A gay club, the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas, was raided by the police on June 28, 2009 for seemingly no specific reason. Patrons were arrested, accused of indecent behavior toward officers and injured. Ironically (or perhaps not so much) this happened on the 40th anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots in New York City.
Nearly four years later, some in the LGBT community say the raid may have almost been a good thing.
“In many ways, the raid woke up the community,” documentary film maker Robert Camina said. “It brought to light gaps that existed in the community.”
Camina used the story of the raid and the aftermath as the focus of his documentary, The Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, which will be shown at the 26th annual Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (CTGLFF).
Camina had friends at the raid in Fort Worth. In fact, the director of the Fort Worth Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was celebrating his birthday at the Rainbow Lounge that night.
“I thought it would make a compelling short film,” Camina said. “Two-and-a-half years later, it’s more than a short film. The story grew and grew.”
Another filmmaker in the CTGLFF documented a story close to home as well. Brendan Fay used John McNeill, a longtime openly homosexual priest, as the focus of his film, Taking a Chance on God.
According to the Hartford Courant, “McNeill was expelled from the Jesuits for writing three books about gays and Christianity, speaking widely about his homosexuality and offering spiritual counseling to the gay and lesbian community.”
Both films will be part of the festival which runs from May 31 to June 8 at four locations in Hampton.
Click here to view the Film Festival schedule.