Devon Yaffe | Gay Youth | News

High School Student's Senior Project Documents the Coming Out Stories of 10 Gay Men from Ages 15 to 82: VIDEO

Yaffe

Devon Yaffe, a high school senior in L.A., sent us this clip of his Senior Project, a 90-minute documentary in which ten gay men talk about their experiences growing up and coming out. Its concept is simple and compelling.

Writes Devon:

When given the guidelines, I decided to do more than  just a high school project. I wanted to take this beyond high school and into the world. I felt so strongly about my project that there was no turning back and that deep down I knew this was going to be something life changing. During the process of this project my world had been changed, as my eyes were opened to a community in which I regretfully wasn't active. Now, after learning so much about this incredible world,  I feel I would love to be involved with the community and possibly become a gay rights activist. I am proud of my project and feel that I did, in fact, do it justice. I explored unknown territory for many gay teens. I hope that gay youth all over can see what I have created and be inspired to add their voice to the community. I feel I have created one of the best kinds of documentaries there is: the true life testimony of those who have grown up gay in a heterosexual world.

Devon knew everyone in the documentary personally except for the two eldest men, whom he met down the street from his school at a Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing center. A few of the classrooms at his school have screened his short film and his Gay-Straight Alliance is hosting a screening night.  We think he deserves an A+.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Wow no black men??

    Posted by: Nada | Jan 29, 2013 11:55:00 PM


  2. What a wonderful project. The filmmaker is wise beyond his years. I can't wait to see what is next!

    Posted by: Chris | Jan 30, 2013 12:41:05 AM


  3. @NADA

    Yes, only a South Asian and a Latino. Golly, what a bigot, right?

    Posted by: David | Jan 30, 2013 12:49:25 AM


  4. @ David: He probably is. So many homos in this country think black gay men are invisible so I certainly wouldn't be snarky about that if I were you.

    Posted by: Audi-owner | Jan 30, 2013 1:43:22 AM


  5. Thanks for this documentary. It is amazing to think that we can talk so openly about these issues today. We can all learn from our journey as gay people but ultimately, as this film asserts, ourselves as a part of humanity. Thanks again.

    Posted by: bwt | Jan 30, 2013 1:49:53 AM


  6. Echoing the sentiment that this would have been much, much more poignant if the racial scope had gone beyond a bunch of white men and two token minorities. Comparing and contrasting diverse family backgrounds from different times would have been fantastic. And this is freaking L.A. we are talking about, so there really are no excuses.

    But oh no of course not, doing that would be "racist towards white people" or "give him a break, he tried his best".

    Come on now.

    Posted by: Morty | Jan 30, 2013 1:53:08 AM


  7. Oh shut up about race!

    Great project Devon, thank you.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jan 30, 2013 4:59:15 AM


  8. It's ironic that today I am being interviewed by a college student who ran an ad on CRAIGSLIST who is doing a similar documentary. I am going to show him this to get ideas for his assignment. As for me, I quit high school because I had those tendencies, and it was taboo just to know someone queer(that's what we were called back then) let alone be gay. I came out in when I was 21 after hanging out with gay students from Chicago's Art Institute for a couple of years. I met someone at a party and he became my lover. I used to stay at his parents house for the weekend, they must of known since he only had a twin bed in his bedroom! It's great that kids today have support groups like P-flag and Gay Straight Alliances. However bullies still harass fellow students causing some kids kill themselves that is also mentioned on today's Towleroad.

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Jan 30, 2013 6:22:39 AM


  9. I find incredibly stupid some comments. Some people seem unable to live without their daily bitchy stupidity put into words.

    I don't think it's that easy to find people to appear in his project, and maybe he doesn't found any black gay male who wanted to appear.

    And please somebody explain me why the two non white are token.
    Some people don't do nothing but criticise what other people do. No matter how good intentions put this kid into his project, there's always some bitter people to labeled him as a bigot because he didn't reach their high standards.
    Pathetic

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jan 30, 2013 6:23:47 AM


  10. Nice project. I just wished he would have found someone to interview who was in their 30's. Basically he went from a guy who is 47 to an 18 year old. There is a whole generation missing, and given just how much change has occured for gay people in the last 40 years, that 30 year gap is pretty significant.

    Posted by: boywonder3919 | Jan 30, 2013 9:12:10 AM


  11. NADA, MORTY & AUDIOWNER:

    the young guy is only 18. He may not know any Black Gays or those who could direct him toward Black Gays to be interviewed.

