By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com July 18 2012 10:25 AM ET
Dan Savage and the producing team behind the It Gets Better documentary specials on MTV and Logo will take their cameras to the campaign trail in a new partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the group that supports openly LGBT candidates running for office announced Wednesday.
According to Gay Politics, Savage and his team have been granted “unprecedented access” to the candidate and campaign training offered by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, which is held about four times per year and will next take place in Long Beach, Calif., from November 28 to December 2. The boot camp for LGBT politicos draws participants from around the country, many of them first-time candidates seeking seats on city councils and in state legislatures.
“This is uncharted territory,” said Savage. ”We’re seeing progress on LGBT issues, but in order to effect real change, representation in government is essential. Aspiring LGBT candidates face a unique set of hurdles on the way to political office. The goal of this project is to follow a number of LGBT political candidates, and highlight Victory’s groundbreaking approach to helping them win.”
The road to elected office is paved with compelling stories from LGBT candidates. Two years ago, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, a Victory Fund endorsee, recounted his own struggle against bullying from the floor of the council chambers. His emotional speech has received millions of views online.
“Out officeholders are crucial leaders in our fight for equality,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. “We look forward to partnering with this talented team of producers and filmmakers to lift the veil on how these men and women learn to run and win.”
Victory Fund spokesman Denis Dison said the project has been under discussion since February, and the two sides agreed to proceed after a member of Savage’s team came away from last month’s training in Milwaukee impressed by participants’ stories. No decisions have been finalized about which candidates to profile, but the partners anticipate that the so-far unnamed project will explore themes including how aspirants arrive at the decision to run, and the training they undergo in order to become effective campaigners.
The project’s executive producers are Savage, Brian Pines, Ted Skillman and Belisa Balaban. Details of where and when the project will air are not yet available.