Film introduces ‘new normal’
“Unbreakable Threads,” a documentary that follows same-sex families in Houston and gives a glimpse into their lives and struggles, had its premiere at the New UC Theater. Locals who were featured ranged from a single gay father raising four adopted children, a city restaurant owner and a known-TV meteorologist, along with a special visit from Mayor Annise Parker.
The film — created, produced and directed by Stacey Summers — goes behind closed doors into the lives of LGBT individuals and same-sex couples who are surrounded by the controversy of how they live and love. It also incorporates perspectives on this issue that has captured strong opinions and momentous actions, such as the recent legalization of gay marriages in 17 states.
“I thought it would be great to have a free public screening at UH,” Summers said. “After all, it was filmed in Houston, and UH is a wonderful and diverse university, and two of the professors that were in the film are from that campus.”
The professors are associate professor of sociology Amanda Baumle and associate professor of Latin American cultures and Director of Undergraduate Studies Guillermo De Los Reyes.
“I was so happy when they both agreed to participate,” Summers said. “They added so much to the film and shared such valuable information.”
One of the most surprising moments of the event was when the film abruptly stopped to reveal Mayor Annise Parker dropping by to highlight the issue of adoption by same-sex parents.
“The most important thing is there are children who had needs they didn’t find anywhere else, were rejected by their families, and they found a warm and loving home with us,” Parker said. “I don’t care how many politicians and how many certificates say kids ought to have a man and a woman raise them. There are facts out there that say that there are thousands of children who need homes and many of us who want to provide those homes. I am proud to be here and to say thank you for supporting this film.”
The documentary included Zach Wahls, an activist and son of two lesbian mothers who became an overnight sensation when he publicly opposed House Joint Resolution 6, a joint resolution introduced in 2011 that would have ended civil unions in Iowa.
“I remember hearing about him last year,” said mathematical biology junior Laura Ramirez. “Seeing his view and the others made me appreciate why I live in Houston. We’re diverse but united, too.”
During the conference following the film, Mitchell Katine, an attorney and founding partner of the law firm Katine & Nechman L.L.P., announced that the same day, the Corpus Christi-based 13th Court of Appeals took down a judicial court law that stood for 10 to 15 years against transgender people, who couldn’t legally change their gender in the former permanent documents.
“Our society as a whole, whether in Texas or our country, has now progressed beyond where it stood,” Katine said. “I will announce today, Texas appellate court has overturned the old Texas law that says you are whatever sex you were born with and has now recognized today that if you have a court order that changes your sex, you’re now considered that other sex for marital purposes. Things are really progressing.”
“Unbreakable Threads” captured the future of the new normal and took on the task of educating society, a cause that LGBT Resource Center Director Lorraine Schroeder is more than willing to share with the campus.
“Just like with any of the educational programs we do, I want people to learn that LGBT people are human,” Schroeder said. “Some people will be better parents than others, just like any other parents. The fear and animosity that some have toward LGBT people is rooted in ignorance. They all have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else, and this film shows that.”