    The United States is still a very segregated society, and Gay America is no different.

    If y'all really want to know more about Black Gays' historical contribution to the development of "Gay America" check the documentary "Before Stonewall". The creators of that ground-breaking film are much more inclusive, but they were much more experienced filmmakers.

    This young man is only 18. And because he is already creative and committed his perspective will grow.

    Posted by: Derrrick from Philly | Jan 30, 2013 9:50:39 AM


  12. Derrrick from Philly got there before me. As the description said, most of these men were people he knew. Is he actually being criticized for not knowing more gay black men?

    All your glasses are half empty.

    Posted by: Mick | Jan 30, 2013 12:20:29 PM


  13. Most out of the closet gay men of a certain age are white. It's just demographics.

    Posted by: BobN | Jan 30, 2013 12:28:57 PM


  14. what derrick said. well met, brother(s).

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 30, 2013 12:34:29 PM


  15. I get the feeling that most of the armchair critics never did anything one tenth as remarkable as this amazing high school project.
    Why didn't he interview someone older than 80? Why didn't he interview an elementary-level kid to find out whst it's like to come out in kindergarten? Why didn't he interview a Native American and a Hawaiian and discuss the anthropolgical implications of the changes their society has experienced? Why didn't he interview 100 people, including one urban and one rural dweller from each state to contrast the effect of different environments? Why didn't he find a dwarf and a redhead and a deaf person to contrast the different types of discrimination? Why didn't he do a Part 2 with women?
    Light your own candle and film your own epic 40-hour mini-series.
    I agree that he deserves an A+ and I hope we'll be seeing more from him in his adulthood.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 30, 2013 12:57:33 PM


  16. I get the feeling that most of the armchair critics never did anything one tenth as remarkable as this amazing high school project.
    Why didn't he interview someone older than 80? Why didn't he interview an elementary-level kid to find out whst it's like to come out in kindergarten? Why didn't he interview a Native American and a Hawaiian and discuss the anthropolgical implications of the changes their society has experienced? Why didn't he interview 100 people, including one urban and one rural dweller from each state to contrast the effect of different environments? Why didn't he find a dwarf and a redhead and a deaf person to contrast the different types of discrimination? Why didn't he do a Part 2 with women?
    Light your own candle and film your own epic 40-hour mini-series.
    I agree that he deserves an A+ and I hope we'll be seeing more from him in his adulthood.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 30, 2013 12:57:34 PM


  17. I dont think affirmative action is required when you are not paying for the interview. Its not that we dont see black gays, its that all we see of them is their uninvited cock pics randomly sent to us on grindr without as much as a "hello". Being DL is not "black gay" you have to be out to be gay. We also see you on Real Housewives of Atlanta in your high heels lol.

    Posted by: Bubba | Jan 30, 2013 6:17:55 PM


  18. I'm with GregV...I thought this was brilliant and very well edited...the kid has a future in film...and the critics? go make your own film...if you can.

    Posted by: Myackie | Jan 30, 2013 7:49:25 PM


  19. Of course the gay white men are going to use the typical "why don't you do something better?". It's a very tired argument.

    I guess we are now unable to criticize music if we cannot record an entire album? How about sing? We are no longer allowed to judge a film if we cannot land a deal with a studio and amass enough money to produce one? Please, you are pathetic.

    What you are doing is dismissing representation of minorities within minorities simply because it is "inconvenient to you", but I see you every single day demanding the media to portray more gay characters and more gay storylines (which are almost exclusively white) and you get absolutely no criticism for that from the rest of the gay community, but now gay people belonging to racial minorities want their stories to actually be told and it's suddenly "not that necessary" according to you. Evaluate yourself and realize how disgustingly hypocritical you are all being.

    Posted by: Morty | Jan 31, 2013 3:37:04 AM


  20. And no, your other argument that "these were only people he knew" does not bode well either. He is an out high school senior living in San Francisco so he has A LOT of resources to get into contact with people. If he was simply trying to make it convenient he wouldn't have taken the time to make this project into some kind of dichotomy biography, much less make the whole thing in the first place. What he did was just settle for a bunch of white gay people and thought that was good enough, but no, it is not. It is not OK when in our (already small) community, only the lives of white gay men are being narrated. It is not OK.

    Posted by: Morty | Jan 31, 2013 3:43:43 AM


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