London Calling



HIDDEN 2 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COMA knock on the door. I paused. A shadow was outlined on the curtain. John and I exchanged glances. We hadn't ordered room service — there wasn't room service at Beck's. "I'll deal with it," I said, prepared to shoo away one of the roving zombie tweakers, and opened the door. "Listen ... " A boy stood in the breezeway, his face hidden in the shadows. A duffel bag was slung over his left shoulder.

He smiled, shy. "Hi," Chad Brian said, in a heavily adenoidal voice. Miraculously, our first subject had flown from Florida and delivered himself to our room. Now, I thought, taking his bag and ushering him into the room, we begin.

The next day, we drove to the Tenderloin and ditched the car. Chad Brian's presence jolted me into the realization that the safe house documentary couldn't be made at a remove. More so, "Hiding Out" demanded me to reinvest myself in a topic I was pained to revisit.

We were walking down Polk Street when I looked away and down a cross street. I saw a girl walking away, skateboard hooked under right hand. Something made me shout, "Excuse me!" She ignored me. "Deeth!" Chad Brian yelled. She turned and looked. The clock was still ticking, but we now had our second interview. Marci (who'd run safe houses) and National Center for Lesbian Rights attorney Shannon Minter followed.

The days blurred. We left the roachy motel, returned to L.A. and edited "Hiding Out." John left the post-production house, video in hand, late for his flight to D.C. I was done. Or was I? For the second time, "Hiding Out" left me with a sense of accomplishment but not completion.

Chad Brian's unlikely yet perfectly timed appearance at Beck's was our project's desperately needed turning point. He was the catalyst for "Hiding Out." I saw myself reflected in Chad Brian. Like me, he'd been ground up by the psychiatric industry's voracious appetite for money and gay teenagers. Like me, Chad Brian was forever searching to redeem himself from his horrific experience. And, like me, Chad Brian was a brave young gay person who carried on despite having every reason in the world to curl up and die.

Tags: Books