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F a talk with joan rivers is she as nuts as you think? p 4 F athletes coming out the latest on sporting attitudes F cops and trans-people improving understanding p 16 maine’s gbltq community & you | fall 2013

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Fall highlights, including the film star coming to Maine _by Christopher Gray | p 24

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InterrogatIng the FashIon PolIce OIM asks Joan RiveRs, ‘Can we talk?’ _by An th o n y G i Am p et r u zzi

F

For anyone in the know, the words “Can we talk?” belong to one of the most enduring comediennes of our time. Joan Rivers is also one of the hardest-working; at 80, she continues to be as au courant now as she was in the ’60s and ’70s, when she first became a hit on TV. Her persistent popularity is largely because of her ability to harness social media — and to maintain her fork-tongued wit from which no one is immune in a vernacular that every generation just seems to get. No other female funny person would have ever dared panning Elizabeth Taylor for her rotundity or Elizabeth II for, well, whatever Royal Family sour flavor was of the moment back in the ’70s and ’80s when she hit her first career high. Today, with several hit shows on cable and the Internet, she still takes aim at anyone who annoys her — and she still does it a way that’s relevant and current. Emmy-award-winning television talk-show host, Tony-award-nominated actress, bestselling author, playwright, screenwriter, film director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host, jewelry designer, cosmeticcompany entrepreneur, and red-carpet fashion laureate. Would you believe that Rivers has more than two million followers on Twitter? For most current fans, perhaps her notoriety began with the creation of her Live from the Red Carpet for the E! Network (1996-2004), which shape-shifted more recently into the network’s popular and successful franchise Fashion Police, including both hour-long weekly broadcasts and awards-season specials. Each episode is a recap of the week’s celebrity fashion, and Rivers ultimately decides who has conquered with grace or failed miserably. She has also been a dominant personality in the world of reality television: she is particularly proud of the weekly hit series on WEtv, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best, in which she perpetuates her now well-known, wacky relationship with her daughter, Melissa. The pair’s shenanigans were probably most widely showcased when they appeared, together, as contestants on Celebrity Apprentice. Rivers, in her late 70s, took the top prize in the 2009 season, and donated her haul to God’s Love We Deliver, a New York City-based organization that provides meals to people living with HIV/AIDS. Most recently she launched the hysterical online talk show In Bed With Joan because, as she says, “I love nothing more than just sitting around and interviewing people: I really can’t do it on Fashion Police because it’s all about fashion, and I can’t do it on Joan and Melissa because that’s all reality. But, I just want to sit in bed and talk to them!” Them are A- to D-list celebrities. Some of the more Continued on p 6

After decAdes in show biz, joAn rivers still hAs An entertAining goAl: ‘i just wAnt to sit in bed And tAlk to people!’


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Continued from p 4

recent notables include Alyssa Milano (think Charmed and Who’s The Boss) and Lance Bass (um, ’N Sync and gay gadabout). Check ’em out at inbedwithjoan.com — Entertainment Weekly is among those who recommend the show, naming it a “Must See” in September. To be sure, no one is spared of Rivers’s sardonic brand of humor, and certainly not her gay fans, whom she acknowledges are one of her strongest and loyal bases. As she prepares for a swing through New England with a live date at Merrill Auditorium on Saturday, November 21, Rivers (amazingly) found some to speak with Out in Maine. JoAn rivers So, what are we discussing tonight, Boston? Out in Maine Well, we can. But it would be great to talk about Portland. Have you performed in Maine? Jr Of course I’ve performed in Maine. I can’t tell you the date because I’m always going somewhere, but I adore Maine because people in general just don’t really know how great Maine is. So let’s just keep it that way. OiM It’s strange that people still think of the state as a best-kept secret, especially now that Portland has become such a hit on every top-ten list in the universe. Is there anything about your fans in Maine that sets them apart? Jr Well, I have to tell you, everyone is exactly alike now. With television and the Internet, it’s no longer a problem for me that “oh, they won’t understand that joke in Tennessee” or “In Maine you can’t talk about blah blah;” everything is so “one world” now. OiM So, this obviously won’t be your first time in Portland? Jr Oh, no no. I have friends who I visit in the summer who live right outside of Portland, and I think it’s a wonderful city. And, one of my assistants is from Kennebunkport, so I’m a Maine lady. I love it, It’s so gorgeous there. OiM Being an expert on fashion, what are your thoughts on the togs people are sporting in the Pine Tree State? It’s definitely not a red carpet kinda place. Jr Well, I’d have to take a look — you’re putting me on the spot. Is there something I should know? When I played Maine last time, I wasn’t doing Fashion Police. What I do love about wherever I am is that people come up to me on the street and stop me and ask me how they look. When they do that, they are really asking for it. Generally, I just have to say, “What do you think?” OiM When people recognize you on the streets in places like Maine do they torture you with questions and requests for photos? Jr Actually, most people are very lovely. You know, everyone knows who I am; I’ve been around for so long that a lot of people have just grown up with me; and that’s kind of nice in a way. OiM Gay men have been one of your largest fans bases since the beginning of time. And, it’s been a huge couple of years for us, most recently with the advances around gay marriage . . . Jr I’ve actually been performing gay marriages, so I am very aware of that. I think gay marriage is great. But, just remember guys, after gay marriage comes gay divorce! You’ll see, it’s not so wonderful when you have to give him half of everything! Or, it’s not so wonderful when you have to start

