Pulse Nightclub Killings the Backdrop for ‘Disarm Hate’

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Director Brudek

Following the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando that took 49 lives, the film “Dark Hate” seeks to create awareness about gun violence against the LGBTQ+ community.

“Our journey was not about taking away people’s guns,” says cast member Ashlee Marie Preston, a trans activist and media personality, “it was about removing the barriers that obstruct their ability to recognize our humanity.”

Directed by Julianna Brudek and narrated by veteran actor Harvey Fierstein, the film chronicles nine diverse LGBTQ+ activists who came together after the Pulse killings to join a crusade started by activist Jason P. Hayes, a New Jersey hairdresser.

Without political experience, Hayes built a national rally to demand LGBTQ+ equal rights, fight the NRA, and challenge America’s obsession with guns.

“I wanted to bring awareness to how disproportionately gun violence has affected the less privileged members of our community,” said Brudek, a Burbank resident.

“Two weeks before Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, Rita Hester, a trans woman of color, was murdered, and the media buried the story. I did not want that to happen to the Hispanic LGBTQs that lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub,” she said. “As a community, we must remember the hate crimes, and work together to stop the violence perpetrated on each one of us.”

Beginning as a road trip, making the film turned into so much more of a journey than anyone could have expected. Exploring their similarities and differences, the group develops a life-changing bond as they visit prominent sites of gun violence that have affected LGBTQ+ people nationwide.

This common ground opens discussions between the travelers and the people they meet along the way, that look to alleviate these horrific hate crimes and bring a better understanding for all.

“The threat of gun violence is intersectional. When someone’s identity overlaps with multiple marginalized groups, their risk is compounded,” said Preston, who’s also an executive producer on the film. “Black Americans are 10 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than white Americans. Being a woman and trans exacerbates those odds.”

“Disarm Hate” focuses on “the discriminatory culture within America that informs the violence marginalized communities face,” Preston continued. “If we are ever to eradicate gun violence, we must interrogate the attitudes and beliefs that fan the flames of hate.”

The documentary probes the emotional journey of each of the activists, who squabble, laugh, cry, and even fall in love throughout their trip. It also examines opposing views and counterpoints to their calls for gun reform from a pro-gun perspective, as they visit a shooting range and engage with a member of the Pink Pistols, a pro-gun LGBTQ+ group.

Harvey Fierstein, the narrator, summed up with, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

“Disarm Hate” is available on multiple streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play/You Tube Rentals, InDemand (Comcast & Cox), Microsoft Store, and Vudu. Also follow on Facebook.

Vic Gerami is an award-winning journalist and editor & publisher of The Blunt Post. Gerami is also the host and co-producer of the national headline news & politics program, THE BLUNT POST with VIC on KPFK 90.7 FM (Pacifica Network). The Wall Street Journal featured Gerami as a “leading gay activist” in its landmark 2008 coverage of opposition to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that for years denied same-sex couples in California the freedom to marry. In addition to his years of volunteer work as a leading advocate for marriage equality, Gerami served as a Planning Committee member for the historic Resist March in 2017. In 2015, Gerami was referenced in the landmark Supreme Court civil rights case, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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