We may not remember our boyfriend’s birthday, let alone your anniversary, but the one date that every member of the LGBTQ+ community remembers is where they were when ‘Pulse’ happened. It was such a callous and horrendous act of hate that ended so many lives of our brothers and sisters who were just out for a careless summer night of fun.
Rick Todd, a member of Orlando’s gay community, and the publisher of gay-issues newspaper Watermark immediately know that he wanted to honor the people we had lost and also members of the community who had raised him. This motivated him and others to go on and make the documentary ‘Greetings from Queertown’
They used personal stories to paint a picture of how Orlando has changed over time, starting with the early days when staying in the closet was the norm. “One thing I’ve learned, which is sad, is that this should have been done 10 or 15 years ago,” Todd said. “We’ve lost too many people. We were lucky we were able to talk to him, but there were so many we didn’t get to.”
There is a wealth of really compelling interviews from notable locals such as Headdress Ball founder Sam Ewing and drag performer who for years raised money for the Hope & Health Center’s fight against HIV and AIDS. They remind one so effectively of how beautiful, full of life, and faultlessly generous people were taken from their loved ones and families that one night.
City Commissioner Patty Sheehan recalled that life for the local gay community had not always been a bed of roses’ ” In the early days the bars were the only place you could go, and even those would get raided,’
Todd has said that everybody involved was very passionate about the film, directed by Jess Keller, which has just been screened at Florida Film Festival. He hopes that after the film festival “Greetings from Queertown” will find life on streaming services and inspire others to tell their community’s stories — or take comfort in the fact they are not alone.