit this brave, powerful and beautiful film. I'd previously shared a VHS version with my partner, but this time, especially with the follow-ups and extras, it just broadened the experience so much. I found myself in tears at several places, thinking of how grateful I was to the filmmakers and to the people who were interviewed. And how exciting to see the film on the day that gay marriage was legalized in the state of NY.

I was stunned at the impact it had on me, once again. This time, I couldn't help thinking about my gay friends who had lost their lives to AIDS...and with those in this film, it had clearly taken a heavy toll.

My partner and I have been together 21 years. We have 6 grandchildren, we've taught the confirmation class at church. I'm even out now in my Southern family, and we're both welcomed and accepted with open arms. When I was honored in Who's Who in American Women, I listed my partner's name. There are times, when I’ve been at the library, that I’ve pulled that volume down and seen both of our names. It was our small way of going down in history.

I guess I wanted to say thank you to everyone who was part of this experience. You've all done a powerful thing and touched a lot of people, especially me.

Andrea Fine

Monday, July 18, 2011

30th Anniversary question

Good day ~

As you’ve heard so many times, this film was the first gay anything I had ever seen, and what a positive model for this scared 17-year-old. I’m ever grateful for the collective’s courage which saved so many of our lives and psyches.

I was curious about Whitey and Cynthia not wanting to be interviewed in the 30th Anniversary edition. Of course they have a right to their privacy, but I can’t get a resounding “Why?” out of my head. Would appreciate if there is any official reason given.


White Ash

Monday, May 16, 2011

First seen in Chicago...

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,

Associate Professor of Spanish

Department of World Languages & Cultures
Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Library Journal review!

Library Journal

Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives; 30th-Anniversary Edition. color. 132+ min. Peter Adair, Mariposa Film Group & Milliarium Zero, 800-603-1104; 2010. DVD ISBN 9781933920184. $29.95; acad. libs. $195. Public performance. GENDER STUDIES

Claiming to be the first feature-length film about gays and lesbians by a gay filmmaker, this 1978 documentary offers interviews with 26 people who talk about their lives. Probably most well known among them is Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay, also the subject of the recent excellent The Temperamentals. It is a tribute to director Adair’s talents that the film’s stark and bare style still mesmerizes as these 26 lives unfold before our eyes. The flawless editing weaves the stories into a single fabric. Younger viewers, especially those who identify as GLBT, may be shocked at the tales of forced marriages, police harassment and beatings, electric shock therapy, and societal exclusion. Older viewers will be reminded of the blatant discrimination of a time not so long ago, some of which still exists. Extras include updates on the participants. A timeless film; highly recommended. [See Video News Briefs, LJ 6/1/10.]—Gerald A. Notaro, Univ. of South Florida Lib., St. Petersburg

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Awards for WORD IS OUT!

WORD IS OUT has just won a Film Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics:

“Word Is Out” (Restored by Ross Lipman for the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and distributed by Milestone.)


The American Library Association award for 2011 Notable Videos for Adults!

Congratulations to all the filmmakers and the participants!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seen at the London Film Festival, Sept. 2010

I clearly remember seeing this wonderful film, in London, in the 70s. At the time I was struggling with my Gay self and those people spoke to me at a deep and lasting level.

I have just seen it again, today, at the London Film Festival, and was moved beyond words.

I imagine that many of those men subsequently died to AIDS. The trauma to our community, in losing so many wonderful people, exists today.

To those men and women still living, thank you. I hope you are healthy and happy.

I was struck by the shared sense, then, of a tide of change and optimism, in the face of institutionalised persecution and oppression.

Today some of us have more rights (primarily thanks to these brave Queers) but also less politicisation and optimism. I wish that every Queer person would take the time to witness this excellent film and let those stories fill their hearts.

Thanks to Outfest and their partners for bringing this gem back to life.

I will always remember the absolute sincerity, authenticity, humour and courage of all the subjects. You are sources of inspiration for me. God bless you all.

Steve Ryan

Ps I hope a region 2 version of the dvd will be made available to us Europeans!

[editor: The WORD IS OUT dvd is region free so it can play in most countries around the world.]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From Pompano Beach

We celebrated our 55th last month; we married legally in the Trinity College Chapel (Hartford) during our 2009 50th class reunion. A biography "Soul Mates ...." written by a straight grandmother/author is available on our Scrapbook /. Weird: we were born 3 days apart in 1937 - at about 100 miles distance. As Gemini, does that mean there are four of us in this family?
We'll be seeing the film in November, when we participate in a panel of a Palm Beach County college.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Richard T. Nolan, retired Episcopal priest
Robert C. Pingpank, retired CT public secondary school educator
John Knox Village
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thanks to TCM and UCLA

I saw the film in 1979 when it was released in a handful of theatres and on the "Z" Channel later on in the early 80's.
I was already out at that time, but never had the problems of coming out to my family that a lot of indivial
had during that time. It was a difficult and glorious period in the history of the Gay movement with Anita Bryant
making her anti-gay rampage. I am happy that TCM broadcasted this historic film and for UCLA in
their restoration efforts.

