“Valentine Road” Doc Investigates LGBTQQ Youth Hate Crime

By Anthony Ross
Outlet Program Director

You may have heard of this documentary, Valentine Road, the story of Larry King’s murder. He was a queer youth, 8th grader, who was shot by his classmate, Brandon McInerney in February 2008. None of us can say we know nearly enough about what happened that day, or the period of time leading up to it, or anything about either student and their backgrounds to make any skillful discernment regarding this tragedy. The only “fact” is it was a tragedy.

It is my hope that one day we won’t have to even think about something like this possibly happening again. Unfortunately, the harsh realities of societal ignorance, prejudice, and systemic oppression today are far from being put to rest. And I’m not only speaking of ignorance and prejudice targeting the LGBTQ community, but ignorance/fear of ALL who are considered “different” and therefore less than. The idea that we can even consider anyone “different” from anyone else in order to subjugate them IS our problem. While we can’t change these problems on a large scale, as a program, Outlet can touch one person, or one group at a time, and that is what we do. If you see this documentary, you may hear a bit about what the school personnel could have done to potentially avoid this horrifying event. Outlet works with school personnel and students to help them understand this fundamental concept – that strict binary gender roles and stereotypes are damaging, if not fatal, to everyone, not just LGBTQQ people.
ACS’ Outlet Program: 
The Outlet Program has existed in the Peninsula since 1997.  Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth living in the Bay Area have come to Outlet for support, community, and opportunities to improve the world. The Outlet Program serves as the Peninsula’s only organization for LGBTQQ teens, and Outlet is working hard to support and empower local youth by providing counseling & community, leadership training & advocacy, and outreach awareness.We also provide bilingual Spanish services. Contáctanos te podemos ayudar en español. (650-965-2020  x122)For more information about the Outlet Program and services go to: http://www.projectoutlet.org or contact anthony@projectoutlet.org

 

About VALENTINE ROAD: In February 2008, a classroom shooting shattered the town of Oxnard, California. A 15-year-old lay dead and a 14-year-old awaited trial for murder. Was this a hate crime, retaliation for unwanted flirting or more complex? An effeminate biracial boy pushing a young white supremacist to his breaking point made great headlines and drew attention to the plight of LGBT teens. But it only scratched the surface. Marta Cunningham picks up where media coverage left off, exploring the paths of victim Lawrence King and his killer, Brandon McInerney.  Family, friends, teachers, classmates, attorneys, law enforcement and mental health professionals discuss the aftermath of the tragedy. Cunningham unravels the narrative that links Larry and Brandon. Both were troubled and grew up in difficult homes. The film raises key questions facing communities all over the country: what do you do to help kids before violence occurs – what do you do after you’ve failed?

*Official Selection (to name a few): Sundance Film Festival (Documentary Grand Jury Prize Nominee); GLAAD Media Awards (Outstanding Documentary Nominee); Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Best Documentary Jury Award Winner); San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Best Documentary Award Winner)
*The film had a broadcast premiere on HBO last October and coverage from Ellen DeGeneres, who discussed the story and case on her show.

 

 

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