For Jeff Slayton, dancing was an escape. As he moved about the stage, he could forget how his father had touched him the night before. He could forget the feeling of his mother's cold hand slapping him across the face. He could forget about his homosexuality not being accepted and the girlfriend he used as a cover-up. He could forget about everything. Slayton, a Long Beach resident and retired Cal State Long Beach dance professor, documents his life struggles in his powerful autobiography, Dancing Toward Sanity, which was released earlier this year.
The Long Beach premiere of Blackbird at next weekend’s QFilms brings what is arguably the film with the most star power on the roster in the festival, with Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington headlining the film. But far more important than the stars is the film’s tackling of two contentious subjects—sexuality and Baptist Christianity—and its tale of identity and family. Throw in child abduction, teen sex, underage pregnancy, parental splits, and Southern woes'n'laughs and you’ll have a glimpse of the complexity of the story director Patrik-Ian Polk is trying to tell.
Despite evidence showing a higher social acceptance of the LGBT community, a new study of Gallup data from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law is claiming that LGBT Americans—particularly women—report a significantly lower sense of financial well-being when compared to their straight or non-LGBT counterparts.