MItch Walker
Long Beach, California
I stiil am not comfortable being (bi-sexual ). Could have used you and your support up here. much love to you all.anj xoxo

Thursday, September 2, 2010

From Santa Fe

Word Is Out was the first gay themed film I ever saw. When I was 11-years-old, the film was broadcast on PBS and my parents, who are both sociologists, watched it and I was strangely drawn to watch it with them. I remembered how the film had played earlier that year at the Orson Wells Cinema in Cambridge where I grew up and had never heard of a feature length film being made about "those people" before who intrigued me.

I was glued to the TV for two hours. My parents were fascinated by the exploration of race among the gay culture, two stigmas for these people as they saw it. However, I remember my mom thinking that the subject who was the actor wasn't as interesting because he was too queeny. Seeing the film 30 years later, I'm amazed at how much I remember these people's faces and even some of the their stories; the woman asking to share a pillow with another women whose house she slept over, the man kissing in a boat another boy when they were 7-years-old, the haunting song "Where you There?" performed in the film.

It's amazing how not dated the film is today, and that's what makes the experience almost tragic in watching it. Gay couples are still losing custody of their children. Families are still not accepting of their gay offspring. Gay couples in most states still can't get married. I was also moved by the filmmakers including themselves in the interviews of their subjects, even allowing themselves to be seen in a mirror in one interview.

I'm curious if the filmmakers ever thought of doing a follow-up to the film to see where the subjects are today and to record how far visibility has improved for gays and lesbians and how much it has also stayed the same. I'm so impressed by the importance of the work that the Legacy Project from Outfest is doing by watching this landmark piece of history.


Aaron Leventman, Santa Fe

Dear Aaron,

Yes, on the DVD release, there are several bonus features where the filmmakers have created new short films following up on the people in the film thirty years later as well as talking about the experiences themselves.

Pop Matters review of WORD IS OUT and other films

Word is Out review in Click here.

'Word Is Out''s Historical Importance Cannot Be Underestimated...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stage and Cinema review by Harvey Perr

New review of the DVD of WORD IS OUT can be found at Stage and Cinema by clicking here.

This is a film that should be in the library of every gay man and lesbian in the world. But it should also be seen by every American who can never be told enough or too often that the people who want equal rights are their friends and their family members and are very much like themselves. Word Is Out is essential, even – and perhaps especially – after thirty years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From Dominique Bremond

I saw "Word is Out" in France where I was living at the time, shortly after it came out in 1977 or 1978. It was a breeze, a gulp of fresh air to hear all of these very different people share theirs lives, theirs stories and their views.

Word is Out had a tremendous impact on my life.

When I moved to san Francisco in 1981, one of the first persons I ran into on the street was one of men interviewed,
then, shortly after, I saw Pat Bond at Bagdad Cafe on Market Street. It seemed surreal at the time.
A big heartfelt thank you to all of you who participated in the making of Word is Out. You touched so many lives in many countries.

Dominique Bremond
The French Class

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cincinnati CityBeat review!

Cincinnati CityBeat review of WORD IS OUT can be read here!

Excerpt: "Word Is Out allowed late-’70s gay filmgoers to see themselves on the screen not as caricatures or idealizations, but as real people with unifying experiences. It was a powerful moment. The film also functioned beyond affirmation to impact the mainstream, showing a world beyond stereotypes where gay men and women lived lives the same as any straight person — a universality that moved Word Is Out beyond gay cinema to become human cinema.

This restored 30th anniversary DVD release is exquisite with several bonuses that truly complement the film, especially a then-and-now documentary that brings the interviewees into the present. Revelations that many succumbed to AIDS are absolutely devastating, hanging a haunting specter over the film’s hopeful histories. Grade: A"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cinemaqueer review of WORD IS OUT

Cinemaqueer review of WORD IS OUT can be read here.
"Word Is Out is not a dry time capsule; it is a vital and entertaining document that hasn't lost its edge, even after more than three decades."

Friday, July 2, 2010

David Gillon interviewed in Hartford Courant!

You can read David Gillon interviewed by Susan Dunne in the Hartford Courant here.

An excerpt: "I never imagined that there would be a serious effort behind something like this. I just knew it wasn't going to go anywhere [laughs]. But the most powerful thing you could do at the time was to speak out. Speaking up, which I had been doing at the time in little ways, was the most powerful thing you could do to combat homophobia, to really change things."

Monday, June 28, 2010

TCM -- updates on the participants and the directors

I just saw this on TCM for the first time. I wish I had seen it back then when I just coming out.
Hats off to TCM for bring this to a larger audience!!!!!!!
I wonder if there is anyplace where it says what became of the lives of the wonderful gay men and lesbian women?
Enrique Sanchez

Thanks! Yes, the new DVD we brought out does have several films updating many of stories of the directors and participants. You can buy it here online!

Word is Out on TCM

Good morning,

I had never heard of your movie before finding it on TCM last evening. I found it remarkable on so many levels, mainly because I as a young teen in the 70s when it was made, and was apparently oblivious to all that was going on with gay activism. I found the stories to be so moving and the interviewees to be profoundly diverse.

But hands down, the best part of the “viewing experience” was coming to your website today to find what these remarkable people are doing today. Strangely, it was like seeing a dear, old friend after many years, even though I had “just met them” last night on my television.

