We’re in this Together: Awareness and Passion can Make a Difference

March 14, 2013 in inQueery

courtesy of Devon YaffeDevon Yaffe was looking to spread the word about a documentary he had filmed for his Senior Project at Hollywood High titled Overcoming Adversities as a Gay Teen: One Generation at a Time. He found us and we are proud to present his story to you.

Devon’s documentary consists of interviews with gay men from all different age groups and backgrounds. A lot of men had never shared these stories before and I expressed to him – and he agreed – how important this was. I believe this piece of both current daily realities of gay teens and the personal histories of growing up gay can do more than we might imagine. His efforts are proof of the ways that building community and sharing in the efforts of awareness can make a huge impact. After all, what started as a school project for Devon, 17, certainly grew into something a lot bigger than its director anticipated.

When I sat down with him for an interview, I found that his charm and passion are genuine – he is in this for the long haul and it means more to him than a grade on a paper. He expressed that he felt changed after this experience, the semester project turned into a life mission.

He greeted me with a warm smile and answered any question I threw at him with grace and careful consideration. Our interview felt much more like a conversation, one that was totally comfortable in which we were agreeing about this and that and generally reciprocating positive energy. This illustrated to me that he takes others’ stories and situations seriously. His documentary is free to view on YouTube so that it may reach as many people as possible. Watch below!

He is very personable; he has an ideal demeanor for dealing with people and for convincing others that the things he cares about are important. Devon rises above the apathy of many teenagers and is an example of a passion for change that can be fostered in younger generations. His devotion to self and community cultivation is only growing further as he is currently working to get his documentary shown at other high schools and is also talking to the Lesbian and Gay Center in Hollywood to further his activism.

I watched his interview for FreeSpeech TV before I spoke with him, where he gave the details about how he got to working on Overcoming Adversities. He expressed the relevance the project had for him as the film grew into an understanding about the impact these stories could have on the greater community. His personal experience with bullying and anxieties with regard to being gay helped him focus his project; the personal connection allowed him to create something intimate and truly well-done. His documentary has no self-advertising qualities. He stepped back and became just one of the many gay males answering questions for his film. That dedication to the purpose of spreading awareness to his community was proven as he put in many more hours than his peers on this assignment. He approached his interview subjects with honor and dedicated interest.

Devon was lucky to receive a lot of support while working on his project. He says he owes a lot to his family for supporting his dream in Hollywood and his film project. He also believes that this support can be found almost anywhere. In other words, he believes in the unity of the LGBT community(ies). When a classmate approached Devon wanting to reboot a GSA at their High School, he wholeheartedly supported her and he now holds a position as historian in the group. His classmate reaching out to him shows that there are people willing to connect to one another and support each other to create a safe space for LGBT people.

Devon is just one example of brave, dedicated individuals that we can learn from to break silences about being gay, bisexual, transgender and challenging the world by coming to peace with ourselves.

What I got from him is that drive and passion are critical for making a difference. If you have that, just a basic plan of engaging with awareness, education or any other aspect of activism will bring about results. Devon’s classmates’ response to his documentary shows the incredible effects that conversations about the daily realities of being gay can have. Sharing what you’ve done also makes a huge difference. He shared his documentary with us and now we’re sharing his story with you!

Watch the full interview Here.

Katie Tims is a Staff Writer at InQueery.
You can follow Katie’s personal and business ramblings on Google+