The Love That Dare Not Speak its Name

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The Love That Dare Not Speak its Name

With The Year We Thought About Love, Cantabrigian filmmaker Ellen Brodsky has made what some might call a dangerous documentary about youth in love, and what others would call a welcoming one.

“There’s power in being true to yourself,” Brodsky states. While that may be true, Brodsky also knows that the varied expressions of love are not always safe or accepted. Queries always accompany love expressed outside of familial, racial, cultural and religious norms.

In “The Year”, a middle-schooler asks a member of the Boston’s LGBTQ group, True Colors: OUT Youth Theater, “What does it feel like to kiss your own gender?”

“It’s the way it feels kissing someone who isn’t of the same sex,” the cast member replied. “It doesn’t burn. It isn’t poisonous. Love is Love!”

While the question can derive from a sincere place of curiosity, it also can dredge up what’s known as the “ick factor.” It's the revulsion some heterosexuals feel toward the way we LGBTQ people engage in social and sexual intimacy. Altering the hearts and minds of these folks might take a while, if not a lifetime.

Exposure, however, to LGBTQ love can make a difference for younger generations. And, this year’s Social Justice Award for Documentary Film nominee “The Year We Thought About Love” is doing just that.

In its first act, Brodsky’s heartwarming ethnographic-style documentary shocks, awes and entertains its school-age audience with a surprising interracial kiss between two teenage males.

Brodsky adroitly brought to the fore what is on every teen’s mind. You can’t help but applaud how she tackles two taboo subjects at once—same-gender and interracial love.
  
While “The Year We Thought About Love” is age appropriate for a youth audience, it is nonetheless a no-holds-barred behind the scene depiction of the heartbreaks and triumphs of the incredibly strong spirited and courageous lives of Boston’s LGBTQ group, True Colors: OUT Youth Theater.

The film highlights the unique and universal struggles these LGBTQ teens confront. Their lives are anything but easy.

Their personal narratives take you from belly-aching laugher to a deluge of tears. “There can be so much laughter right next to so much pain…not so much surprised,” Brodsky explains.
 
While the theater functions as a safe haven for the troupe, however, for too many of them, their homes do not.