to support him. Just be careful! But really, we have so many bigger fish to fry these days. Who?! Cares?! You know, I’ve always lived in New York City, and I’ve been in show business and it’s never meant a damn thing to me. Who cares? OiM What did you think of the Pope recently telling his flock to, for the most part, just leave gay people alone? Jr I think it’s adorable. I mean, it’s about time. Even though I’m Jewish, I came from a very Catholic neighborhood, and it’s wonderful to see the church trying to move into the 21st century. Good for him! I think he’s a terrific Pope. And, besides, you need gay men in the church to make it look good — who’s gonna do the altar flowers? Let’s get real. OiM You’ve also been an enormous advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. When you won Celebrity Apprentice, your charity was God’s Love We Deliver, which got $250,000 when you beat poker player Annie Duke. Jr And now we’re breaking ground on our new building. Do you know when I started to get involved with the organization, we were delivering food to AIDS victims on bicycles? Do you understand how small that charity was? They’d take like three meals around and people were like, “oooh, that’s so nice!” Now, we deliver over 5000 meals a day. It’s an amazing charity, and New York has embraced it so much. I’m surprised it hasn’t gone national. We have to keep expanding because, thank god, AIDS has become a chronic disease. So, we now do it for anyone who is housebound. AIDS really did change so radically over the last ten years, thank god! OiM Of all your TV projects, which is your favorite right now? Jr I adore Fashion Police, and I adore In Bed with Joan, and I adore Joan and Melissa. And then, god, there’s also QVC. Everyone forgets good old QVC. I’ve been designing jewelry for them for 23 years, and it’s really hands-on, not like some of these other celebrities who walk in and QVC says “here’s your product, now go sell it.” I’m also writing another book, so I’m very lucky at the moment. OiM And insanely busy. The most recent red-carpet event was the Emmys last month — what stood out for you? Jr That it was so boring. It was so bland. There was no great highlight. And, what was really horrible is that it was no longer about the Emmys; it was about production numbers. OiM Agreed. I really didn’t like the opening segment with all the TVs and (host) Neil Patrick Harris channeling the stars. Jr It didn’t make any sense to me. Nor did it make me laugh. OiM Which is too bad because everyone really likes Neil Patrick Harris. Jr Ohhhhh! He is so talented. And I love that he goes back to Broadway. Everyone should go back to Broadway. I was

‘sociAl mediA keeps me current . . . i love thAt i cAn mAke A funny joke And put it right out there on twitter.’

just on a plane, a redeye into New York after the show, and on the plane with me, which I thought was just fabulous, was that guy from Heroes, what the hell is his name: Zach Quinto? Anyhow, he’s on Broadway right now doing Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie. And, I thought to myself, how great to have a movie star fly in on a redeye from the Emmys and go straight on to Broadway. Anyway that’s what Neil Patrick Harris should do: go back to Broadway. OiM You’ve been in the business for over 50 years, and TV has been pretty good to you particularly as it’s evolved with cable and QVC and Apprentice . . . but, you’ve also really harnessed social media. How has that helped you keep your career fresh? Jr It keeps me current in the way I need to be. Half of the world is watching through social media! My grandson comes home and goes straight for his computer; he doesn’t go sit in front of the TV anymore. It’s all changed, and I love that I’m part of it. I love that I can make a funny joke and put it right out there on Twitter. I love the immediacy of connecting with your friends: If you think of something, you don’t need to stop your car, pull over, and find a phone booth. All that stuff is great. OiM What can Portland look forward to when you get here? Jr Oh, I don’t know! The show changes constantly. Obviously it’s gonna be about current events, and it will be about everything I’m angry about, about my grandson, about life . . . everything that annoys me. It’s a lot like my book, I Hate Everyone Starting With Me. Everything that annoys me goes right into the act. ^


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8 out in maine | Fall 2013

Out in athletics The sporTs world moves Toward more Tolerance _by An th o n y G i Am p et r u zzi

F

Just as this update was coming together, following “Coming Out Party,” last year’s story in Out in Maine about the dilemma of the closeted pro-gay athlete, and the college experience that may have informed him or her, yet another co-ed athlete publicly announced that he is openly gay. According to outsports.com, 22-year-old Wisconsin guard Derek Schell, a student and player at conservative Hillsdale College, became the first openly gay NCAA Division II basketball player — just before National Coming Out Day, October 11. “My excitement and passion for basketball is at an all-time high. There

was a time in college where my fire died down. However, in maturing and finding acceptance, the game has shown to me why I fell in love with it way back when I was 4 years old,” Schell wrote to outsports. “For a while I always focused on what I didn’t have and what I wasn’t instead of loving myself for every little thing that makes me Derek. I no longer feel victimized, but rather lucky that God made me exactly who I am with the opportunities that I’ve experienced and those that lie ahead. I learned that you can never give up and you need to fight for yourself each and every day.” Stories of amateur, college, or international athletes coming out on or near the field or water have burned up the Internet in the past year, which will forever be marked by the repeal of key provisions the federal Defense of Marriage Act, paving the way for gays and lesbians to marry, legally, in many areas. The US military even announced with fanfare that it would be granting benefits to samesex spouses. Meanwhile, on the side of pro sports, many players, coaches, and even teams announced in one way or another that they would welcome a gay teammate. The NHL teamed up with the You Can Play Project, an organization that promotes equality in sports, to develop what the New York Times called “the most comprehensive measure by a major men’s league in support of gay rights.” And, heck, more than 30 thencurrent and former pro athletes and coaches even endorsed a Supreme Court brief in favor of same-sex marriage equality last March. And, of course, last April there was Jason

Collins, the NBA center who announced on the cover of Sports Illustrated that he is gay. “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins told SI. “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” he wrote. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.” The blogosphere went crazy with support, a harbinger, thought some, of things to come.

Magic Johnson tweeted: “Jason Collins has announced that he is gay. I know Jason and his family well and I support him 100%”

Kobe Bryant tweeted: “Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage  #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wrote: “Being real & authentic is very powerful. Well done Jason Collins for having the courage to take a monumental step forward. #LiveReal”

Even former president Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea went to college with Collins at Stanford, highlighted Collins’s move, tweeting, “I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend.”

