by Caitlin Tortorici
WHITMAN COLLEGE PIONEER
On Oct. 24 in Kimball Theater, Professor Melissa Wilcox presented her documentary, “Each of Us: A Documentary on Religion, Gender and Sexuality.” The film included interviews with six people of various sexualities, ethnicities and religious backgrounds in order to explore how these facets of identity intersect with religious beliefs and practices.
“The goal of the project was to see where the women were and what they were doing and why,” said Wilcox, who began her study after noting the dominating male population in GLBTQ religious organizations.
Wilcox sought to create a film that focused on women’s spirituality outside of traditional religion. “There are great films about what it is to be Jewish and queer, said Wilcox. “There are few films about what it means to be Christian and queer. There’s a film coming out now about how to be Muslim and queer, but there’s nothing asking, ‘What if it’s not so simple? What if you’re not just Christian, or not just Jewish, or not just Muslim?’”
Wilcox found Los Angeles a convenient and appropriate place to conduct her research. “I needed a large community, so that would be essentially it. L.A. is also interesting for a project like this because it is where the majority of LGBT religious movements were founded,” said Wilcox.
Of 29 people interviewed, Wilcox chose six whose stories best represented the religious diversity of the city. With the help of editors Rich Jones and Morgan Ross, Wilcox narrowed 40 hours of footage down to one.
New to the film scene, Wilcox apparently shot the film in the “wrong format.” Nevertheless, she hopes it will make television and the American Academy of Religion Film Festival.
For those interested in exploring women’s religion further, Wilcox recommended Karen McCarthy Brown’s “Mama Lola” and Joseph Murphy’s “Working the Spirit.”