‘Disarm Hate’ Film Chronicles 9 LGBTQ+ Activists’
Trip to an Anti-Gun Rally and Differences Among Them
By Vic Gerami
Narrated by the iconic actor Harvey Fierstein, the ﬁlm seeks to create awareness
about gun violence against the LGBTQ+ community following the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando that took 49 lives as the impetus
About four years ago, an unprecedented massacre targeting the LGBTQ+ community added another mass shooting to countless others and briefly put gun reform on the front burner again. A gunman opened fire at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people, and wounding another 50. This was another wake-up call for America and a call to action for hairdresser and wig designer Jason Hayes and filmmaker Julianna Brudek.
Hayes who lives in New Jersey got into action and planned a national rally against gun violence and gun-control advocacy in Washington DC. Learning about the rally, Brudek decided to gather nine diverse LGBTQ+ activists and chronicle their journey in a documentary film as they travel cross-country from Los Angeles to Washington DC to attend the rally. This was a crusade to demand LGBTQ+ equal rights, fight the NRA, and challenge America’s obsession with gun violence.
The documentary follows the cross-country trip of the activists from Los Angeles to Washington DC on an RV, visiting important places along the way. But despite the seriousness of the subjects tackled, gun violence, 2nd Amendment, gun safety, and LGBTQ+ rights, the film is very entertaining and has many light-hearted moments. It conveys the diversity within the queer community, including cast members who are not completely pro-gun control. At times, confrontations break out as each one shares their thoughts and experiences with gun violence, identity issues, and being LGBTQ+.
Julianna Brudek’s journey to make the film started after the Pulse Nightclub shooting the night before LA Pride. The following morning, a gunman was arrested in Los Angeles who allegedly had planned to open fire on LA Pride participants. Feeling powerless, Brudek got into action.
“I wanted to bring awareness to how disproportionately gun violence has aﬀected the less privileged members of our community. Two weeks before Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, Rita Hester, a trans woman of color, was murdered, and the media buried the story. Forgotten forever,” said Julianna Brudek. She added, “I did not want that to happen to the Hispanic LGBTQs that lost their lives at Pulse Nightclub. 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, the journey turned into so much more 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 renowned trans activist and media personality Ashlee Marie Preston who is a cast member and an executive producer said, “The threat of gun violence is intersectional. When someone’s identity overlaps with multiple marginalized groups, their risk is compounded. Black Americans are 10 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than white Americans. Being a woman and trans exacerbates those odds.” She continued, “Disarm Hate,” focuses on the discriminatory culture within America that informs the violence marginalized communities face. If we are ever to eradicate gun violence, we must interrogate the attitudes and beliefs that fan the flames of hate. Our journey was not about taking away people’s guns, it was about removing the barriers that obstruct their ability to recognize our humanity.”
The documentary successfully probes the emotional journeys 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, summed it 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.
For more information follow on Social media: facebook.com/DOC2DISARMHATE; Twitter.com/DISARMHATE; and Instagram.com/DOC2DISARMHATE
Vic Gerami is a noted journalist, a columnist, and also a radio show host and media contributor who is also publisher and editor of The Blunt Post. Gerami is the host and producer of his prime-time radio show, The Blunt Post with Vic on Independent Radio KPFK 90.7 FM (Pacifica Network). Following national breaking and headlines news, analysis and commentary, Gerami interviews a member of Congress and other high-profile public figures. For the second time, Gerami was selected as a finalist in the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards “Columnist of the Year” category in 2019, having first made the final round of consideration in 2017. His celebrity Q&A column, ‘10 Questions with Vic‘is internationally syndicated. In July 2020, the Los Angeles Press Club announced that Gerami is a Finalist in record seven (7) categories for the 62nd Annual Southern California Journalism Awards.