Family Meals

I recently attended the film “Family Meals” which is a documentary being shown as a part of the Sarajevo Film Festival.  It’s about the director, who is a Croatian woman and also a lesbian.  The film was comprised of conversations she had about her sexuality while making and eating meals with different family members.  The concept and the film were both wonderful, and I enjoyed it very much.  I have always considered myself to be open-minded about and supportive of the LGBT community, and having close relationships with both gay and transgendered individuals has contributed to this.  When the film ended, the director answered questions from the audience.  One person asked if she thought that her family life, which is far from the accepted idea of “traditional” is what made her gay.  At first I was appalled by the question, until I realized where I was.  The LGBT community in the U. S. has certainly created progress as far as societal attitudes, but still has a great distance to go in Eastern Europe.  In this region of the world, the same community has even further.  The distributor of the film stood up and expressed that she completely backs this film, and fully intends to screen it wherever possible-especially in this region.  She said that the fact that people have questions of this variety demonstrates what an important message the film contains and how badly the public needs to see it.  I agreed entirely.  Then I thought about how difficult of a challenge the LGBT community in this area faces.  Coming from someone who thought they understood the population, and subsequently had their mind blown at GSSW while simultaneously agreeing that both gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum, I cannot imagine trying to get the people who live in this region to understand that concept any time soon.  There is so much to be done to educate the people about this topic, and to fight negative societal attitudes toward the LGBT community here.  Trying to take the perspective of someone in the LGBT community in this region and examining the battle that lies ahead is a daunting task.  This becomes even more daunting when considering that in Sarajevo, tensions among different populations are so tangible.  It could be that being gay in a city that is struggling with ethnic tension and coming back from war would make it difficult to try to educate people on another difference, which may be common ground for all ethnicities to come together and agree to be against. I do believe, however, that this film will have an important impact on educating Eastern Europeans and creating positive change for everyone involved.

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