Midland Center and Great Lakes Bay Pride Partner for Screening of Documentary About Michigan Gay Rights Activist
Since before the movement for marriage equality, LGBTQIA+ people across America have craved a safe and supportive community of acceptance. While the past few decades have prompted radical change in the perception of the LGBTQIA+ community to achieve these goals, none of this progress would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of gay rights activists. One particular standout in Michigan is Jeffrey Montgomery. In the feature-length documentary, America You Kill Me, Montgomery dives into his life and impact fighting for gay rights across the country.
“Jeff’s story is one that may be unfamiliar to people not involved in the LGBTQ+ community, but it is one that we all can learn from” expressed Daniel Land, Director of America You Kill Me. “There were so many individuals like Jeff who hurled their entire lives into the gay rights movement, sacrificing their own reputation and safety for the greater good of the community. In creating this documentary, we aimed to capture his mixture of emotions by working directly with the Montgomery family to create an honest dialogue. The sentiments of this film are deeply personal and genuine to Jeff. He is a vital activist in Michigan, and we should be proud of that history.”
Beginning with his purpose for joining the gay rights movement and moving through his tireless fight to achieve equality, America You Kill Me explores Montgomery’s influence in the gay community. After witnessing the police dismiss a murder on the sole purpose that the individual was gay, Montgomery made it his mission to prevent anti-gay violence and support victims of hate crimes. In doing so, he co-founded the Triangle Foundation known today as Equality Michigan. Although Montgomery faced a whirlwind of backlash from domestic and international parties, he persevered, leading his organization to become the 4th largest LGBT establishment in the United States.
“We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Midland Center for the Arts to present this relatively-new documentary about Jeffrey Montgomery,” said Scott Ellis, Executive Director of Great Lakes Bay Pride. “The Saginaw Valley region was the first chapter of the Triangle Foundation before branching into its own distinct organization, so it is exciting to bring all of this historical context to Mid-Michigan. I hope that this film gives viewers perspective on the unique evolution of pride across Michigan and within our community.”
Although this film is a story on the tremendous life and achievements of Montgomery, it is also intended to raise awareness of other activists, who like Montgomery, sacrificed the majority of their life to fight for the greater good of the LGBTQIA+ population. Stories similar to Montgomery far too often go untold, and America You Kill Me aims to shine light on those leaders’ powerful narratives.
“With Pride Month coming to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect on how far the LGBTQIA+ community has come since the beginning of the gay rights movement in their fight for equality,” stated Katie Miller, Manager of Community Engagement at Midland Center for the Arts. “Prominent advocates like Jeffrey Montgomery are the reason why so many have found endless support and acceptance in their communities. Learning about their multi-faceted fight to accomplish these fundamental rights is one way to show gratitude to activists for the monumental progress made for LGBTQIA+ people.”
America You Kill Me will play on June 30, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in the Little Theater at Midland Center for the Arts. There will be a talkback reception with the director and composer directly following in the Pendulum Lounge. Tickets for the screening and talkback are General Admission and FREE for all individuals with an RSVP on the Midland Center website necessary to attend. The film is rated PG-13.