Image Source: Getty / Rob Kim
Adam Wescott executive produced This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous.
Growing up as a young gay kid in Falmouth, ME, I didn’t know anyone who was LGBTQ. In fact, I didn’t know anyone with a diverse background or orientation at all! We didn’t have Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta to show us it was OK to be yourself. This new generation of young LGBTQ leaders share their personal stories on social media and inspire others to do the same, which has opened the floodgates for a more accepting, loving, and equal society.
One of my proudest moments as a member of the LGBTQ community happened recently during the promotion of our documentary This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. We were fortunate enough to be accepted into the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and the premiere night turnout was a mix of friends, family, fans, and film-lovers.
I’ve personally recognized the “influence” of Gigi Gorgeous (then Gregory Gorgeous) since our first encounter in 2011. She flew to LA to be part of a small competition series I was producing and within minutes of her arrival she stole the show. She was captivating, funny, charming, personable – and always over-the-top. Five years later and we’re now manager-client as well as business and producing partners, with our third partner in crime, Scott Fisher.
Image Source: Courtesy of Adam Wescott
As the credits began to roll at the Sundance premiere, there was a slow but passionate round of applause, which quickly turned into a standing ovation. People wiped tears from their eyes and at the same time laughed through the final scenes. Once the Q+A began, there was a range of questions from the crowd. We fielded the usual inquiries about growing an audience on YouTube and Gigi’s father, a newfound hero and role model. Then, a nervous but cheerful teenage boy stood up. He explained how Gigi’s YouTube videos had changed his life. He spoke of coming out in a small, conservative high school and how difficult it had been. He walked us through the lonely process of starting an LGBT-Straight Alliance at his school and nervously asked if Gigi would consider coming to visit. Without hesitation, Gigi agreed to make the trip and speak to his now three-person LGBT-alliance group.
Two months later, we found ourselves in front of a school auditorium filled with 700 kids. Not just the alliance group but the entire school population was called to an assembly led by the one and only Gigi Gorgeous.
One after another, kids began to raise their hand and tell their stories. Some uplifting and positive, some heart-wrenching and unexpected. One girl chose to share her truth in the comfort of Gigi’s arms and came out as lesbian to students and faculty (before even coming out to her parents). It was then I knew the impact our small film and Gigi’s growing influence could have on a young, more open and vocal generation.
Through the documentary and Gigi’s audience reach, I’ve been able to work directly with organizations like HRC, It Gets Better, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center to inspire change and acceptance. By telling Gigi’s story in This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, I am confident we’ve helped at least one, if not many, LGBTQ kids be confident in their own skin. And, for this, I am PROUD.