‘Pariah’ teaches valuable lessons on coming out

'Pariah' teaches valuable lessons on coming out

Adepero Oduye plays Alike, a seventeen-year old protagonist in 'Pariah.'

Her mother did her wrong.

That’s what members of the Gay Straight Alliance were saying about the character Alike [pronounced Ah-lee-kay] after seeing the movie “Pariah” on Jan. 26 at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco.

Seventeen-year-old Alike [Adepero Oduye] is great in poetry and a good student at her high school, but she is trying to find herself as a lesbian. She is a quiet girl, but with her friend Laura [Pernell Walker] being so open with her own lesbian life, Alike wants to find a girlfriend right away and wants her friend to help her.

Although Alike knows she is a lesbian, her parents don’t know. Even though her mom [Kim Wayans] is a little suspicious, she doesn’t really know. It is hard for Alike to tell her parents about her sexuality because her mom has been forcing her to be more girly and her dad [Charles Parnell] barely is home.

Alike’s mom takes the Bible in her purse everywhere she goes, including to church every Sunday. Like other extreme Christians, she is against people of the same sex dating and that means trouble for Alike.

“The mom is a type of person that you like at first, but when she starts to realize the type of person you really are, she starts to not like you,” said Arnice St. Remy, a Gay Straight Alliance member and junior at Media Academy.

GSA members say watching the movie made them realize the struggles gay people must overcome.

“Overall, that was a good movie,” said St. Remy. “It made me think a lot about how sometimes it’s hard to come out of the closet because you don’t know what people will think about you.”

Taking kids to go see a lesbian movie may seem unusual, but GSA leaders say it was a valuable experience.

“I felt great about taking the kids to go see a lesbian movie because all the kids wanted to go see it,” said Sonja Totten-Harris, Media Academy teacher and a co-sponsor of GSA. “Even though [Alike] was a lesbian, she went through things everybody else goes through like love and heartbreak.”

Another GSA co-sponsor, Joanna Brownson, also felt the trip was a success.

“The movie showed the obstacles that a lot of our students face in a way they can relate to,” said Brownson, a math teacher at Media Academy.

“Pariah” is not in theaters anymore, but you can catch the 86-minute movie on Netflix and it will be available on DVD on April 24. This movie was directed by Dee Rees and is rated R.

Beside going to “Pariah,” GSA members have been busy with other events. They have got bracelets made that say, “Fremont GSA don’t hate!” They will soon plan Fremont’s activities for the Day of Silence.

According to the Day of Silence website, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide  will participate in this year’s event by taking a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name calling, bullying and harassment in their school.

GSA is a club at Fremont that lets members talk about what makes a person straight or gay and how to change people’s perceptions on the campus about homosexuality. The club is starting to raise money for field trips and different activities.

GSA meets every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Room 1208 of Media Academy.