Kudos to you for your groundbreaking work so long ago. I will definitely be buying the commemorative DVD.

Mark Newsome

Word is Out music

I am looking forward to the updated “The Word...”, the original of which I just viewed on TCM network, can I get any/ALL the great music from that great flick.

Best regards,
C.K. Favreau

Thanks for the kind words! I'm sorry to say, that the music for the film is a bit scattered now. You would have to find the original Trish Nugent LP and I believe there are MP3's of some of Buena Vista's music up on websites. There's a little interview with the writer of the song "It's Okay" (in the film, "He's Okay"). You can read it here
and here.

Female Singer in Word is Out

Who sang the beautiful haunting song that opened the film?is there a recording? Did she record anything else?


That would be Trish Nugent whose album FOXGLOVE WOMAN contains the song "Were You There" that's found at the beginning of WORD IS OUT. It was published by Olivia Records. More information can be found here.

Word is Out seen on TCM

Wow, I just happened to see the beginning of this movie last night on TCM! ( I had to check the schedule to verify I wasn't watching LOGO or DOC channel---for some reason, TCM was a surprise channel for this, at least to me!) This movie was terrific, both heart-wrenching in an understated way, and even hilarious---especially the vignette when the guy told his dad to get a whole pack of cigarettes when the dad told him he'd have the serious chat after he got a cig! I felt so bad for the people who were so scared for so long, and who have felt scared all their lives. We are a pitiful bunch of creatures to our fellow humans. My younger son came out to me at age 15, and I am so glad I did not chastise him. Honestly, I did not mind him being gay---it's just another way of being human! His friends have, some of them, been disowned, subjected to abuse, and other hideous treatment. That grieves me to no end.
Well, enough about me---but the movie brought out so many emotions. I was a college girl in 1977, and I will say now that gay discos were the place to be---better sound systems and play lists than the regular discos in our area of Madison, Wisconsin! I used to go to them with my best friend, and we may have been perceived as a couple, so we danced together like mad and had a blast. Sadly, one night after we left, we encountered a fellow looking for his retainer that had been knocked out of his mouth when some self-righteous frat boys smacked him in the face. We helped him find it---it had been broken. My friend and I were so angry for him, and also felt helpless to give him any hope. Have things improved at all? I hear such negativity by people in power.
Sorry to ramble, but that movie brought back so many feelings from that time. Sincerely, Nancy Huber

Word is Out

The movie was enlightening...still fresh after all these years. I am very curious about the lives of those chosen for the documentary, where are they and what have they done with themelves over the past thirty years?
To all ....Thank You,
Michael W.

Word is Out seen in Hartford

In Hartford, where I live.

I was six years old in 1977, and while I knew some of the culture of
that era from books, from talking to women at Michigan Womyn's Music
Festival or in potluck circles, it's so immediate seeing it on the

Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this work, and I'm so glad
it's being redistributed for new audiences.

As they said so often in the film, it was 'right on!'


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lucy Massie Phenix in COLOR Magazine

Color Magazine. Click here to read the interview with Mariposa Film Group's Lucy Massie Phenix.

"At the time we just knew there were stories in the gay community that weren't being told, but that needed to be told. It was a very exciting time, and it's just as exciting all these years later to think people are still watching the movie and finding something they can identify with from these wonderful people. It's thrilling."

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Word is Out maintains its power by presenting its subjects as neither heroes nor martyrs -- just regular folks trying to make their way in the world."

Hollywood News review

Hollywood News: "You must see this movie. You must!"

GreenCine review

GreenCine review: "This terrifically produced new DVD... offers an equally terrific package of Bonus Features (you could spend a whole day with this DVD!): Word is Out, Then and Now: Thirty Years Later, featuring both the filmmakers and some of the participants, is a must. Seeing and hearing these people now is a lovely experience and, at the end of this feature, seeing those lost to AIDS and time, is a particularly moving one."

Word Is Out in Bay Area Reporter

Bay Area Reporter review is here.
"What is especially admirable about each person is his/her courage."

How Word Is Out helped make history...

Read about Word Is Out's moment in history when it showed 30 years ago in the Netherlands. Click here.

Philip Martin in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Philip Martin in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives may be the most important movie you’ve never heard of, much less seen. It was the first feature length documentary about gay people, made by gay people, and one of the first to treat homosexuality as a naturally occurring phenomenon

WORD IS OUT playing in Hartford, CT this week!

WORD IS OUT playing in Hartford, CT this week!

View the schedule here.

Jeffrey Anderson in Combustible Celluloid

"Warmly, heartbreakingly human..."

Read the review here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rob Epstein interviewed in Windy City News

An interview with Mariposa Film Group's Rob Epstein to celebrate the DVD release of WORD IS OUT. Read it here!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's review in The Onion's AV Club

Read the full review here.

