Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Some of you might recognize Jill Bennett from the TV show from a couple years back, “Dante’s Cove”, or more recently in the independent film, “And Then Came Lola.”
If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
My name is Jill Bennett. I’m from Fort Wayne Peoria. And the biggest part of my career I think has been being openly gay, and seeing, I hope, the positive effect of what being open can do. Getting to meet gay people from all over the world and connect with them. They say, being able to watch gay people on screen, on line, makes them feel better about themselves. And they then come out to their family. And then they have friends that tell them – “Thank you for coming out, because now I feel more comfortable.” And it’s like this crazy, circle that keeps expanding over and over and over.
For the last couple of years I’ve been in lots of films that have been going around the film festival, circuit, in the world – the LGBT film festival, world. Sometimes if we’re lucky they fly us out, and we get to go, and it’s sort of glamourous, I suppose.
When I was traveling with Cathy my girlfriend who’s also an actor, we went to a gay bar in Tokyo. And in Tokyo all of the gay bars are in one tiny little 4 block radius, but there’s 120 of them, but they’re the size, half the size of this room. They are tiny tiny little rooms. So we go to the gay part of town, and we go to 1 of 4 lesbian bars in the city and we walk in, and the minute we walk in, some girl from across the bar says “Jill Bennett and Cathy DeBuono and I was like “Are you kidding me?! We just got recognized in Tokyo!” But what was so interesting about it, what made me so happy is – we of course went over and were like “how the hell do you know who we are?” And she said “The internet, I know you guys from the internet. I watch your video blogs. I’ve seen stuff about you on the internet.”
And I’m thinking, this is insane, if you had told my 12 year old self that you’re going to be able to tell stories about things that are important to you, being gay and being able to tell gay stories, and that you are going to be able to “effect” of some sort people, way over, in a country where I don’t even speak the language. I would have been blown backward. And I wouldn’t have thought it was possible either. And I think that’s when I realized how amazing the internet is for our community and how important it is for the younger generation.
And now kids are coming out in middle school because even if in their community they can’t find the support, they can go on line and they can find it.