For some young people there’s never been a better time to grow up LGBT, with some rarely facing homophobia directed personally at them. However, with attitudes towards homosexuality often polarised (particularly in the US), for others the increased visibility of gay people and the vitriolic attitudes of some people mean there can be intense pressure of them, which can sometimes lead to tragedy.
The difference is often the area they grow up in and whether there are any support structures to help them.
The documentary Same Difference wants to take a look at this through the stories of two gay teens, Graeme Taylor and Justin Aaberg, the latter of whom committed suicide in 2010 at the age of just 15. In order to get the doc completed, the makers have launched an IndieGoGo campaign hoping to raise $135,000.
Here’s the synopsis: ‘Same Difference is a feature length documentary that presents the lives of two adolescent boys who identify as gay from a young age. Graeme Taylor, now 18 and off to college, grows up and goes to school in a supporting environment that allows him to thrive. Justin Aaberg (1995-2010) unfortunately grows up and goes to a school filled with intolerant backwards policies and scandal. Justin was just one of nine teens that took their lives while attending the Anoka-Hennepin School District between 2009-2011. This resulted in state health officials declaring the school district a suicide contagion, leading to a Department Of Justice investigation.
‘The role the school played in these deaths is explored through Jefferson Fietek, the only openly gay teacher in the district at the time. Additionally Mellisa Thompson, a parent in the district, highlights the shortcomings of the school board and the administration. Dr. Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D, Dr. Antoine Douaihy M.D., and Dr. Liz Winter PhD, LSW, examine the current research on anti-bullying and offer solutions to handling gender issues among adolescents within schools.’