Documentary review: 13th

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

-The 13th Amendment

The amendment above, is what this documentary centers its historical timeline on. The documentary 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, explores the history of U.S. racial inequality. 13th is filled with many shocking statistics, audio recordings of U.S. leaders, and videos of hate crimes against black people. The documemntary also focuses on the fact that the U.S. prison population is disproportionately filled with black people. 13th analyzes the way society views black people and the history behind the racist caricature of black people as thugs.

Usually I’m not a fan of documentaries, but this one is one that is worth the watch. While watching it, I couldn’t help but get engrossed in the way information was presented, and to be in shock at the statistics presented.

13th has a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, an 8.2/10 on IMDb, and recieved overall glowing reviews.

National Coming Out Day: General attitude and do’s/don’ts

National Coming Out Day is fast approaching on Wednesday, October 11th. With this in mind,  I would like to talk about how people feel on this day, and things to do and not do.

First things first; some do’s and don’ts.

  • DO be respectful

Coming out can be a hard thing for some people and the last thing they need is disrespect for being themselves.

  • DO say kind things if someone comes out to you

If someone comes out to you, be kind. Say “I’m here to support you.” Or “I will care about you no matter what.” Saying things like this will enforce trust in your friendship or any other relationship type.

  • DON’T out other people

It’s disrespectful to someone if you out them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s not a big deal or that they should come out. It’s an invasion of their privacy. If they came out to you that means they felt safe enough and trusted you enough to tell you, and by outing them, you immeadiately demolish that trust system.

  • DON’T come out as straight

Considering everyone’s first assumption of people is that they’re straight, there is no need to say this. This is not your day. It is a day for a marginalized group to feel proud about who they are and not have to hide it anymore.

  • DON’T fake “out” someone

If your first reaction to this day is to out someone who’s not in the LGBT+ community as a joke, then don’t do it. Here’s why: It perpetuates a system of oppression that continually makes people in the LGBT+ community the butt of a joke.

  • DON’T force yourself to come out

It’s ok if you don’t come out. This day shouldn’t make you uncomfortable. Come out on your own terms.

  • DON’T pressure someone to come out

People may not be ready to come out or be in a safe position to come out. If you force someone to come out when it’s unsafe you may put your friend in a dangerous situation.

  • DON’T feel like you have to come out on National Coming Out Day

 Come out when you want to come out. Come out when you feel most safe, and ready to, and come out to someone you trust.

Next I’ll talk about the general attitude towards this day. For this I interviewed 9 people who are apart of the LGBT+ community and asked them 4 questions pertaining to National Coming Out Day. Here are some of their answers (if their name and sexuality appear, I obtained clear consent to use it):

Question 1: Why is National Coming Out Day important to you?

Laura Rutherford (trangender girl, bisexual): National Coming Out Day allows people to be their full selves.

Kaliyah Phelps (lesbian): It’s a day for LGBT+ people to use their voice and tell their stories.

Eva Semlak (lesbian): It’s a way to share experiences and talk about them openly.

Ally McGinnis (lesbian): It’s a day of awareness and visibility of LGBT+ people.

Mason Blumer-Lamotte (pansexual): Sheds light on the different types of people and it’s nice to have the option to come out.

Sār Chirhart (gay): A day centered around the courage to come out.

Anonymous: Normalizes being LGBT+ and makes it apparent that it’s hard to be yourself.

Generally most people mentioned that it’s important to highlight the courage, visibility, and vulnerability that it takes to come out.

Question 2: Do you think National Coming Out Day makes it easier to come out?

Mai Dao Thao (non-straight): I think it makes it easier to come out since everyone is doing it and it gives you more confidence.

Laura Rutherford: Yes because people aren’t doing it alone but there is also pressure to come out.

Kaliyah Phelps: Yes, sort of. It’s a lot of pressure for some but a perfect opportunity for others.

Eva Semlak: Yes, but also no. It shouldn’t be a specific day to come out but more of a recognition day.

Ally McGinnis: Yes, but also no. Yes, because it’s an invitation to come out and there’s a lot of support, but no because there a lot of pressure to come out.

Rocco Kyllo (gay): It’s always going to be hard, but it will make it easier eventually.

A lot of people had the same idea. It’s a lot of pressure to come out, but also if you feel none of that pressure it’s a great day.

Question 3: How do you feel about coming out on National Coming Out Day?

Mai Dao Thao: I came out before National Coming Out Day, and it won’t be a surprise or be special since everyone else is coming out.

Laura Rutherford: I didn’t come out on National Coming Out Day, but I felt a lot of pressure to.

Ally McGinnis: It’s cool and if you’re a celebrity it’s a good day to come out and be supportive of others coming out.

Mason Blumer-Lamotte: I personally wouldn’t because I wouldn’t want to put a timer on something so personal, but it’s up to the individual.

Rocco Kyllo: It’s a fun way to come out and it’s good for when you don’t know when to do it.

Anonymous: It’s great for people who need the support but could come to feel like an obligation.

The interview subjects generally felt that it’s good if you are ready to come out but that it could feel like an obligation or necessity if you’re not.

Question 4: What do you think are some “don’ts” of National Coming Out Day?

(I’ve included most of these don’ts in the previous section but I’ll add some of the ones I think need to be emphasized).

Mai Dao Thao: Don’t hate on people that come out because they built so much confidence to do it.

Kaliyah Phelps: Don’t tell them what to say or what not to say.

Ally McGinnis: Don’t out others

Rocco Kyllo: Don’t pressure people to come out

So what’s the take away? Don’t pressure someone to come out, don’t be rude to someone who comes out, and always be accepting of someone who is different than you, because our differences are what makes us human and interesting. The world would be a lot more boring if everyone was the exact same.