This leads me to think that, for all that my husband is focused on his family of origin, in-laws, nieces and nephews, etc., and for all that his family is accepting of him and of our relationship, there are aspects of our experience that remain misunderstood by family, and therefore it is necessary for us to seek out reflections of out particular experiences in friendships with gay people, as well as well as through gay-themed films and literature. For my part, I still struggle with resentment over the way I was treated in my family of origin, so a little family--mine or anyone else's--goes a long way for me.
The first film we watched was Judas Kiss (2011). This was a fantasy in which a failed actor and director (who had been through rehab at least once since moving to Hollywood) is called upon to judge a film competition at his alma mater, only to find that the most promising contestant bears his own birth name and has entered a film whose title is the same as his own first student film. Hints from other characters indicate that he has a chance to intervene in the life of the contestant, thereby offering him a better future than he has enjoyed so far himself.
The film is the first feature by someone whose previous work was on short films, and I found it to be full of approaches that might be more suitable for short films. Nonetheless, it contained some food for thought, such as the fact that the student film entry in the competition is a quasi-autobiographical account of a sexually abusive, widower father and his son. (The topic of sexual abuse, naturally, makes me think of X.) In addition, the writer and director, who is openly gay, seems to be interested in drawing attention to younger gay performers, such as a Belgian singer and actor Timo Descamps (who performs briefly in a shoot for a Lady-Gaga-esque music video), and Sean Paul Lockhart (a.k.a. Brent Corrigan), whom I recognized as a well-known porn actor.
Lockhart's appearance in the film made me curious to find out what he had been up to recently. In reading his Wikipedia bio, I was reminded of his controversial past, and I was able to see how elements of his biography had been woven into the Judas Kiss film. I also found out about a book that came out last summer that deals with the murder of the former director of the porn films in which Lockhart got his start. I ended up purchasing a Kindle version of the book, and it's quite a story.
The second film we saw was The Green (also 2011), which is about a gay private-school teacher and his boyfriend, who move from New York to a town in Connecticut. (The film was shot in Guilford, Connecticut.) It features a somewhat predictable scenario in which a sympathetic teacher shows concern for a troubled student and is then accused of molestation. As things progress, it turns out that the student's mother's boyfriend, who is also the school janitor, is the real culprit, but trust and relationships are damaged through the process of the accusation of the teacher and its processing through the legal system.
Perhaps because this film touched on themes that are more directly related to my department at the university, I found it somewhat difficult to watch. As I woke up this morning, I found that I was flooded with hatred and contempt for my department. I have noticed feelings like this intensifying from time to time since my soon-to-be-former colleague (who was also department head when I was hired) was put on leave pending the state police investigation into allegations of improper sexual conduct with students. It seems to me that, when someone who has evidently caused a lot of damage to a department is possibly finally to be held accountable, it makes a lot of sense that buried anger and frustration over the damaged reputation of the department as a whole will surface from time to time. As I look toward this coming academic year, I think I should be okay so long as I stick with my spiritual practices and give myself lots and lots of space from potentially uncomfortable social situations on campus and in general.