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Conversations With Gay Elders: Gene Fedorko

Conversations With Gay Elders: Gene Fedorko

April 11, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Film and Discussion with Director David Weissman and Gene Fedorko

Howl! Happening is pleased to present a screening of a segment of Conversations with Gay Elders about the life of Gene Fedorko a longstanding East Village icon. In Conversations with Gay Elders, filmmaker David Weissman (The Cockettes, We Were Here) fosters a cross-generational collaboration, preceding the era of Stonewall and gay liberation. Working with gay men in their 20s and 30s to profile counterparts in their 70s and 80s, Conversations with Gay Elders explores the issues of being “different” long before there was any social or political context for a positive LGBTQ self-image.

Fedorko says: “Being gay in those years was lethal. Monolithic systems were in place in our social, familial, cultural, and political institutions that were designed to silence, demonize, annihilate, criminalize, marginalize, destroy us…. Despite these oppressive juggernauts, we formed communities; loved one another; created art, poetry, theater, and music; and gathered our political muster to fight the good fight another day. Asserting one’s sexual identity was not easy. Some of us were exposed to psychiatric systems of conversion, compulsory heterosexual marriage and family structures, discrimination at work and school, and banishment from our families. Some of us broke under the pressure and self-destructed either overtly or passively through alcohol and drugs. A lot of us had fun, embracing our outlaw identities and flipping the bird to the patriarchal society we viewed as absurd.”

Gene Fedorko is a medical professional, caregiver, art collector, curator, activist, sexual outlaw, and cultural flâneur. He is happily well-traveled: a lieutenant in the Army of Love. He lives in New York City, a place he loves.

David Weissman is an Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker, teacher, film programmer, public speaker, and longtime activist. He is best known as producer of the acclaimed documentaries We Were Here  (2011) and The Cockettes (2002). Currently a resident of Portland, Oregon, David spent more than three decades in San Francisco, where he was deeply engaged with the city’s cultural and political life.

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