What happens when a diverse group of LGBTQ youth dares to be “out” on stage talking truthfully about their lives? As they create a play about love, a theater troupe of Queer youth celebrates the fullness of their lives as young artists and activists.
"Must-see...this generation's love story....takes you from belly-aching laughter to a deluge of tears."
The Year We Thought About Love goes behind the scenes of the oldest queer youth theater in America. In a twist on the common image of LGBTQ youth as victims, the film reveals the troupe members as artists and activists, celebrating the fullness of their lives in both thoughtful and hilarious ways.
Our camera crew slips into rehearsal rooms, kitchens, classrooms, and subways capturing the wit, candor, and attitude of these young people. Together they explore love - romantic, familial, and religious - as they write scripts based on their lives. While the play takes shape, other challenges come hurtling at the cast. We learn more about the lives of several troupe members, highlighting both the unique and universal struggles of LGBTQ adolescence. A transgender teenager is kicked out of her house; a devout Christian wrestles with his church’s homophobia; and a girl dares to wear boys’ clothing at school even as she models dresses on the runway on weekends. When the Boston Marathon bombs explode outside their building, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city.
During the play’s tour, student audiences are surprised to hear such revealing stories shared in school settings. Audiences cheer, gasp, laugh, and grow silent as they value the courage and strength these young people must have to be out and true to themselves.
“As someone who has spent much of my life advocating for queer youth, this film is a breath of fresh air. To hear a diverse group of young future leaders tell their stories with such vulnerability and clarity gives me hope for the future. This film helps us to step back, dismantle stereotypes about LGBT youth and to enjoy watching them navigate the world through art, play and raw honesty.”
"This compelling and enlightening film should be seen by everyone working with adolescents and young adults. We get a rare intimate and positive view on lives that are too often hidden or negatively stereotyped. The youth featured in the film share their experiences and insights as they explore their own sexuality and gender-identity in a unique setting, a racially and ethnically diverse LGBTQ youth theatre troupe. "
Although academic papers may make it difficult to imagine how the narrative performance processes facilitate positive youth identity development, viewers of the film can see this process unfold right before their eyes...We found the discussion guide to be an excellent resource with the potential to harness the full power of the film for promoting a critical examination of the issues experienced by LGBTQ youth as they relate to the lives, experiences, and values of the viewer.
Laughter—that’s the constant power that drives "The Year We Thought About Love," a film about an LGBTQ youth troupe out of Boston...Programs like these are so important. They shift conversations in our community, and they build social change through visibility and diverse celebration.
"This behind-the-scenes documentary is a clear, compassionate look at the teen actors and creators of True Colors, a theater troupe for LGBTQ youth ages 14-22....The transitions these teens are going through—between genders, childhood and adulthood, and being closeted and out—are affecting for any viewer, queer identified or not. The almost exclusive attention on teens of color is very welcome, since the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ representation in media is usually white."
"Alive, bold, and beautiful...The Year We Thought About Love is a vital story for every youth educator and theatre practitioner to see. The strength of this film is its complexity: featuring stories of many LGBTQ youth from the vantage points of school, home, community, and peer relationships—and providing illustrations of young people’s strength, beauty, and love—all in the process of making a play."
"A gift to all of us. An honest and engaging portrayal of LGBTQ youth, that acknowledges risks and challenges, while celebrating moments of profound joy and accomplishment. Educators will find that the film stimulates rich classroom conversations about the intersections of race, gender, class and sexual orientation."
"It was an immense pleasure to meet you and the cast members! I have been receiving notes of gratitude and appreciation about the event. The authenticity of the cast members’ stories made it so easy to quickly care about them...As much as the tragedy of Orlando, and ongoing violence to the LGBTQ community fractures hope; your film instills hope, a desire to understand one another, and care for one another."
"An insightful look into the life struggles of LGBT youth. I was moved by the stories of these beautiful young people."
"The documentary and follow up discussion with members of the theater troupe sparked excellent conversation among students and teachers, and I'm sure those conversations will continue into the days and weeks ahead."
"This inspiring documentary captures the power of theater to promote resilience in LGBTQ youth,particularly youth of color. It is a unique resource for educators that allows students to hear from their peers."
"An event with this incredible documentary and panel with the director and members of the theater troupe engaged many in our university community, including literature, media studies, and sociology classes, LGBTQ educators and student group, and the Multicultural Center’s staff and student groups. The wide-ranging number of topics the film and speakers address add, not detract, from its central story of resilient young people using creativity to heal and connect with others. I continue to hear positive comments about its lasting impact by faculty, staff, and students months after the event."