Except: Word Is Out staggers its interviews with a few musical interludes and slice-of-life vignettes, and the interviews themselves are cut together so they flow as one long, engrossing narrative. But again, the personal moments and anecdotes stand out more than the attempts to find commonalities. It’s fascinating to listen to wry old lesbian Pat Bond talk about the butch culture of the army (before hundreds of lesbians were dishonorably discharged in one infamous sweep), and how for all the refreshing openness of the ’70s, she misses the illicit romances and clearly defined codes of the past. Similarly, George Mendenhall weeps while talking about the feeling of freedom when he discovered New York gay bars in the ’50s, and how his friends would stand up to the cops by putting their arms around each other and singing, “God Save Us Nelly Queens.” The Mariposa Group contrasts that with young people realizing that now, out in the open with their sexuality and relationships, they’ll have to make their own rules for what gay romances and gay families should look like. Thanks to Word Is Out, those kinds of problems were made just a little easier for the generations that followed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thank you for helping to bring this film back into my life

I picked up a copy of the DVD at Amoeba on Haight Street in San Francisco. Thanks!

Several times yesterday when I talked about the impact that the film had upon me tears came to my eyes. I also had cried when I told the film makers the same story after the movie was screened at the Gay And Lesbian Film Festival a couple of years ago. And that is how as a Gay man of 18 or 19 years I had seen the film in Minneapolis, on a local PBS station. I was blown away! I hoped that my future could be as bright and wonderful as what I saw in that film....then a friend said that he was moving to San Francisco and would I like to move with him. That was in late September or early October of 1978. I said yes. (I went to my first Gay bar in Des Moines, Iowa with that friend. That was the day that we first met, and after that we would become roommates, but never more than just very good friends.)
I would have to study the film to find out if there are stronger clues now, but I do not recall being struck by the fact that a whole lot of the film was shot in San Francisco. Imagine my surprise then when I started meeting and becoming friends with people in the movie. What came first was going to see Pat Bond in her one woman production about Gertrude Stein. And then Tede Matthews and I became very close friends next. Years later I would meet and become very close with Harry Hay and John Burnside.
How is that for tear inducing wish fulfillment?!!!

Thank you for helping to bring this film back into my life,

Bruce E. Beaudette

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DVD reviewed by Provincetown Banner

By Howard Karren

“Word Is Out,” the landmark documentary about the lives of 26 articulate gay men and lesbians — ordinary yet extraordinary, joyfully out, ethnically diverse and movingly candid. The film, put together by the Mariposa Film Group, a collective of gay filmmakers, was released in 1977 (and later broadcast on PBS) and had a profound and dramatic effect on the public perception of gay life. Now, 33 years later, it is finally being released on DVD, along with some remarkable bonus material, including interviews with many of the original participants today and memorials to those who have since died. “Word Is Out” is an unforgettable film, relevant to audiences young and old, straight and gay.

DVD Beaver review of WORD IS OUT

Click here to read the review and see frame clips in DVD Beaver.

"This remains impacting and viable piece of cinema and the DVD release is an important one that we wholly endorse."

Word is Out dvd reviewed in

"Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977), then, is a gift, not just a film preserved and sold as product, but a piece of the 20th century that will now never quite fade completely from view."
To read the review, click here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

deg farrelly's story

Oh my ....

I was out... But not to my parents. I'd been active in the gay liberation movement for 6 years or so, having started the student organization at Illinois State University in November 1971. (By the way, the same group, after several name changes, is STILL there, and STILL funded by student fees.... I think it may be one of, if not the, oldest college/university gay organizations is continual operation.)

But I digress.

I was thru college, thru grad school, and living on my own in York, Pennsylvania in my first professional job when I heard of Word Is Out being released. I'm guessing I heard about it at the American Library Association Social Responsibilities Roundtable session at the ALA convention that summer....

Anyway, I learned that it was going to be aired on PBS. So I decided to use it as a means of coming out to my parents who lived in a Chicago suburb. I sent them a letter, telling them that the film would be on TV on whatever night it was being broadcast.... And asked them to watch, as I thought they would learn about me, if they did so.

I didn't hear from them after that.... For many weeks.... Eventually, I got a letter from my mom, that she and Dad had watched it, (and The Naked Civil Servant, which apparently aired immediately afterwards). And that they weren't surprised.

That's all I recall of the letter. We never discussed it, the film, the letter, or my being gay again.

deg farrelly, Phoenix, AZ

DVD Verdict reviews the WORD IS OUT dvd!

DVD Verdict reviews the brand-new WORD IS OUT dvd here!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Meeting Whitey

1977, I saw "Out" in S.F. and recognized Whitey. I had rub into her in New York City, in 1963 or was it 64? I was coming home from work and got off at Sheridan Square up town subway station. As I approached the exit turnstile, I heard a girl crying loudly. She looked like a 15-16 year old Whitey, w/ the same long hair and she ran from the turnstile toward the accelerating train. I stopped her and asked what was wrong. Over the noise of the departing train, I thought she said, "my mother hates me." Then clearly, "she told me how ugly I am."

I wanted to comfort her & offer her my apt, as a sanctuary but I was living w/ a fascinating bi dyke (10yrs older). While trying to think of what to do, an Italian straight looking man in his upper 20's took over. I wonder if W remembers me, a 5'6" Asian boy of 15.

BTW That station is across the street from the 1969 Stonewall, which was just around the corner from Village Voice, they did NOT cover 1969 historic event.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank you...

I just made a donation, but I also wanted to send a thank you note. I have seen Word Is Out many times--I saw it for the first time the day it opened. All those brave, beautiful people, my people, telling their stories--it was lovely and moving and wonderful.