Continued on p 8


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StorieS of amateur, college, or international athleteS coming out on or near the field have burned up the internet in the paSt year.

usm AthletiC direCtor Al beAn ‘we’ve all tried to . . . create an environment that is safe and welcoming.’ Continued from p 8

To date, Collins has yet to land a contract for the 2014 season. And no other pro athlete has made a similar announcement. “I think it’s gonna take two or three highprofile athletes on the men’s side to really make it acceptable, and someone much more highprofile than Jason Collins,” says Al Bean, who has been the director of athletics at the University of Southern Maine for 21 years. “I think (Collins’s coming out) had some impact, and there was great support for him by his teammates and people around the league because he’s a guy that’s well liked. But he’s not a lightning rod.” Bean is among those who continue to believe, and hope, that it’s only a matter of time before a pro athlete — and let’s be clear, a high-profile professional basketball, football, baseball, or hockey player — comes out of the closet. In the meantime, Bean is doing what he can to make the college athletic experience a welcoming one. He’s a staunch believer that being out is good for the player and good for the team, and, he’s leading that effort at USM. “I’ve spoken to a number of people who have tried to stay in the closet, and I know that it’s really difficult and that it takes a serious toll on someone to try to live a secret life and try to hide it; it has a serious impact on everything in their life,” he says. “If anyone had to get up every day and try to hide a significant part of their life, and try not to do anything that would draw attention, that’s pretty all-consuming and probably very debilitating. So I don’t know how anyone could perform at a high level. You simply don’t have the support for that part of your life that others have, and I think that would be pretty hard.” Bean recently participated in ”Changing the Game: A Panel Discussion on LGBT People in High School and College Athletics” at USM with former USM student-athlete and current speaker for GO!

Athletes James Nutter, 22, who came out of the closet last November. “I think we’ve all tried to talk about the issue and to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to everyone, but I still think that men have a lot of fear and trepidation about people ‘finding out’,” says Bean. “I don’t know where or why it started, but the male locker room is a place that is scary — James would tell you the language that’s used in most any locker room makes it really difficult to be who you are.”

jAmes nutter a Usm grad speaking out to empower and encourage gay athletes.

At Kennebunk High School, Nutter was the captain of his basketball team, the starting pitcher on his baseball team, and led his team in receiving in football. After enrolling at USM, Nutter’s interest in guys peaked, but his efforts to keep his sexuality a secret went on to tank his college career as an athlete and as a student; it eventually led to a suicide attempt. Today, Nutter is on the circuit with GO! Athletes, the first national network dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering every generation of LGBTQ athletes and allies. And, like most of his ilk, he’s encouraging young players of every stripe to simply be out while beseeching those at the top to create safe spaces for players. “The value to the individual of being out is that they get to live their life to the fullest, and, if you are living your life to the fullest, that will benefit the team,” says Nutter. “That said, not everyone is out, yet, and I think a lot of people disregard the fact that there could be closeted people on their team. They disregard the impact a safe place has on the club, particularly when it comes to wins and losses. I think people are starting to understand that it’s important to make LGBT athletes feel included, even if they don’t know that they have an LGBT teammate.” And that, according to Bean, is a top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top responsibility. He believes that it starts with the administration of the school, but, ultimately, safe places for athletes are also the responsibility of coaches, team captains, and the players themselves. And, while there may not be a rush of pro athletes to break through the closet door, Bean believes that the groundswell of change that he’s seeing at USM, and even at home, is reason for hope. “I have kids of my own, 12 and 17, and they are very aware and far more accepting than and previous generations,” he says. “I think we’re getting to a better place than we ever were.” ^


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Whence from victory? EqualityMainE looks at thE nExt fivE yEars _by Je f f I n g l Is

F

Having secured marriage equality last year and bade farewell to longtime executive director Betsy Smith in September, the state’s oldest and largest LGBT political advocacy organization is at a point of serious transition. Smith, who had been active with EqualityMaine for more than two decades and led it since 2002, left the organization at a high point in its existence and in her career. The group’s staff and budget grew significantly during that time, and won important legal and legislative battles, including protecting LGBT Mainers from discrimination, establishing domestic-partnership rights, and winning on marriage twice (once in Augusta and the second time statewide), Smith has also left EQME with a fiveyear strategic plan, a set of projects the organization has already begun to tackle. After years of primary attention on marriage, EQME staffers spent the months following last November’s victory thinking about the future. They interviewed dozens of people, got 700 responses to an online survey, and conducted multiple focus groups to determine what to accomplish next, says Ali Vander Zanden, the group’s political director and interim executive director. “People understand that we’re not done yet,” she says. While there’s a lot yet to get going, Vander Zanden says those next steps are “starting to take shape.” Moving forward, EQME will focus on four key demographics: young people, rural residents, elderly Mainers, and transgender people. The basic goal is clear: “We’re going to take the legal victories that we’ve won, and we’re putting those into people’s daily lives,” she says.

starting young

A 2011 survey by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that “the vast majority of LGBT students in Maine regularly heard homophobic remarks, sexist remarks, and negative remarks about gender expression.” Specifically, 97 percent of students heard other students use the word “gay” negatively; 87 percent heard homophobic remarks (such as “fag” or “dyke”) regularly. The survey has a nine-point margin of error, but even with that caveat, the numbers are startling. The survey goes on: “3 in 10 were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) based on their sexual orientation and 1 in 10 was physically assaulted (e.g. punched, kicked or injured

After 21 yeArs of service for equAlitymAine, including 14 As its leAder, betsy smith hAs stepped down. A new executive director is expected to stArt in jAnuAry. with a weapon) based on the way they expressed their gender. And a great many students never reported those incidents: 46 percent never told school staff (of those who did, only 44 percent “said that reporting resulted in effective intervention by staff”) and even more — 58 percent — never told a family member. The survey shows young LGBTQ Mainers are “living their lives in fear,” Vander Zanden says. (It’s worth noting here that while many nationwide polls suggest improving tolerance and understanding for LGBTQ people among young Americans, those polls most often involve people who are 18 and older; many school bullies are younger than that.) Of course, she notes that not every kid is a perpetrator, but a few is enough — and often bystanders don’t step in to halt the abuse. Vander Zanden also observes that at least some of the kids bullying others are likely to be victims themselves, in other circumstances; they’re just passing along the behavior they’ve received. “Those children don’t know sometimes the harm that they’re doing,” she says. The target of EQME’s efforts in this area include its longstanding support of school civil-rights

teams, where young people can show leadership in a safe environment. There’s also a new element, of working more directly with school employees. “We have this new anti-bullying law” in Maine, Vander Zanden says, which strengthens protections for students suffering bullying, and requires schools to train staff to prevent it, and actively address it when it happens. So EQME will be training school teachers and staff about LGBTQ bullying specifically, in a way that coordinates with other training sessions on bullying in general. Vander Zanden says the organization wants to ensure that schools have resources and know-how to follow the new law.

