Resilience. Power. Change.

LGBTQ West Virginians fight to live free of discrimination.




Jeanne Peters had no idea how her decision to speak up during a local city council meeting would irreversibly transform her life and her community.

In 2017, the Parkersburg, West Virginia city council voted down an ordinance that would've protected LGBTQ residents from discrimination. On the night of the law's first reading, no one could've imagined this community meeting would spark the birth of a small city’s first Pride celebration.

Abominations. Sexual predators. The gay agenda. “I heard these people saying things about us, and they don’t know me,” Jeanne says. She and her wife Kim began organizing the rest of their community to fight for the human rights they deserve.

Ivy Herriges, a teenager from Parkersburg, was the youngest person to publicly speak out in support of the ordinance. For Ivy, this issue is personal. She has two mothers, and confidently came out as LGBTQ at age twelve. And she doesn't understand why her community is 'willing to stop people from living their lives to the best of their abilities just because of who they love and who they are.'

But the division is not so black and white. We meet Ashton Buzzard as they seek community in a Catholic church that may not be open to their identity. After being fired from a job for being transgender, Ashton struggles to find their place in Parkersburg. The film points an honest lens at the tension Ashton experiences with their faith, identity, and community.

At a decisive moment in an unlikely city, a group of community members organize Parkersburg's first ever Pride picnic, where a popular pastor blesses the food, local bands perform, and West Virginians of all ages gather.

OUTSPOKEN offers an unexpected voice from a region where LGBTQ people are often underrepresented. The film is a community portrait that calls us to reimagine the power of LGBTQ people in small town America.

Upcoming Screenings

July 30, 2019 Impact DOCs Awards - La Jolla, CA

Past Screenings

April 5, 2019 Work-in-progress screening @ Bay Area Video Consortium - Oakland, CA

April 16, 2019 Work-in-progress screening @ American University Washington College of Law

May 1, 2019 Work-in-progress Screening @ Studiotobe - Oakland, CA



Second Camera: Mark C. Trent
Animation: Roguemark Studios
Lead Animator: Amy Hollshwandner
Additional Footage: Emma Howells, Sarah Holm, Lauren Nolan, Liz Moughon
Drone Operator: Ben Siegel
Colorist: Erica Brechtelsbauer
”Don’t Be Afraid (Open Your Heart)” Original Song by Back Porch Alibi


“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


“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


“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