I look forward to receiving my copy. Thank you so much for your good, important, and wonderful work. Wendy Caster

Word is Out is on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show, 1/28/10

Listen to David Gillon and Veronica Selver talk about WORD IS OUT on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show.

Milliarium Zero to release WORD IS OUT on DVD

Milliarium Zero, the sister company of distributor Milestone Film & Video will be releasing the DVD of WORD IS OUT in late Spring, 2010. Contact Dennis Doros at for more information! Institutional sales are available now.

Come see Word is Out at the Anthology Film Archives, NYC!

Come see the New York theatrical premiere of the restored Word is Out at the Anthology Film Archive starting Friday, January 29, 2010!

Time Out New York article on January 27, 2010

Here is Beth Greenfield's article on Word is Out in the Time Out New York

New York Times article, January 24, 2010!

Here is Dennis Lim's article on Word is Out

Village Voice review, January 27, 2010

Here is a new article by the critic Melissa Anderson

Word is Out is now on Facebook!

Become a fan of "Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives" on Facebook!

Peter Adair at KQED

I have such fond memories of Peter when I worked at KQED with him. (Whenever I see a photo or film about rattlesnakes I always think of Peter and that terrifying scene in his anthropological documentary that he filmed in the deep south. I was so pleased and delighted to read about the rebirth of WORD IS OUT in the NY Times. And then I was overjoyed to be able to see Peter once again in the film clip promoting the movie. Blessed luck and congratulations to you all!

Hi Nancy!

Robert Zagone

Monday, December 15, 2008

Word Is Out is out on DVD. Watch the Trailer!

Required Viewing for Gay Adults (or those ready to become one!)

I just attended the Legacy Project at the Los Angeles Outfest 2008, and this is the first time I had ever even heard of this movie. I am almost 40 years old, and I am in the age group that was just too young for Stonewall, survived the circuit party scene and living through the AIDS epidemic.

It brings such a wide range of emotions into the forefront of ones conscientiousness, it should be considered a movement unto itself and repeated for every generation of gays to come. They say that a good movie is one that is talked about when you leave the theater. What about one that is talked about for days or weeks after you leave the theater. I will be sharing my experiences with everyone I know because everyone I know will be able to identify with some part of this movie.

Even though I am a gay man, who could not have identified with the hispanic lesbian in the first scene. The discomfort that she shows, the lack of complete eye contact, and her scratching at her arms. That discomfort is something that we all have faced at one time or another due to our lack of understanding of what it means to be gay, or who might know we are gay. Further on into the movie, when she sees that her blouse is unbuttoned, she buttons it up, but then unbottons the top botton instead-Brilliant! Her accceptance of who she is, and who we all are, can be summed up in those split seconds. It might have provided some comic relief initially, but the realization of not knowing why or who we might be and then becoming comfortable with who we really are can be profound.

Bravo to all the filmakers!
Brent Viklund,

Easy to Understand

I am part of the straight audience for whom I expect much of the educational element of the film was aimed. I remember seeing this film sometime after 1978, on TV, when I had just moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I knew almost nothing about homosexuality at the time.

I remember particularly the young man who said he had never been in love, and then in college suddenly developed a crush on another young man. I had had heterosexual crushes on various people in my teen years, and the lightbulb went on, "oh, THAT'S how it works!" I suddenly realized two things -- that gays couldn't select who they were attracted to any more than I could, and that I didn't want the young man in the documentary to have to live without love in his life. The message was so easy to understand, I was just sorry that the film didn't have wider distribution during the following 30 years.


Friday, December 14, 2007

This Is My Story

I saw Word Is Out for the first time at the Varsity Theater in Palo Alto in autumn 1977. After two years on Capitol Hill I had returned to the Bay Area to (as I told myself) "give heterosexuality one more chance." (Surely I'm the only person in history to return to Northern California to go straight, but that's what happens when you grow up in the Kentucky hills: you get some weird ideas.) I wept through the last third of the film. After it was over I went back to the hippie communal house in which I was living and grabbed my best friend – Haney Armstrong – and said: You have to watch this, this is my story. And thus was precipitated Haney's introduction to Peter and his work.*

I wrote Peter's obituary for the Sunday SF Examiner and I remember one quotation from my interview with Peter. I knew he was dying, and I knew I would write his obituary, so I walked over to his house in Bernal Heights and sat down with him and said, "Peter, I'm going to write your obituary and I want you to tell me what you want me to say." As you know, Peter was the kind of rare bird with whom one could have such a conversation. And, being Peter, he warmed immediately to the task. "Why did you make Word Is Out?" I asked, and he responded with something to the effect of, "I set out to create and shape a gay and lesbian consciousness."

Of course the film was a collaborative effort, and Peter knew that as well as anyone. At the same time that he was never one for false modesty and he knew perfectly well that on one's deathbed one may legitimately claim a certain...generosity of memory. And there's enough truth in his statement that I kept it and used it in the obituary.

I am so very glad that you are bringing Word Is Out to the attention of a new generation, many of whom have never seen it or heard of it. It will serve them as well as it served us.

