Dustin Lance Black spoke to the Huffington Post UK
in an exclusive interview for their Loud and Proud series.
The Hollywood screenwriter speaks on growing up as Mormon within a military family in Texas. Black explains how it wasn't until he got to San Fransisco that he started to mix with gay men.
"I was about 15 years old when I moved to the Bay area. At that point, for eight or nine years, all I'd had were negative messages from the church about going to hell. From the military environment, it'd been made clear that I was definitely somebody to be excluded and, being from the South, that I would bring shame to my family if any body found out."
"So I thought if I fell in love, I would go to hell, bring shame to my family, be bashed or be killed. That removes the possibility of love from someone's entire life and replaces it with shame. As a young kid, you start to contemplate solutions for making this living thing shorter, I certainly did, and I know I'm not alone."
He continues, stating that by looking at LGBT organisations, they can tell you that LGBT young people are "four times more likely to attempt suicide," and, "nine times more likely if they come from an unaccepting environment."
He adds that, "There were just no hopeful messages."
Activist Harvey Milk inspired Black and helped him see a way out of "the misery".
"You start to put hope in a place where shame has lived for a long time, and it's life-changing. Life-saving, I'd go so far as to say."
He continued, saying that he was lucky to hear about Harvey Milk.
"It was life-saving for me. I wanted to share it in case it helped others, but the story of one gay man isn't going to do it."
"Until recently, Hollywood wasn't there to support a production of easily accessible hero journeys for LGBT people. I think it's incredibly important for young people who, as they come of age and might start hearing negative messages about who they are, that they also have a history of their forefathers and foremothers that they can draw inspiration from."
"There are many more stories we need to tell."
You can read the Huffington Post's full interview with Dustin Lance Black on their website.
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