“Love Is All You Need?”: Gay Empathy Exercise

How Would YOU Live if you Couldn’t LOVE? (Tagline for film Love Is All You Need?)

Or, another question: If you’re gay and you want others to understand and accept you, how do you effectively get them to put the shoe on the other foot? To have empathy? A new feature film by Kim Rocco Shields called Love Is All You Need?, which has been starting to make the festival rounds, apparently pulls this off.

Love Is All You Need? is based on the popular and award winning short film of the same title, which you can watch online or at the end of this post.

From the feature’s producers: “Love Is All You Need? thrusts its audience into another thought of existence that does more than just acknowledge there is a serious social problem affecting the gay community and does more than just talk about the issue. In Love Is All You Need? its audience lives the issue. Different people and their individual, unique lives intertwine and collide in a world confronted with controversy and forbidden love…”

The film “tackles the topics of tolerance and bullying with a twist: in this movie, gay is straight, straight is gay, and heterophobia is prevalent.”

You can watch the trailer below:

One way to get a sampling of what this is all about is to see the powerful 2011 short Love Is All You Need? first. Jeremy Bamidele, The Huffington Postreports that this little “gay film for straight audiences” has to date reached 25 million views online.

It clocks in at about 17 minutes before closing credits, and I can vouch for this version being quite the harrowing experience. The IMDB description:

Love is All You Need? tells the story of Ashley, a young teen who is raised in the picture perfect all-American family with two moms, two grandpas, two uncles, and a little brother. But Ashley has a problem, she has a crush on a boy at school, which is against everything this world has ever taught her. This undeniable attraction to the opposite sex causes her to be the constant target of verbal and physical abuse until she is driven to a tragic end. This film hopes to shed light onto the highly controversial issue of human and equal rights in the LGBT Community, and also raise awareness to our current world as to the obstacles that this community faces.

In sum, both films ask, what if we had a different society and the opposite of the twin attitudes of homophobia and heterosexism were actually a common thing? In other words, that it’s okay and “normal” to be gay or lesbian but not to be straight?

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