Best of luck, many bows to all of you,
Fenton Johnson,

*Editor's note: Haney Armstrong became Peter's business partner a few years later.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Daring Cinematic Breakthrough

I was serving as Executive Director of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in 1973 when Peter Adair called to make an appointment to see me. Someone had referred him to me as a person who might have some helpful contacts for his newest project. Peter had in mind a 20-minute video about gay and lesbian people that could be shown in schools as a way of countering negative stereotypes. He and I talked about his idea and the more we talked, the more the concept grew. I urged Peter to think about making a feature length documentary of interviews with people from all over the country. He worried about raising considerably more money than he had originally planned. I told him I thought the time was right for a daring cinematic breakthrough. It was, I thought, an idea that many people would get behind, with their contacts and their money. When Peter left the CRH office, I think he was pretty well convinced his idea for an "educational film" could be expanded and have a much broader impact, given the diversity of people in the gay and lesbian community.

After putting together the brilliant Mariposa Film Group, Peter completed a film that soared beyond all expectations, full of emotion and wisdom, laughter and tears. I received a one-sheet for the film, which I framed. It has given me pleasure for four decades and counting.

In 2006, I showed my VHS tape of Word Is Out as part of a documentary film series I programmed at my local church, a predominately LGBT United Church of Christ congregation. Only two other people present had ever seen the film. When the lights came up, eyes were teary and folks were clearly in awe of the accomplishment of the Mariposa Film Group so many years ago. I am thrilled that new audiences will get to see Word Is Out . I hope the new DVD will gain the widest possible distribution.

Thank you all so much for bringing Word Is Out back to life and to new generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgezander people, our families and friends.

Rev. Bill Johnson, Ed.D.,

Your Movie Changed My Life

I am thrilled to learn that you are releasing a 30th anniversary edition of Word Is Out , and I have sent a donation. Your movie changed my life. I had just graduated from a small college in Appalachia, still a virgin and struggling to come out. I drove four hours to Washington, DC--where no one would know me--to see the film. I can't begin to tell you how I felt as I watched it. I knew for the first time in my life that I was not alone. I remember as the lights came up, being afraid someone would see me crying. It was a long drive back to my hometown, but I finally knew who I was, and spent the next few months finding others like me--and being amazed that there were so many nearby. It became a joyful year of self-discovery.

Years later, when I was working at The American Film Institute in LA, I had the good fortune to meet Peter Adair and thank him. Recently I found an original poster for the movie, had it linen mounted and added to my collection of favorite movie posters.

I am very curious to know what became of those wonderful men and women featured in the film. They unwittingly became by heroes and role-models. I am sure I will be saddened by some of what I learn, but I hope your 30th anniversary DVD will shed some light on the future of those beautiful people.

I've been happily out for three decades and I have a very good life now with my partner of 23 years. It is not an overstatement to say that Word Is Out played a big part in my finding happiness.

Thank you to everyone involved in the creation of Word Is Out ... then and now.

Ron Geatz,

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Could Be Who I Felt I Was

I first saw Word Is Out in 1981; I was a high school senior in small-town Essex Junction, Vermont, and was dating a Harvard freshman who was active in the gay student organization there. Word Is Out was one of the featured films at their annual G/L pride week.

The film had an incredible impact on me -- it was my first exposure to the diversity of our community, after having had the 'I'm the only one' feeling for so many years. It helped me realize I could be who I felt I was and did not have to be constrained by any one stereotype. Later, in my travels, I came across the Word Is Out book in a used bookstore, and snapped it up. Each portrait brought back memories of being seventeen years old and the expansive awe I had first felt when watching the film.

Zoom forward almost twenty years. I'm still living in Vermont and become friends with a local guy, Freddy, who, after one confusing connecting-the-dots conversation years into our friendship, I discover is Freddy from the film! 'I have a book with you in it!'

We recently celebrated his 60th birthday, at which I put up copies of his portrait from the book. I joke with him that I met him twenty years before he met me.

Jay Schuster,

Indelibly Printed In My Memory

I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to the late Peter Adair and the Mariposa Film Group for making this landmark film. I was an 18-year-old high school senior when Word Is Out was released, in heavy denial about being gay, and sheltered, shy, and naive to boot. I saw the film on my local PBS station, which screened it at least three times that month. I watched it every time -- once with my Mom and twice secretly down in the basement on the grainy black and white TV. I didn't want my folks to know how riveted I was by the movie (as if my Mom couldn't tell!).

When my Mom asked me what I thought of the film, I didn't know how much there was behind that question. I didn't know that the counselor I had seen in junior high school had told her he suspected I was homosexual (without discussing the subject with me), or that she had long harbored suspicions of her own. I do remember that I panicked, and said something about how the film showed how important it was for all people to have equal rights in society, or something to that effect. And I remember that we talked for a while about some of the people in the film and how moving, funny, or tragic their stories were. I was trying to be calm, but inside I was bursting with exuberance (to have found others like me), grief (over the torture some of them had endured), and confusion (about what gay life would mean for me). But more than anything, I was elated that this film existed.

