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Polyamorous gay triad re-enacts American history in ‘Kill the Monsters’

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Image courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures.

In case you’ve ever wondered what an allegorical story about the history of the United States would look like if it were told in the form of a polyamorous gay romantic comedy, you might be surprised to find that you’re not alone.

Filmmaker Ryan Lonergan has done more than wonder about it – he’s made a film based on exactly that premise. “Kill the Monsters,” which drops in February, follows three New York men living in a polyamorous relationship who set off across the country when their youngest member becomes “unwell,” seeking a holistic cure from a Santa Monica doctor. Along the way, they encounter a series of female characters whose interactions with them mirror US history – while also playing out realistically in an entirely contemporary setting.

Lonergan, who wrote, directed and starred in the movie as well as co-producing it, says he came up with the idea when he was revisiting the George Orwell classic, “Animal Farm,” and was inspired by the novel’s shrewd use of allegory in exploring the rise of Communism through a story about barnyard animals.

“It made me want to explore the evolution of democracy in the United States in a similar way,” the first-time director explains, “only my film would use humans rather than farm animals for protagonists. I wanted to ask: if democracy is the final evolution of government, as so many philosophers claim it to be, then why is it so ineffective at serving the people?  If one watches the men in this film and wonders why they stay together, one must also question the same for these united states.  Why should we stay together?  How did we get here?  What, if anything, can be done to improve the situation?”

Image courtesy Breaking Glass Pictures.

If all of that sounds like more than you want from a romantic comedy, don’t worry. The director also assures us that his film is “a road movie centering around the preservation of a long term relationship” that never overtly concerns itself with politics or history, saying that those connections are made “through allegory and humor.”

Besides Lonergan, the film stars Garrett McKechnie and Jack Ball as the other points of the triad, whose cross-country journey takes them from hot sex in their luxurious NYC apartment, through a road trip that erupts in a conflict that may divide their union,  to a high-pressure all-out poker war with scheming European lesbians. On the 2018 festival circuit, it was an official selection at dozens of fests, including Frameline42, Raindance Film Festival, and the Seattle Queer Film Festival.

It becomes available on DVD and VOD platforms February 18. You can watch the trailer below.

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Books

New book explores ‘Breaking the Rainbow Ceiling’

The benefits of coming out at work

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(Book cover image courtesy of Bloomsbury)

‘Breaking the Rainbow Ceiling’
By Layla McCay
c.2024, Bloomsbury
$24/240 pages

You can see the CEO’s office from the outside of your workplace.

You’ve actually been in that office, so you know what it looks like inside, too. Big, expansive desk. Cushy, expensive chair. Ankle-deep carpet. The CEO got there through regular means over the course of his career – something you’d like to do, too. But as you know, and as in the new book, “Breaking the Rainbow Ceiling” by Layla McCay, you’ll have to take a different path.

Of all the thousands of board seats and C-suite occupiers in American businesses, only a very tiny number – less than one percent – are occupied by people who identify as LGBTQ. In London, says McCay, no one on the Financial Times Stock Exchange identifies as such. Just six of the world’s leaders, past or current, have come out as LGBTQ.

The reasons for this are many, from discomfort to a sense of a lack of safety or just plain mistrust. Employees often don’t talk about it and employers can’t or don’t ask, which can lead to a lot of issues that cis, heterosexual employees don’t have to think about.

LGBTQ employees make less money than their straight co-workers. They experience discrimination ranging from sexual violence on one end, to micro aggressions on the other. Discrimination can be found in educational settings, and networking events, in a lack of mentorship, and the feeling that one needs to “code-switch.” Even an overseas job offer can be complicated by identifying as LGBTQ.

And yet, says McCoy, there are benefits to coming out, including a sense of authenticity, and feeling as if a load has been removed from one’s shoulders.

If you are an employer, McCoy says, there are things you can do to help. Include LGBTQ people in your diversity programs at work. Insist on it for recruitment. Make sure your employees feel safe to be themselves. Make all policies inclusive, all the time, from the start. Doing so benefits your business. It helps your employees.

“It’s good for society.”

Pretty common sense stuff, no? Yeah, it is; most of what you’ll read inside “Breaking the Rainbow Ceiling” is, in fact, very commonsensical. Moreover, if you’re gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or queer, you won’t find one new or radical thing in this book.

And yet, inside all the nothing-new, readers will generally find things they’ll appreciate. The statistics, for instance, that author Layla McCay offers would be helpful to cite when asking for a raise. It’s beneficial, for instance, to be reminded why you may want to come out at work or not. The advice on being and finding a mentor is gold. These things are presented through interviews from business leaders around the world, and readers will find comfort and wisdom in that. You’ll just have to wade through a lot of things you already know to get it, that’s all.

Is it worth it? That depends on your situation. You may find nothing in “Breaking the Rainbow Ceiling,” or it may help you raise the roof.

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Out & About

Under Armour hosts LGBTQ obstacle course

‘Unmatched Pride’ event held in Baltimore

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Unmatched Athlete in partnership with Under Armour Unified will host the inaugural “Unmatched Pride event for LGBTQ+ and allied youths” on Saturday, July 20 at 11 a.m. at the Stadium at 2601 Port Covington Dr. in Baltimore Peninsula.

Teens 13-17 and kids 8-12 will have the ability to compete in obstacle course activity and skills challenges. The obstacle course will consist of a variety of fun stations that will test participants in strength, agility, and cardio. Flag football skill challenges and more will be offered.

For those who are interested, there will be an opportunity for youths to compete with and/or against their parents as well at 1:30 p.m. Registration is available on Eventbrite

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Out & About

Blade’s Peter Rosenstein holds book talk in Rehoboth

‘Born This Gay’ memoir explored

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Longtime Washington Blade contributor Peter Rosenstein will hold an author talk on Thursday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. at CAMP Rehoboth (37 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.) in conversation with fellow author Fay Jacobs. The pair will discuss Rosenstein’s new memoir, “Born This Gay: My Life of Activism, Politics, Travel, and Coming Out.” Register at camprehoboth.org.

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