Out, Proud and Following His Passion at TCM/FilmStruck

20 Jun 2018 - This post originally appeared on the Turner Blog.

Gary Freedman, assistant director of studio production and senior producer – TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and FilmStruck, loves a lot of things.

  • He loves to travel. (At the time of this posting, he’s somewhere in Europe.)
  • He’s a big fan of superhero films.
  • He loves Oreo cookies.
  • He’s happiest in a Broadway theater. (Favorite show is “Dear Evan Hansen”)

And as a very open and out gay man, he loves fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, which is why he feels so passionate about his latest FilmStruck project.

FilmStruck is celebrating Pride month with five new film collections dedicated to exploring LGBTQ+ themes in cinema. Gary created original content to support those films, including segments with actress Lea DeLaria, from “Orange is the New Black,” and actor Alan Cumming.

Gary isn’t just passionate about the rights of individuals that share his experience. He’s also a champion for diversity and helping other marginalized groups. He’s produced pieces about Jewish, Palestinian, Tunisian and Bollywood cinema as well as Latino, Black and Native American images in film.

“Everyone knows, if there is a theme that involves a culturally diverse theme, I am your go-to minority producer,” Gary said. He makes the decision to work on projects that focus on a multitude of different backgrounds, because he understands the importance of diverse images in media. “Everyone wants to be represented. Everyone wants to see something they can identify with in the media,” Gary added.

“Everyone wants to be represented. Everyone wants to see something that they can identify with in the media.”
Gary on being gay

Gary proudly says he’s been gay since the day he was born. “I never had to come out. I never opened the closet door, because I was born out. The closet to me was my mother's womb.” However, he recognizes every gay person doesn’t have his confidence or the support from family that he received. This makes the work that Gary is doing for FilmStruck so important.

“I never had to come out. I never opened the closet door, because I was born out.”

But how do you get people to pay attention to a lifestyle or a group of people they’re against? Gary has the answer, “You just put it out there and hope for the best. You know, you just keep producing. You don't let a single year go by without paying tribute to Pride.”

Gary’s Pride

June is Pride month, and Gary spends it celebrating in two different ways.

“I try to embrace what the younger generation does to celebrate Pride. But now, as I've aged, it's just become something a little different to me,” Gary stated. “It means remembering the friends that I lost to AIDS in the early 90s or late 80s, and remembering those drag queens that were dragged out of the bar in Stonewall in New York City, who threw the first brick that began our fight for equality.”

Gary hopes that one day, the pride he has for himself and his community is one that will be celebrated by everyone. He believes a perfect LGBTQ+ world would be one where he could speak about his life without making people uncomfortable.

We couldn’t agree more Gary. Let’s all think about the world we live in and how we can make it more inclusive for everyone.