After devouring five series of The L Word in one week
[collective wow] Jan Walker saw the light, and it was emanating
from a vagina. Jan's Coming Out follows the 50-year-old baby dyke
as she sets off to grill lesbians from around the globe about their
experiences of coming out.
There's a lot to love about this film, despite the fact it sort
of resembles those ancient VHS tapes about tectonic plates you were
shown in geography class. All bad, pink font and annoying boxes for
the interviewees to hover in.
Aesthetics aside, we get the privilege of hearing so many
wonderful stories. What's great about this film is that there's no
sensationalism or drama surrounding these gay women. It's simply a
collection of really sweet stories. These are everyday, ordinary
'how I met my first love… our first date… what she said' moments
that are free from the OMGEE YOU'RE A LESBIAN!!! we so often get in
This is a subject that doesn't get aired often, or at all, and
hearing the diverse range of coming out stories from these women
instils a feeling of, dare I say it, pride; the shouting from the
rooftops kind. It features appearances from Stella Duffy, Val
McDermid, Julie Goldman, Cathy Debuono, Jill Bennett and many more,
including ordinary women of all ages. From nurses to police
officers to poets, producers and actors Walker has really tried to
get a huge spectrum of views.
Overwhelmingly these women communicate the relief and oneness
they felt when they came out; some were as young as four. Over and
over we get a sense that these women really 'woke up' when they
were open about their sexuality. When they were given permission to
be exactly who they are. A 'so that's what songs are written
about!' moment, as one woman puts it.
There's a simple delight to be had in just watching these women
have a really good time. Cackling about 'pillow queens' and
'chapstick lesbians' or reminiscing about their Michelle Pfeiffer
poster. There's a fun interlude where Jan asks them for their
favourite pick-up lines. Don't miss the deliciously direct 'Would
you like to go out for pizza and sex?'
I think Jan Walker and producer, Carolyn Reid, have done a rare
thing here in creating a no-frills celebration of our lives and
loves. It's enough to make you take pride in the wonderfully
multifaceted, global lesbian community. A round of applause for all
the love activists and everyday heroes out there, just getting on
Jan's Coming Out is available to buy now on DVD