Beyond the cities

Organizing support for rural Mainers who identify as LGBTQ is another major initiative, which will build on the statewide marriage-equality victory in 2012. In that effort, marriage supporters held as many as 250,000 personal conversations with friends, family members, and neighbors about the issues. As we’d all hope, what those conversations showed is that “people want to do the right thing,” Vander Zanden says, especially Continued on p 14


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14 out in maine | Fall 2013

Continued from p 12

once they’ve made a personal connection. But also unsurprisingly, “there are a lot of people who have never thought about this from the perspective of an LGBTQ person.” Vander Zanden, who grew up in Southwest Harbor and started her work with EQME as a rural organizer, acknowledges that the live-andlet-live ethos of New England rural life may lead some people to either ignore or be quiet about their support for LGBTQ neighbors, simply out of respect for their privacy, or a wish not to draw attention to something the LGBTQ individuals themselves may not be highlighting. But that can still lead to situations where an LGBTQ relationship isn’t publicly acknowledged, such as a conversation at a local store in which a straight ally doesn’t ask about a lesbian friend’s partner in public. Vander Zanden says that can lead to the LGBTQ person feeling unsupported in the community. Nevertheless, “we’ve seen that people’s attitudes are changing,” she says, attributing that in part to the personal conversations aspect of the marriage campaign. Another effort, particularly in rural areas, has involved approaching community members and asking them to put their names in newspaper ads as public declarations of support for LGBT rights (and marriage equality in particular). Hundreds, even thousands, of rural Mainers have taken part. She says the effects are measurable. In 2009, marriage equality lost 73 percent to 27 percent in Aroostook County, for example. In 2012, the citizen’s initiative did better; it still lost, but the margin was better: 66 percent to 33 percent.

Vander Zanden calls that “encouraging supporters to come out as supporters,” and describes it as “just good old community organizing.” The group will expand its push in this direction with a new position just created for rural organizing.

an aging population

Maine is the state with the oldest average age in the nation (42.7 years old, according 2010 Census figures), and LGBTQ people face some common aging issues, as well as a fair number of quandaries straight elders don’t. They still have to sort out choices about retirement lookIng to the future interim executive director ali vander communities, assisted-living Zanden (right) and EqME office manager John Mckenna. facilities, and finding new or additional health-care providers to address changing health conditions. But at aggressive therapy, according to the Centers for every turn, LGBTQ elders have to navigate the Disease Control and Prevention). coming-out process all over again. One concern In fact, CDC projects that by 2015 “more than Vander Zanden highlights is about home healthhalf of all HIV-infected Americans will be over care workers who might not be supportive of 50 years old.” The organization also notes that 17 their patients’ LGBTQ identities. To get the care percent of new HIV diagnoses are in people 50 they need and still feel safe in their own homes, and older. “some people are actually having to choose to go (Also working to address these issues is a back into the closet,” Vander Zanden says. Maine chapter of Services and Advocates for GLBT Another aspect of helping aging LGBTQ Elders, which was founded earlier this year; Mainers involves ensuring that health workers see “When I’m Sixty-Four,” by Deirdre Fulton, are asking the right questions and doing the Summer 2013.) right screenings — as when dealing with HIVpositive people, who are now living much longer still working: (as long as 30 to 50 years post-diagnosis, with transgender rights Transgender issues remind us all that “we haven’t won everything there is to win,” Vander Zanden says. For example, many insurance plans don’t cover medical services related to people’s EqualityMaine   qualityMaine PAC)  Maine Foundation and E self-identification as transgender. Some private (EqualityMaine, Equality 8  Strategic Plan 2013‐201 employers do carry insurance that offers surgery,   hormones, and gender-identity mental-health nd  cal a alition with lo alityMaine has worked in co , Equ T‐ counseling, but it’s not required by law. ears  LGB  30 y to be early aws  For n A. Introduction:  Maine’s statewide l ns to successfully amend  ple and their  EQME will help people understand what national partner organizatio izes and protects LGBT peo cogn at re te th  a sta mmunity. Full  inclusive. Now that Maine is al for all members of our co  is re ality rights transgender people have under Maine law,  equ  that sure and  families, it is time to en  whole, and living open  ainers are safe, healthy and re in  as well as training trans allies (in connection equality is when all LGBT M entity or expression, or whe er id gend heir  ge, t eir a less of th productive lives—regard ata Collection]  with Maine Trans Net; see “Trans Explosion” by ibit A for Research and D Maine they live. [See Exh Lisa Bunker, Fall 2013). “We all need to become ual, and  bisex gay,  ian,   lesb   y for ualit aine works to secure full eq munity organizing   com better allies,” Vander Zanden says. tion, duca B. Our Mission: EqualityM on, e  acti e through political transgender people in Main In that vein, EqualityMaine will continue    tion. bora colla and  s  milie to support the federal Employment Noneir fa nd th ons a   d transgender pers esbian, gay, bisexual, an reas of the law.  C. Our Vision: In Maine, l Discrimination Act, which will at some of Maine people and in all a inds  nd m rts a  hea have full equality in the point come under consideration by the full   ur core values:  ualityMaine is driven by fo US Senate, having been approved 15-7 by the D. Our Guiding Values: Eq ers are     rant and diverse; our memb Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, is vib nity  mmu BT co • Community: Maine's LG  gender non‐conforming,  arents, transgender and and Pensions back in July. This proposed law conomic levels.   all e elders, immigrants, youth, p from  are  , and ents ips and cities, stud residents of rural townsh ts of our whole  eres d int specifically includes protection for trans people ds an  nee t the  represen EqualityMaine strives to g our mission.  re important to achievin as well as gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, from community. All voices a roviding valuable  nd p ple a being fired (or not hired in the first place) simply    peo aine of M  hearts and minds  eve  • Education: Changing the r major strengths. We beli for their gender identity or sexual orientation. n LGBT issues are two of ou     nity. learning opportunities o mmu ur co o support and advance o And it will fight for LGBTQ interests in Augusta, in the power of education t ation of other progressive    including fighting a proposal by state Senator alition and with the particip in co n  king  ratio  Wor labo tion: f col • Collabora e central role o uccess. We believe in th hrough  David Burns, a Whiting Republican, that would ms. T ogra ur pr organizations is key to our s l of o or al well as a guiding principle f r of our partners and  as an organizing tool, as  dramatically expand people’s, and companies’, e skills, capacity and powe w th o gro eek t ent.   we s ovem collaboration,  broader, stronger m our work leaves behind a that  ability to discriminate or otherwise exempt n so  izatio rgan our o mmunity's  themselves from many state laws, simply by   ortance of harnessing our co  imp s the gnize  reco l  e protections for al • Power: EqualityMaine and more comprehensiv ater  claiming the law violates their freedom to e gre t of  chiev rmen r to a political powe  strive for the empowe nity. We will continue to practice religion. members of our commu protect and secure our  that  cies   poli ell as , as w our community members In the short term, Vander Zanden will lead the community.  organization and the search for its new executive     director, expected to be hired in January — just   in time for EQME’s 30th anniversary. Even that 1  many decades in, and with as much progress as LGBTQ Mainers have seen, there’s more to do. “We’re still having the conversation about what’s next,” Vander Zanden says. ^

