One aspect of the film that I found really interesting was the contrast between Jean watching Blind Date on TV at home, which really normalizes straight dating and behavior, and her finding a copy of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness ‘ in her friend’s apartment. Blind Date is new, anyone can see it, but with this book, she practically has to stumble into representation.
That was one of my main motivations for telling the story: to reflect on the deluge of heteronormative news that everyone is exposed to. Not only Jean, but also Sammy, the little boy. The whole idea is that we all grow up in the same vacuum of being shown a certain type of experience over and over again, to the point where it doesn’t matter if you experience it doesn’t matter at all Being different in your immediate family still seems wrong because of all this other news.
I keep having conversations with queer friends about this. I have a stepdaughter, and she often makes comments you wouldn’t expect from someone who was essentially raised with two mothers. They’re going to be like, “Why did you just say that?” and she’s going to be like, “Oh, I was watching something on Netflix,” and you’re like, “Okay, yeah.” So I’ve thought about it a lot and thought about it, that I grew up in a household where we watched Blind Date every Saturday night and no one thought anything of it.
Looking back through the Blind Date archives, I wasn’t expecting to find anything like this… it almost feels like comedy because of the misogyny that’s so pronounced. It appears in every single episode. It just makes your spine tingle. I wanted to reflect that the most important takeaway from my experience during Section 28 is that once you remove all role models and discussion of homosexuality, homosexuality simply no longer exists in our world.
But then all these messages enter you without your permission. You just get hit on the head every day and you don’t even notice the billboards you drive past. Or articles in the newspaper. Back then it was also a kind of time when there was only one newspaper. If you worked in a school, there was a newspaper that school subscribed to and everyone read the headline that day. It has helped shape public opinion. So when something was written — and there were so many headlines that went, “Crazy lesbians … blah blah blah.” If that’s what everyone reads at lunchtime, you know, and you’re at it, how different it is that of the way we experience news and the like today?