A revealing documentary window into the lives of nine New Zealand gay men aged 24 through 78, ‘Men Like Us’ highlights the common threads in our continuing struggle for everyday happiness in a straight man’s world.
It’s a tapestry of uplifting and challenging tales of ordinary men overcoming the extraordinary obstacles that life throws in our way, including body image and masculinity, bullying and bereavement, migration and aging, HIV, cultural identity and spirituality.
A unique look into the stories behind the faces we see every day in our bars, at our pride events, and on our smartphones, the diverse stories in ‘Men Like Us’ are a sharp reminder that simple conversation and caring can change the course of our lives for the better.When I was chatting with a friend today about the film I remarked on how awesome it was to see the stories, struggles and triumphs of gay New Zealanders documented on the big screen. Often queer stories that are recorded are from other countries and/or cemented in the past. Hooray for contemporary queer representation!
In a discussion after the documentary someone asked the question of how we can make spaces to have these conversations where we support and celebrate our journeys. I think developing a culture of being available for our friends and family is a good start. How many times have you wanted to hangout with a friend on a bad day only to feel that they would probably be too busy? We live with an air of business that is killing genuine relationships in our lives.
I'm always reminded of just how present we can be for our loved ones during times of crisis and trauma. If someone we love is rushed to hospital from a severe car accident we would drop everything to be there. Some stuff just takes precedence. It is in these moments that I get over myself and remember how precious people are. It's so important to remember that our love is needed in the every day and not just in the bottom of the cliff moments.
Here is to being present, available and deeply compassionate people.
Also, make sure you check out Men Like Us when it opens at Rialto Cinemas on August 30th.