I especially loved the diversity of the people interviewed and their leadership by example. The women and men of Word Is Out taught me more clearly than anyone I had known how ordinary people could become absolutely heroic by virtue of who they are and the lives they lead. They gave me hope, for the first time, that I could have a loving relationship and a meaningful life as a gay man. They taught me that my tribe had a living history deserving of deep, abiding respect, and that lesbian and gay identity was inextricably tied to all the political debates that were (and still are) raging around race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, age, and nationalism. They taught me that there is no single way to be as a gay man or lesbian, and that a whole world of possibilities existed. And they taught me that in this living, organic civil rights movement, much work remained to be done, and the path ahead would not be a clear one.

The faces and voices of the "cast" of Word Is Out were indelibly printed in my memory and I have never forgotten any of them (including my crushes on David and Dennis!). They inspired me as a budding gay activist in college, and in the decades since. I had the great pleasure of meeting Betty Powell about five years ago, and have often wondered what became of the others in the film. I look forward to hearing their stories and hope that these many years have found them happy, fulfilled, and pleased to know that their strength and courage have inspired countless others worldwide to live open and proud lives as LGBT people in the quest for full and equal rights.

Doug Edelson,

A Great Cheer Went Up

I was an 18 year old freshman at UMass/Amherst, and I saw a screening of Word Is Out offered by the gay student group. One of the people interviewed in the film is a UMass student, and he is shown outside of the Student Union building, a building which we all saw every day. When that shot appeared, a great cheer went up in the movie theater. I felt for the first time the tremendous power of coming out, and how as more and more people came out of the closet it would change our world forever.

I also remembered that the student interviewed in the movie was carrying on a long distance relationship with a man he had met off campus. I had just had a wonderful sexual experience with a man from Boston, and the film inspired me to have the courage to call him up and tell him I'd like to continue seeing him.

David Finkelstein,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hoping Times Have Changed

I remember eagerly turning on the TV to see Word Is Out , which was listed on the daily paper, only to find the station had replaced it with rock concert footage. It was not even an actual program, just pure footage. No explanation, no apology.

I hope times have changed.

When I finally got to see it I noted that one of the most important figures interviewed in the film is Harry Hay, original founder of the gay rights movement with the Mattachine Society in 1950 and later founder of the Radical Faeries in 1979.

I think of Harry as our George Washington, possessing a level of courage I can hardly imagine for myself.

Alan SF,

Friday, May 11, 2007

Word Is Out Makes a Mark on Europe

In 1980 the movie Word Is Out was shown in the European Youth Centre in Strasburg, France. It was presented in the framework of The Conference on Intolerance in Europe. The Dutch delegation had brought it along to the conference, organized by the Council of Europe and European youth organisations. The conference dealt with a broad range of intolerances, anti-Semitism, racism, the German Berufsverbote.

The Dutch delegation raised the topic of intolerance against homosexuals, at the time a still underdeveloped theme on the level of the Council of Europe and in the organised youth structures of Europe.

We thought that the movie Word Is Out could give a nice introduction to the theme also for a European young audience.

We hired a copy through the Dutch distributor of Word Is Out and took it along to Strasburg.

We arranged a showing in the centre’s viewing room and made a handwritten announcement on a poster board in the hall of the centre.

To our great indignation we found out, when we returned from a conference session outside the Centre that the Dutch permanent representative to the Council of Europe, Mr Jan Breman, had tore off the poster and crumpled it up, uttering screams like ”a shame, scandalous” and worse. He threw the crumpled poster in a corner and headed for the Director of the centre to lecture him.

A staff member of the Centre with a great sense for history had saved the crumpled paper and handed it over to me giving me all the details of the enragement of the Dutch permanent representative (= ambassador). His behaviour was so much more surprising as the Dutch foreign policy had already committed itself to equal treatment for gays and lesbians.

The participants of the conference reacted with indignation, but the showing went on that same evening. The head of the Dutch Delegation Ad Melkert (who himself is not a gay man, and is now working for United Nations Development Programme in New York) on behalf of the members of the Dutch delegation addressed Mr Breman and suggested to him that he apologize, case closed.

But Mr. Breman refused and once more caused indignation with the other members of the Dutch delegation and among the participants of the conference. One of the members of the delegation (Jan Herman Veenker, a well known Dutch gay activist and in later years AIDS activist) contacted his MP (Member of Parliament) in The Hague and the next day the matter was raised in the Dutch Parliament. The Dutch Foreign Minister of those days, Chris van der Klaauw, swiftly reacted and summoned Breman to withdraw from the conference at once. The Dutch government had been one of the initiators of the Conference and could not tolerate that it should fall short of expectations or worse fail.

The conference adopted a document that included homosexuality as a behaviour that should not lead any longer to intolerant attitudes.

The whole incident even had a greater impact. The day after the conference I received a mysterious phone call from the Secretariat of the Council of Europe. The secretary to the Political Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council, told me he had followed the incident with great interest and asked me to take up contact with a Dutch Member of the Assembly who was just preparing the first political document in an International governmental structure (the Council of Europe). The MP, Mr Joop Voogd was reported ill at the time and the secretary of the political committee had found out that conservative colleagues of Mr. Voogd tried to kill the document in his absence. He urged me to warn mr Voogd to have the vote postponed in committee in order to save the document. It all worked out well, the document was saved and is to my knowledge the first time that a very well respected international governmental human rights organisation took a positive stand on LGBT rights.

