Blog Post 7: Memphis

We arrived in Memphis at around 4 am and couldn’t find a good place to stop, so we caved and got a hotel room. The next day we’d been in contact with yet another friend from SDLC, Briana Hardeman, (thank you SDLC for basically enabling this entire project). She offered to do an interview herself and maybe find one or two other people for some as well, so we met her at Rhodes College at 2:30. To our utter disbelief, she had a full schedule of probably 10 or 15 people for us to interview back to back until almost 11 at night. So we set up shop in Briana’s living room and talked to each person for about 45 minutes while Briana sat in the back with us and helped with equipment. It gave us a great opportunity to really get the hang of interviews. They sometimes feel awkward because we’re asking such personal questions to people we’ve never met, and sometimes we even worry that we’re being perceived as the typical straight/white/cis filmmakers that so often take advantage of LGBT stories, but that’s not at all what we want. We don’t have a script, we want to hear and share the truth no matter what it is. LGBT people are people just like anyone else, we have our own stories and it amazes us how many similarities and yet how many differences there are. By the end of it I was definitely sick of hearing my own voice ask the same questions over and over again, but we never got sick of hearing the answers. Every single person had a story that was so unique. There were stories that seemed really ridiculous and funny and ones that were clearly hard to go through and even many times that those were actually the same story.

A lot of the pressure and seriousness facing the LGBT community is put there not by queer people, but by society. So often people go through things that are hard and scary, but in recounting the story they realize that, in retrospect, they’re kind of ridiculous. Because we overdramatize a lot of what should just be normal and the queer community has to always wonder how people will react to them just living their lives.

By the time the sun set, our own personal angel came through for us again. Lisa Rudner (who we stayed with in Dallas), connected us with her cousins in Memphis and we had another warm bed to stay in. Their daughter, Olivia, was about a year older than us and stayed up hanging out with us and talking about the project. It was so cool to have someone to show some quick footage to and talk to about everything we’re doing. Special thanks to the Landaus for giving us a place to stay despite having never met us before. We’ve met so many kind people on this journey.