Election night 2008 was a night that tore me in half.


It was the night that Barack Obama was elected.


years after the end of slavery,years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act,an African-American was elected president.


Many of us never thought that this was possible until the moment that it happened.


And in many ways, it was the climax of the black civil rights movement in the United States.


I was in California that night,which was ground zero at the time for another movement:the marriage equality movement.


Gay marriage was on the ballot in the form of Proposition 8,and as the election returns started to come in,it became clear that the right for same sex couples to marry,which had recently been granted by the California courts,was going to be taken away.


So on the same night that Barack Obama won his historic presidency,the lesbian and gay community suffered one of our most painful defeats.


And then it got even worse.


Pretty much immediately,African-Americans started to be blamed for the passage of Proposition 8.


This was largely due to an incorrect poll that said that blacks had voted for the measure by something like 70 percent.


This turned out not to be true,but this idea of pervasive black homophobia set in,and was grabbed on by the media.


I couldn't tear myself away from the coverage.


I listened to some gay commentator say that the African-American community was notoriously homophobic,and now that civil rights had been achieved for us,we wanted to take away other people's rights.


There were even reports of racist epithets being thrown at some of the participants of the gay rights rallies that took place after the election.


And on the other side,some African-Americans dismissed or ignored homophobia that was indeed real in our community.


And others resented this comparison between gay rights and civil rights,and once again, the sinking feeling that two minority groups of which I'm both a part of were competing with each other,instead of supporting each other overwhelmed and, frankly, pissed me off.


Now, I'm a documentary filmmaker,so after going through my pissed off stage and yelling at the television and radio,my next instinct was to make a movie.


And what guided me in making this film was,how was this happening?


How was it that the gay rights movement was being pitted against the civil rights movement?


And this wasn't just an abstract question.


I'm a beneficiary of both movements,so this was actually personal.


But then something else happened after that election in 2008.


The march towards gay equality accelerated at a pace that surprised and shocked everyone,and is still reshaping our laws and our policies,our institutions and our entire country.


And so it started to become increasingly clear to me that this pitting of the two movements against each other actually didn't make sense,and that they were in fact much, much more interconnected,and that, in fact, some of the way that the gay rights movement has been able to make such incredible gains so quickly,is that it's used some of the same tactics and strategies that were first laid down by the civil rights movement.


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