Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: OWD 3.17: Out with PFLAG, part III

Out With Dad, episode 3.17 is called Out With PFLAG part III.  If you’re wondering how that title follows the previous episode, you are forgetting that part I and II of PFLAG occurred last season when Rose and Nathan attended their first PFLAG meetings. It was the first episode of OWD I wrote a real review of, which you can read here.

This is very long episode, coming in at over 20 minutes including credits.  But with so much happening this time, it certainly doesn’t seem long!  This episode begins with Rose and Nathan entering and greeting Claire and her Mom.  This is a good nod to the first PFLAG episode, where Rose is surprised to see “the girl from the washroom”.  But there is a surprise attendee, and it’s Alicia, coming along to learn what she can do to be a “straight ally” to her friends who identify otherwise.  I can relate to her feelings, but more on this later.

After the girls greet each other, the meat of the story begins as new leader Robin initiates the sharing with the story of his cousin.  Said cousin was excommunicated by his family after coming out, even when he was dying of cancer.  This story reminds me a little too much of Vanessa’s family.  Not only because of their unacceptance of Vanessa’s sexuality, but of the way they abandoned their eldest son when he married outside of his faith. I can’t imagine anything short of a major crime would make me cut off communication with one of my children. Robin also comments on how attending the sharing meetings, listening and sharing, makes him feel better about things.

Morgan comes next.  I have a small problem with the presentation of Morgan’s story, and it has everything to do with continuity.  Morgan implies that he was quiet and looked very bad during the last meeting.  By this, he is referring to PFLAG meeting from last season.  But that would, in OWD time have been months ago (last school year).  Therefore, either this is a stretch by Jason to help us remember Morgan, or PFLAG only meets every few months.  Which I guess is possible.  It just seems unlikely.  Anyway, that’s way too much time to discuss such a trivial matter that doesn’t affect the plot at all.  Morgan identifies himself as trans and tells of begin raped and beaten by a bunch of drunk guys.  It’s a horrible story, and difficult to listen to.  But it’s well written and told.

Sam’s tale of literally being in the closet is much lighter than Morgan’s but also rather tragic.  Though no physical harm was done to her, having to hide her true self from her girlfriend’s family has left her with some mental problems.  What if Vanessa had chosen to sneak around with Rose while hiding the relationship from her family?  I don’t think Rose could have handled such an arrangement.  I also think this type of relationship is rather common, and I have heard first-person accounts of such.

Alicia speaks next, and sound just like I would if I were to go to a PFLAG meeting, I think.  Though I try to be an ally of the LGBT community in my words and deeds, I’m sure I would be at a loss for words in a meeting centering on the experiences of people who are not straight.
Claire mostly recaps recent events at school as well as expressing how nice it is to share such things with people who will listen and support her.  This is the first that Rose hears of being banned from the changing room, however. Rose continues this discussion of the difference between how non-heterosexual students are treated at school-especially Catholic School- compared to the friendly atmosphere of the sharing meeting.

Claire’s mom discusses learning about her daughter and how she isn’t allowing her husband to wreck things, even if he isn’t as receptive as she is.  This is eerily different from Vanessa’s father going along with his wife, when he seems more open to wanting to be supportive.  Nathan discusses the unfairness of how Rose and Claire are treated compared with the other students.  This is important.  I think it’s important, for instance, to speak not of “gay marriage” but of “marriage equality”.  Because that’s what it’s really about, right?  Everyone should be treated fairly, no matter what.  It sounds like Ontario, Canada is ahead of the USA in making sure people are treated equally, even in a religious institution.  Religion has repeatedly been an excuse for bigotry here in the United States, including in my state, which isn’t even close to the south.  Heck, I’m just a boat ride from Canadian soil!  Anyway, this discussion of the school and changing room will lead us into next episode.

By the way, Rose referred to herself as a lesbian!  Good for her!  The “L” word was one of the most interesting parts in the “lost episode” I got to transform into a comic.  Though the whole comic is up on the web, I thought I’d quickly mention I’m starting to post some extra art and pages on the comic fury site.

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