setting A course for the next five yeArs: eqme looks to boost youth, rurAl mAine, elders, And trAns people.


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16 out in maine | Fall 2013

Teaching police abouT Trans people Maine departMents lack policies, but have ready exaMples _by Je f f I n g l Is

F

It’s easy for police officers to become defensive when asked about the rules governing their interactions with members of the public. That’s exactly the tack John Rogers took. He’s the director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which trains all law-enforcement officers at the local, county, and state levels in Maine, and when contacted by Out In Maine, was adamant that his organization trains officers to interact with transgender individuals exactly as they do with all other people. “We train people to treat everybody the way they would like to be treated . . . Everybody should be treated equally.” He refused to even consider the idea that there should be any policies or guidelines for handling any individuals differently or ensuring that a group’s concerns be addressed. “It doesn’t matter to us.” But another statement he made suggested he might, in fact, be in need of sensitivity training, even if he doesn’t know it: “I’m 57 years old and I don’t know if I’ve ever even seen a transgender person.” That’s exactly the reasoning behind the Boston Police Department’s transgender policy, which took effect in June after years of development, research, and legal review. “It’s trying to educate officers,” says Javier Pagan, a BPD office who also serves as his department’s liaison with the city’s LGBT communities. While all officers and policies strive to be respectful of individuals and their rights, it’s not safe to assume that everyone knows what respect looks like to certain people. For example, Pagan says, the BPD has a policy about dealing with prisoners — with rules that apply to all interactions with people in police custody. But that policy also has a subsection about dealing with female prisoners, and another about juvenile prisoners, to ensure that the specific concerns of women and children — who represent a smaller population within the criminal-justice system — are considered and addressed by police. Along the same lines, the BPD policy on transgender people acknowledges that some Boston officers might have fewer opportunities to interact with this demographic (while others might have many more, depending on where in the city they work). The policy codifies things like what name to use for a transgender person, if their legal name differs from the one they use in daily life. Similarly, it specifies that officers should use the pronouns that

refer to the person’s self-expressed gender identity, and even goes so far as to allow for ambiguity: “If officers are uncertain about which pronouns are appropriate, then officers will respectfully ask the individual.” These practices are, of course, common sense, and even second nature, within the LGBT and allied communities, but not in law enforcement — yet. “It’s not easy to change a culture,” says Pagan. As society changes, and as laws change, Pagan notes, it’s important for police practices to keep up. He notes that these practices and policies also protect police officers and agencies against claims of discrimination or prejudice.

Still early for Maine

Most Maine police departments have yet to even look toward making changes to promote transgender sensitivity. As Maine police academy

head Rogers made clear, new officers are not taught anything specific about transgender issues and individuals. The Maine State Police does not have a policy either in force or even in development, according to spokesman Steve McCausland. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association, which develops model policies often adopted verbatim across the state, has no such policy regarding transgender people, according to Robert Schwartz, the group’s executive director and a former South Portland police chief. “I would not be surprised if at some point we were to develop a model policy . . . but nothing has brought it to the forefront” to date, Schwartz says. Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says that while his agency lacks a written policy along the lines of Boston’s, “The rule has always been, continued on p 18

‘The rule has always been, if you refer To yourself as a male or a female, Then ThaT’s whaT we do in response.’

portland polIce chIef mIchael sauschuck


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18 out in maine | Fall 2013

continued from p 16

if you refer to yourself as a male or a female, then that’s what we do in response.” He notes that the department does have an LGBT community liaison, Officer Alissa Poisson, and recognizes that “the city of Portland is an incredibly diverse place.” Ian Grady, a spokesman for EqualityMaine, says the city’s inclusive and sensitive practices are “a great role model for other towns and cities in Maine,” and says the LGBT-rights group hasn’t heard of any problems arising in Maine law enforcement.

