Courtesy: Zach Sparrow
The Add the Words movement refers to the adding of the words “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Presently, the IHRA only protects against discrimination toward religion, age, disability, sex and race. Since 2006, Idaho’s top government officials have told the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community that soon there would be a change. Eight years later, people have grown tired of waiting. The Add the Words movement has gained traction this year due to the heavy media exposure of the voluntary arrest of protestors.
Filmmaker Cammie Pavesic witnessed the rallies and knew she wanted to be involved.
“It was the first time I’ve ever seen all the LGBT community working together under one cause,” Pavesic said.
Pavesic collaborated with videographer Michael Gough to film a documentary about the movement. Pavesic and Gough are not spokespeople for the Add the Words movement, but felt the need to tell the story.
Funds for the film have been raised on various fundraising websites. On the site www.indiegogo.com, supporters for the Add the Words documentary raised over $5,000. The funds went toward renting equipment, purchasing rights to music for trailers and buying footage from inaccessible areas. Filmmakers were not allowed to film inside the senate and house floor, and had to purchase footage which cost up to $600 dollars a minute.
“People don’t understand how expensive it is to make a film. The $5,000 went quickly,” Pavesic said.
The documentary features stories of Idahoans who have been affected by discrimination and bullying based on sexual orientation, one of whom was a young man in Pocatello who committed suicide after years of torment.
“During this campaign there were five suicides that we know of, that were directly related to gay bullying,” Pavesic said. “This film has a lot of darkness in it. We didn’t win.”
“This film has two purposes. One is to tell the story of the Add the Words movement, but the other one is to tell the story of the people who are involved, and how we are all the same. It’s not those people, it’s us as a community,” Pavesic said.
News reports have focused on the rallies and arrests, but rarely on the individuals.
“This film is the platform that goes into peoples’ homes and shows you the humanity of them. Our documentary bridges the gap of disconnect that people haven’t seen,” Gough said.
Gough, a self-described “white straight dude” has never dealt with discrimination before. While he has always been open-minded, the same cannot be said about those around him. Gough has experienced fallouts with some friends because of his support of this project.
“If I have to deal with people disowning me, or calling me names because of the project I’m working on that has to do with this subject, I can only imagine what the people that are actually gay have to deal with,” Gough said.
A trailer for the film features a man in the Capitol, yelling at former Senator Nicole LeFavour. While he is discrediting her protests and beliefs, Gough happened to catch the incident on film. Rumors were started about possible staging of interactions, to add drama to the film.
“I’ll say right here and now, that is bullshit. That came from the speaker of the house; that’s where that rumor started,” Gough said. “I’m not a liar; I got off the elevator, I heard yelling and I flipped the camera on. It’s not even exposed properly because I was in a rush to capture what was going on. There was absolutely no staging of anything. That’s not the kind of filmmaker I am.”
By filming the stories of those affected by discrimination and bullying, Pavesic and Gough hope the public will gain insight on an issue that has had an under-represented history, and create a hopeful future.
“This isn’t a gay rights movement. It’s a human rights movement,” Gough said.