A West Virginia LGBTQ community's fight for visibility



OUTSPOKEN tells the story of the rebirth of the LGBTQ community in Parkersburg, West Virginia. In August 2017, the Parkersburg city council shut down a nondiscrimination ordinance (NDO) that would've protected LGBTQ residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The ordinance divided the community, emboldening both sides of the aisle to speak out. While LGBTQ advocates argued the law provided necessary human rights protections, opposition to the law argued it discriminated against Christian business owners and made women unsafe in the restroom. At that time, no one realized the failure of this law would spark a year-long activist movement and reinvigorate the fight for LGBTQ visibility.

OUTSPOKEN is a community portrait of LGBTQ residents in a region of the U.S. where queer narratives are often overlooked and misrepresented. The film calls us to reimagine what a small town LGBTQ community can look like, and to rethink the complex relationship of religion and identity in America.



“To be visible is to live my life aware that people may be paying attention and to be proud of who I am always.” - Jeanne Peters

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“I've had mothers come up to me who have trans children and are like. . .a young child looks up to you because you are visible, because you are seen.” - Ashton Buzzard

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“I know a lot of people who struggle with even being acknowledged as being more feminine or masculine. It's really empowering to know that [my family] will do whatever they can to make me more comfortable with me.” - Ivy Herriges

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