Starting in correctionS

A more significant concern than on-the-street police encounters with transgender people is raised by Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross, who notes that while officers on patrol may have to question or search transgender people, bigger challenges arise when incarcerating them. At the Penobscot County Jail, “it’s a policy that is developing.” Transgender inmates are not common there, but they do arrive from time to time. “We involve our medical department early on and appoint appropriate-sex officers to do pat-down searches,” Ross says, noting that it may involve two different officers patting down different areas of an inmate’s body. “Not all of the rules are clearly defined,” Ross notes. Litigation still occurs, and much has not yet been decided either by policy or in court. Where to house an inmate is determined in part by the medical staff, who may evaluate a person’s progress through a transition between genders, but also includes considering the gender self-identification of the inmate in question. Ross’s staff works from a policy developed in Cumberland County, which has been in effect since 2009, according to Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce. Departments as far afield as Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco have used the county’s policy as a starting point for their own work. Cumberland County’s policy includes an evaluation of an individual’s case by medical and security staff, who determine whether a transgender person will be housed with men or with women. “We really pay particular attention to how they identify,” Joyce says. “It’s trying to balance the rights of the individual and the rights of the individuals they might be in a pod with.” While at any given time almost all inmates are in some need of mental-health care, Joyce’s policy also dictates transgender inmates’ access to medications and other treatments: The jail will provide those only if the person began those procedures before being incarcerated. If they decide to start a transition after arriving at the jail, the policy is to make the person wait until release to continue. Joyce says some of his staff were reluctant or unconvinced at first, and needed training before being comfortable dealing with transgender inmates, but he knows it’s an important step. Observing that transgender people are a vulnerable population even before

us marshal noel march a pioneer in training of police about transgender issues.

cumberland county sherIff kevIn Joyce a national leader in dealing with transgender inmates.

encountering police, he says, “We want to not make things worse.” says issues of transgender rights are ”becoming more and more prevalent” — recently Time magazine called him to talk about the situation with incarcerating Chelsea Manning, the male-to-female transgender person who, as US Army Private Bradley Manning, was convicted of releasing classified documents to the public. “You can’t duck it,” he says. So the question becomes, “How can you make it as respectable and responsible as possible and respect security and everybody’s rights?”

— possibly even the country’s — best-known family with a transgender member. They’ve been highlighted in reporting in the Portland Phoenix, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. When considering what he could contribute to the law-enforcement community during his studies, he thought about training possibilities. (Like many certified professionals, police officers have to do a certain amount of continuing education to keep their certifications current.) “I found that there was nothing relating to people who identified as transgender as victims, or witnesses, or complainants, or as coworkers,” March says. In collaboration with Wayne Maines and a Maine-based security-training company led by Paul Plaisted, March put together the 40-minute course, even narrating it himself. “It really educated me,” he admits. “Many members of the transgender community lack the comfort to interact with law enforcement,” March says, often because of issues not shared by gay, lesbian, or bisexual people. For example, if a driver is stopped for speeding, their driver’s license may show a different name, gender, and appearance than the person behind the wheel exhibits. March says officers should do their jobs, determining the correct identity of the person in question, but shouldn’t “be so narrow-minded as to think that this person is someone who’s wearing a disguise. This may be a genuine case of someone in a transition.” The online course covers basics of transgender terminology and etiquette as well as more specific issues of recognizing the potential for transgender people to be targets of violence, and working to protect them. It makes regular reminders of police officers’ sense of justice, equality, fair play, and duty to help people in need or in danger. And that’s what March sees in his efforts to encourage police to improve their sensitivity to transgender people: “We need to understand the people who we encounter in our role as police officers.” ^

‘The rule has always been, if you refer To yourself as a male or a female, Then ThaT’s whaT we do in response.’

ProMiSing learning oPPortunitieS

There’s a very good starting point to answering that question, which has been developed right here in Maine, though it’s available to police officers nationwide. It’s an online training class for lawenforcement officers entitled “Awareness of Transgender Issues,” and it was put together by one of Maine’s top cops: Noel March, the US Marshal for the District of Maine. He’s a former Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy and former UMaine-Orono police chief who developed the online course while earning his master of arts degree in peace and reconciliation from UMaine. “Hate crimes has been at the forefront of my interest for many years,” March says. He’s also a family friend of the Maineses, the state’s


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Fashion Forward

LocaL bLog documents maine’s ‘steLLar queer styLe’ and more _by de i r d r e ful To n

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Jack Tar 207 is a business, a blog, and a conversation starter. It’s not until you start perusing the beautifully sharp and well composed photos that you think to yourself, Why isn’t there more of this? The brainchild of local designer and creative director LK Weiss, Jack Tar is both a fashion and product photography business (it also offers branding and graphic-design services) and a frequently updated blog that is described by its founders as “a growing resource of images that challenge the traditional expectation of beauty.” Featuring local models who exude a kind of serene confidence, Jack Tar celebrates looks that are delightfully dapper, fiercely femme, and everything in between. We caught up with Weiss via email; here, she muses on the chemistry of her crew, the concept of authentic beauty, and Portland’s stellar queer style. Check out jacktar207.com to see for yourself.

Jack Tar 207 has developed inTo a successful blog and business in a shorT amounT of Time. can you describe The evoluTion of Jack Tar from The original concepT To whaT iT is Today? did you expecT Things To Take off as They have? Jack Tar 207 started out as more of a hobby blog in the fall of 2012, at which time I brought on Tennyson (formerly Tee Tee) Tappan as lead photographer and Mahlia Carey as stylist. I had just joined Pinterest, and between that and all the fashion/style blogs I was already following, I saw an abundance of tall, thin, flawless white people wearing perfectly pressed and fitted outfits. It was the opposite of genuine. I wanted to start pumping new blood into the veins of style and fashion blogging by adding real people wearing what they would wear in their natural habitat; I felt compelled to put genuine imagery out there. I think once people caught on to what we were doing and were able to connect to the photographs they were seeing and the people we were portraying, it kind of took off. There’s an honesty to the work we do that can’t be found in studio or runway photography; people see themselves reflected in Jack Tar models, regardless of how similar or dissimilar

their bodies are compared to those of the models who typically represent beauty and fashion. Jack Tar has since become a business for hire, shooting products, artist/maker studios, and events. We’re now a seven-person crew, with the addition of two stylists, LuzMarina Serrano and David Timm, assistant Shana Natelson, and two new writers, Kirsten Griffith and Sarah Lynn Herklots. The quality of our shoots hinges entirely on the chemistry of this crew — it would not be possible without every bit of creativity each of us brings to the table.