Mr Breman was transferred to his next diplomatic post in Saudi Arabia. According to Dutch foreign office circles it was considered a heavy punishment for him and even more for his glamorous wife.

Well Word Is Out!

For myself the whole story was the beginning of a long period of international gay activism, but that's another story!

Hein Verkerk Amsterdam, Blog

Coming Full Circle

I was a junior at Duke University in 1979 and miserable with loneliness. I had friends and acquaintances but nobody to talk to about my feelings of affection for guys. Then some flyers went up on campus for the movie, it was going to be shown by the campus gay group and I hadn’t even heard of them before. Back then the stigma of coming out was strong, and even mysterious. Because so few people were out then, the possibility of coming out wasn’t widely known on campus. I went to see the film, sat alone in the back row, and cried my way through it. I immediately felt relief and knew that things were going to start making sense for me. I attended the next meeting of the gay group, came out of my closet and never looked back. Eventually I made my way to San Francisco and even had a chance to work with Rob and Jeffrey on The Celluloid Closet. That was a full circle.

Willi Wolf,

Finding Role Models

I was in my early forties, and was out to no one, not even myself.
Okay, I'd enjoyed furtive gay sex, but could not accept that I was
gay, simply because no role models were available, apart from a
couple of very effeminate comedians on British television - and I
STILL hate "Are you being served?". which I know is a favourite of
many of my gay friends in the USA, simply because the John Inman
character effectively helped keep me in the closet for more years
than were necessary.

And then, out of curiosity, I went to see Word Is Out. There, up
on the screen, was a selection of lesbians and gay men who were 'normal', who were like me, and with whom I could thus identify, even if they were American and I am British. I just cannot express my gratitude to the makers and distributors of this movie. They helped open the door for me to a very fulfilling life as a gay man. I hope that, in turn, my witness can help other younger gay men and lesbians.

Bernard Bucan,

A Prized Possession

I had already been a gay activist for a dozen years when I first saw
Word Is Out. I loved the film, because of its professionalism, its
message, its likely public appeal, the memorable stories of its cast
members, and the fact that I knew and respected some of them.

Later, when an older activist friend of mine died in the late 1980s, I
was fortunate enough to receive his framed copy of the beautifully
designed Word Is Out poster, which I still prize.

A lot of things were happening in the late 1970s--for instance, I recently observed the 30th anniversary of taking part in the first White House meeting on gay rights--but I hadn't realized until now that Word Is Out is already 30 years old, too. I'm delighted to know of the forthcoming DVD and will be glad to help with a contribution.

William B. Kelley,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Wasn't Alone

It was either 1977 or 1978, and I was home alone. I would've been 16 or 17 at that point, and was living in Chicago with my parents, and was scared to death. Nothing felt right, and I had strange feelings, and I could NOT bring myself to get interested in playing with girls.

Flipping through channels (we only had about a half-dozen back then, in the pre-cable-TV days), I ran across Word Is Out just starting on Chicago's PBS station, WTTW.

I was so mesmerized I forgot to sit down for a good twenty minutes; I just kept standing there, watching the screen.

About halfway through Word Is Out , I started crying, because I realized I Wasn't Alone. There were other people in the world who Felt Like Me, and it was called Being Gay, and it wasn't A Terrible Thing. (Teenagers think a lot in Capital Letters.)

I think I cried for a good two hours, because after the first set of tears dried, and the documentary was over, I realized "OK, I'm gay. Now what?" and started crying again.

I won't go into the story here of how I ended up being outed to my parents (the local gay men's health clinic did it by accident) and moving to San Francisco.

I will say that if I hadn't seen Word Is Out when I did, it's not an exaggeration to say I probably would have ended up as another teenage suicide statistic.

Thank you for producing the film 30 years ago. I can't tell you enough how much it's touched my life, and changed me for the better.

Allan Hurst,

All I knew of homosexuality was "faggot"

I was reading about Peter Adair on Wikpedia of all places and then realized; "Hey! I saw that thing on Public TV - on an antennae TV - as a kid and it profoundly influenced my interactions with gay people."
I am not gay but when I saw that show I remember being very intrigued with the subject.

I was raised in a very macho military culture and all I knew of homosexuality was "faggot" "queer" to the point that as a small child I had thoughts that all faggots should be killed. That show pretty much altered that thought process immediately. I think I was open to it but needed to see it in order to explore my own individuality and embrace my quirks and accept and embrace the quirks of others.

I had forgotten how influential that show had been on me. It's a great movie that should be required viewing. Young gay people are dying in droves because they are so ostracized by the people they grew up loving. Maybe if their families saw Word is Out
I support your project and only wish you could reach those young people in crisis. I just read a piece online where a young girl was outed as bisexual and was rejected by her family and then she killed herself. This is devastating to me that something so harmless as individual sexuality carries such weight.


Furtive Glances

I remember sneaking furtive glances of this as a kid, trying to have the TV volume loud enough to be "normal" (to avoid the "hey, waddya doin' theah?" shout through the wall), but not too loud ("what the hell ah ye watchin'?")

I wasn't thinking "this is me", but I felt drawn to it...even as it scared the shite out of me. I was 13.

John P Egan, Vancouver BC