Queer Action Coalition

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Documentary, One Nation Under God

With the reemergence of popular anti-gay sentiment linked with political platforms centered on the issue of same sex marriage, it might just be time for the documentary One Nation under God to reemerge as well. [1] This film comprehensively and chronologically presents the history of homosexuality in the United States since the 1950s. It describes the attitude taken toward homosexuality prior to the American Psychiatric Associations 1974 decision to remove it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Moreover, it effectively displays how homophobia was present in mental health treatments during that time, and how present day reparative therapies emerged in the wake of the APA decision. The strength of this documentary is its organization. It juxtaposes interviews and testimonies from those who work for the ex-gay movement and those whose lives have been affected by it. Though the presentation of the film is somewhat dated, the material it presents is disturbingly timeless. It will be particularly interesting to those knowledgeable about gay culture and the ex-gay movement; however it is possible that anyone, regardless of prior knowledge, will relate to the sentiments it expresses.

[1] Teodoro Maniaci and Francine Rzeznik, a First Run Features film, 1993.

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As a side note, upon looking at the website for the film, we find the following quotes:

"Very funny! An excursion into a strange world. Truly bizarre!" - LA Reader

"Funny and fascinating! Right out of A Clockwork Orange!" - Variety

"Hilarious, surreal! A whirlwind history of the gay movement in America." - San Francisco Bay Guardian

The fact is, one watching the film might have said reactions, however, the sad truth is that the rhetoric and philosophies portrayed in this film are laughable, "bizarre", and "hilarious" only because you want to assume they're so outdated and embarrassing that they could never still exist. Here's the problem...They do. Elizabeth Moberly's seemingly pre-scientific assessments of how people "become gay" are identical to John Smid's in his 1993 paper "The Root Causes: The Child Development Process", where he states that: "homosexuality develops out of a series of decisions in response to our life development process." Outlining healthy ways for parents to avoid making their children gay:
"Healthy activities might include wrestling, sitting on dad's lap, and bathing or swimming together...An example of healthy interaction might be the mother and daughter sitting in front of a mirror while the mother is putting on make-up. "Jennie," the mother says playfully, "let's put a little lipstick on you, too. Then you can be just like Mommy!"

The point here is that today, 2005, organizations like Love In Action are still able to present such "truly bizarre", "funny", "fascinating", and "surreal" idea's about gay people, and yet there are actually people who take their messages seriously enough to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to send their children into their care. In that regards, there's nothing funny about it, because these people obviously love their children, and truly believe they're making the right choices....Watch One Nation Under God, and show it to anyone you know who might support Love In Action.

9 Comments:

  • Thanks for getting the word out about the documentary. Sounds like a potential edition for my film collection.

    By Blogger TVonthefritz, at 3:18 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Busted Flip Flop, at 4:59 PM  

  • I understand this might be very random and anonymous, but I would just like to say that my father wrestled with me, I sat on his lap, and when I was around 2 and 3 we would bath together. I'm still a huge flamer. So that guy has no grounds for his "theories". They simply do not work. Yet more proof that children are born gay.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 PM  

  • I bathed with my dad too, and I am as gay as they come.

    By Blogger TVonthefritz, at 12:13 PM  

  • I did all of those things, including playing sports, boxing, you name it. My dad was the "man of the house", ALL THE RULES they say to abide by. I also, was not mollested, which is something else they say can cause it, so, basically noe of their equation works in any way for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 PM  

  • Oh gods...I think I'd have had to get violent with people if they tried to put lipstick on me :P (Trust me, my darling raving foaming dominionist *nutters* of parents tried to get me to be more "girly". They also failed miserably. Probably because, at least in the head, I was never terribly *female* or *straight* in the *first* place :P)

    By Blogger dogemperor, at 1:57 PM  

  • I first saw this documentary on DVD in my home but about a month later, at a LGBT film festival at Appalachian State University in Boone, NY, I saw the film in a small theater packed with people. The shared experience of it, hearing everyone's reactions (laughter, gasps, etc) plus the discussion afterwards deepened the experience of seeing the film.

    I would love to see this film come to MediaCoOp.

    Oh, and it was when watching this film I first learned the alternative term to masturbation--"to genitalize oneself". Yikes!

    By Blogger Peterson Toscano, at 6:02 AM  

  • I first saw this documentary on DVD in my home but about a month later, at a LGBT film festival at Appalachian State University in Boone, NY, I saw the film in a small theater packed with people. The shared experience of it, hearing everyone's reactions (laughter, gasps, etc) plus the discussion afterwards deepened the experience of seeing the film.

    I would love to see this film come to MediaCoOp.

    Oh, and it was when watching this film I first learned the alternative term to masturbation--"to genitalize oneself". Yikes!

    By Blogger Peterson Toscano, at 6:02 AM  

  • This documentary is now (2010) available as an "instant watch" option on netflix. I have seen the film several times, once shortly after it first came out when it was on the local public television station, once at a conference maybe 3 years later, and then just this week (july 2010) I watched it to refresh my memory so I could include it in a paper I was writing. I have enjoyed it every single time, though a few parts that I remembered well were boring the 3rd time.

    What did stand out on the 3rd watching was Joan Nestle's comments on war. Perhaps I noticed them more because we are in a war now & weren't when I saw the film the 1st & 2nd times. She talks about how terrible it is that our culture is more afraid of a guy in a dress than a guy holding a gun. Too true, I'm afraid.

    By Blogger Della Street, at 10:52 PM  

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