some people would say ThaT The world of fashion has liTTle impacT on social and culTural movemenTs. buT i Think iT’s clear ThaT Jack Tar does represenT an inTersecTion beTween sTyle and subsTance. whaT sTaTemenTs are you making wiTh The blog? The world of fashion has everything to do with . . . how people, women in particular, view themselves, and even though it is often subliminal or craftily disguised, every image we see is designed to perpetuate a specific standard of beauty. Only in

recent years, particularly since the internet has become a platform where social movements can really gain traction, has it become clear that not everyone has been claimed by the notion that beauty means being X, Y, Z, and never A, B, or C. Jack Tar operates on the idea that beautiful people are far more varied than mainstream media portrays. Actively capturing and expressing the beauty and authenticity in each of our models supports the expansion of socially agreed-upon standards of beauty. Beauty encompasses an unending spectrum of sizes, shapes, skin tones, genders, sexualities — any category you can name that is typically associated with “fashion model” — beauty is so much bigger than that. We don’t expect to change how the entire world views beauty, but by doing this work we hope that people will contemplate and embrace a broader sense of beauty in the people around them. And from there, for every person to feel they have the right to demand more variety in the people featured in the media, from magazines to movies to blogs. Seeing people like them, like you, like us, portrayed alongside the “beauty standard,” not


Fall 2013 | out in maine 21

only gives people permission to express their own beauty and style with authenticity and confidence, but it makes the world more awesome. And who doesn’t want that, really?

whaT do you love mosT abouT maine and abouT being a designer and arTisT in maine? I’m obsessed with everything Maine. There’s a certain amount of pride one feels being from this state. I remember as a teen I was in a town north of New York City, and the man at the gas station asked where we were from. When we said “Maine,” he said, “Where’s that, Canada? Never heard of it!” So there’s this part of me that feels like Maine is this well-kept secret, full of history, now bursting at the seams with artists, queers, music, food, social-justice movements — so much to be proud of. The inspiration I collect and that feeds into my designs and photography comes from all my memories from growing up here in Portland, roaming the wharves on Commercial Street, behind my dad’s office — he sold computers out of the first Apple Computer dealer here in Maine in the early ’80s. The rich historical vernacular in the brick, cobblestone, and working fishing wharves is a goldmine of inspiration. Many of the Jack Tar team members are transplants, some from early childhood, others within the last couple of years, and so our perspectives vary, but it all comes down to appreciation. For the effort it takes for our winter wear to

be both stylish and appropriate for the harsh conditions. For the way we dress things up and down by adding and losing layers and accessories to accommodate a day hiking Bradbury and dinner in the Old Port without a pit stop at home. For the way Mainers unapologetically rock the Bean Boot with just about anything.

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do you have any favoriTe images or shooTs so far? My favorite shoots are the ones where, when we’re packing up for the day, I hear one of our models say “Wow. That just made me feel so good about myself.” Then I know we’ve done something really, truly awesome. Some of my favorite shots include Jake Tyler Michaud at Fort Williams, Sonny Oram and Katie Diamond at Fitzpatrick Stadium, and Adriana Dominique at the East End railroad bridge. The diversity of people we shoot gives us such a wide variety of engaging content — it’s hard to choose favorites!

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The blog isn’T JusT abouT highlighTing queer fashion and sTyle, buT also abouT showcasing real mainers. whaT Three words would you use To describe The maine aesTheTic? Right, we don’t just shoot queers, although Portland has an abundance of stellar queer style. I’d say the common theme for Maine aesthetic, from the “Maine Ladies” to the hipsters who moved here from Seattle, is: functional, durable, and classic. ^

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Witches, bitches, and snitches This season’s musT-see shows _by Na th aN to w Ne Ah, autumn. The delicious season between the sticky heat of summer and the frigid freeze of winter. Every year around this time, we have so much to look forward to: apple picking, leaf peeping, pumpkin lattes, and the most wonderful tradition of all — new fall television programming! By the time you read this column, the 2013 TV season will be well under way; thanks to the magic of on-demand video services and websites like Hulu, it’s never too late to jump into a new series or catch up on a returning show. So, what’s the best of the best on the boob tube this season? We’ll tell you. Grab a warm cider donut or a cup of mulled wine, put another log on the fire, and prepare yourself for a gay ol’ TV-watching time.

THe BlackliST, NBC

Sleepy Hollow, FOX

HoSTageS, CBS

F

Yeah, I didn’t see this one coming either. But everyone is buzzing about this time-traveling TV tale based (incredibly, incredibly loosely) on Washington Irving’s classic and creepy short story. You think you know the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane? Think again! In this do-over, Ichabod is a Revolutionary War hero serving under none other than General George Washington when he meets — you guessed it — a headless horseman. Then we’re whisked away to present day Sleepy Hollow, where Ichabod wakes up and discovers that Mr. No-Head isn’t quite so far in the past as he would have liked. Ichabod meets up with a rather open-minded police detective and things get a wee bit more complicated. Like, alternate-dimension complicated. This ain’t your 30-minute Disney Halloween special, that’s for sure. If you’re in the mood for a spookyyet-cheeky thriller, check your head at the door and give this one a go. #GotHead?

Brooklyn nine-nine, FOX

Now here’s a sitcom premise that’s time-tested, but in this case it works: a puerile but effective detective (former Saturday Night Live funnyman Andy Samberg) butts heads with his new tough-as-nails captain (Andre Braugher from Law and Order: SVU). While I originally started watching for Joe Lo Truglio (from Superbad and The State, which aired so long ago I shame myself with the reference), the entire ensemble does not fail to deliver the funny stuff week after week. It’s like NewsRadio but with cops. If you’re looking for a new sitcom that actually delivers the laughs this season, give this one a shot. #CopsRock

Argh. James Spader, why must you return to haunt me? And by all accounts, you return with a vengeance! While I’d like nothing more than to see Spader get cancelled two episodes out (I bear a grudge), all signs suggest this show will get picked up for a second season. In this procedural, a shorn (and super creepy) Spader returns as a criminal mastermind named Red who has flummoxes the FBI at every turn. But the FBI’s own worst enemy is also its best hope to catch an evil terrorist, and Red agrees to help the Feds with one stipulation: he’ll only punch the clock if he gets to work with a pretty young thing fresh from Quantico. This show is on everyone’s must-watch list, though I shan’t partake. #MeNoLikeyTheSpader The premise of this show is totally believeable! (Not.) Toni Collette plays a doctor about to perform brain surgery on the president. But when a rogue FBI agent (Dylan McDermott) takes her and her family hostage, she is faced with a terrible dilemma:

Continued on p 23

Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Fall 2013 | out in maine 23

Masters of Sex

Continued from p 22

Kill the president, or her family will die. Why does this apparently traitorous yet super-hunky FBI agent want to murder the commander-in-chief? Mysteries abound! If I had to give you a reason to watch this show in two words, they’d be: great cast. In three words: really great cast! If you’re looking for a new drama with more twists and turns than actual sense-making, try this one on for size — you won’t be disappointed. #CrossMyHeart

Marvel’S agenTS of S.H.i.e.l.D., ABC

Out of all the new shows coming out this season, this one has generated the most positive buzz — and it’s also my can’t-miss pick of the season. Why? It’s very simple: Joss Whedon, creator of everybody’s cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is at the helm! Fans of The Avengers movie are already familiar with Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) from S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division), a super-secret

law-enforcement organization saving the world one baddie at a time. The series begins where the Avengers movies left off, with Agent Coulson back in action and keeping tabs on a mysterious group called the Rising Tide. In order to track this unseen, unknown enemy, he has assembled a highlyskilled team to investigate superhuman people and events worldwide. Such a cute cast too! #HotStuff

MaSTerS of Sex, ShOwtime

A period drama focused on sex? Finally some history I want to watch! Inspired by the real-life research team of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, this program follows a seasoned and controversial doctor (Michael Sheen, who played vampire Aro in the Twilight films) and his new assistant (Lizzy Caplan, of Mean Girls), as they conduct the groundbreaking sex studies of the 1950s. Caplan is getting some major kudos for her performance; many expect she’ll be taking home an Emmy come 2014. Who knows for sure? But it’s likely your time won’t be wasted by watching this show — you might even learn a few tricks. #InBed

aMerican Horror STory: coven, FX

Sleepy Hollow

What’s more terrifying than the dress Jessica Lange wore to this year’s Emmy Awards? The third season of producer Ryan Murphy’s award-winning horror show, which includes returning actors Lange, Frances Conroy, and Sarah Paulson. This season American Horror Story gets its Salem witch trial style on with an all-star cast including one of my favorites, Kathy Bates, along with Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Emma Roberts, and Patti LuPone. Yes, the Patti LuPone. We’re talking Hollywood Alist ladies, so this is a must-watch — even if like me, you have to close your eyes through all the scary bits. #BitchinWitches. ^


24 out in maine | Fall 2013

ShadeS of gray HigHligHts of a busy fall for lgbt-tHemed films _by Ch r i s to p h e r G r a y

F

The most controversial film of the year is now one its director doesn’t want you to see. Abdellatif Kechiche’s emotionally taxing, three-hour, French coming-of-age drama Blue is the Warmest Color initially sparked a healthy critical debate about the artistic relevance of its lengthy lesbian sex scenes, a discussion that has faded in favor of dishy scoops about Kechiche’s reportedly ruthless treatment of his two lead actresses. (They, along with Kechiche, received the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes this year.) Amid the furor, Kechiche has simultaneously begun insulting one of the film’s leads and bemoaning the October release of the film, which he says has been “soiled” by the controversy. One hopes that once audiences are able to see Blue is the Warmest Color, the controversy will pivot back to its initial incarnation, which (with help from strong recent films like Andrew Haigh’s Weekend and Ira Sachs’s Keep the Lights On) marks a reassuring turning point in mainstream LGBT film: a moment where content itself appears less important than the aesthetic and thematic merit of that content. Few of the season’s other major gay-themed films seem likely to stir up such a frenzy, but their topical and aesthetic diversity is exciting. SPACE Gallery will feature two LGBT-themed films in November: an autobiographical “anti-jukebox musical” about cult electro artist Peaches, Peaches does herseLf, on November 6 (followed by a Q&A with Peaches); and caLL me kUchU, Malika ZouhaliWorrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright’s examination of the gay-rights movement in Uganda, which will screen the weekend of November 15-17. On top of that, here’s a brief rundown of other films slated for theatrical release this fall. F c.o.G. The first movie adapted from a David Sedaris short story, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s second film is a road tripper about a graduate student (Jonathan Groff) who leaves the Ivory Tower and encounters various tropes of the “real America” en route to finding more of himself at an Oregon apple orchard. F oUT In The dark A critical success at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Michael Mayer’s debut is a politically ambivalent, socially engaged gay romance. Set in Tel Aviv, Out in the Dark tracks the relationship between an Israeli lawyer and a Palestinian student, as it’s driven by passion and constricted by institutional and familial barriers. F concUssIon The unhappy mother and housewife of a gay marriage

Two: The story of roman & nyro

out in the dark

in the New York City suburbs is drawn to the city after her son beans her with a baseball. Robin Weigert anchors Stacie Passon’s film as the protagonist samples and then takes part in the city’s upper-class sex trade. F God Loves UGanda A 2013 Sundance success, Roger Ross Williams’s impassioned documentary attacks the influence of American Christian Evangelical organizations on the trend toward sexual repression in Uganda. Williams shuttles between Uganda and the Missouri-based International House of Prayer, a heavy recruiter of missionaries bound to spread conservative values in a foreign culture. F Two: The sTory of roman & nyro Heather Winters’s documentary is about an unsuccessful actor and a hit pop songwriter, and the surrogate who bears their twins. F In The name of... Malgoska Szumowska’s (Elles) latest, a tense and atmospheric festival hit, concerns a priest in rural Poland struggling to suppress his attraction to the town’s teenagers, and is said to carefully, elegantly handle its delicate subject matter. F sTranGer by The Lake The astoundingly talented young Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan (check his great 2009 debut, I Killed My Mother, new to Netflix, and his recent transgender epic, Laurence Anyways) veers in a Hitchcockian direction. Dolan stars as a Montreal twenty-something turned on and tormented by his recently-deceased lover’s uncle. ^


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Out In Maine, Fall 2013