AN UNLIKELY POLITICAL AFFINITY IN A CONTENTIOUS CLIMATE
There’s likely not a single day which goes by that you don’t read about, talk about, or think about the policies of the current US administration. The twenty-four-hour news cycle is literally unable to keep up with the pace of news coming from the White House…and they’re experiencing record breaking ratings (and revenue) because of it. All of this attention and outrage on both sides has driven greater division among friends, family, and everyday Americans. More than ever it’s assumed that the political boundaries are clear and intuitive. Director Aaron Lovett wanted to poke holes in this presumption and ended up creating the documentary film Gays for Trump? as a result of his efforts. By focusing on the individuals of this group of unlikely proponents for then candidate Trump/now President Trump, Lovett presented the idea that a lifestyle does not necessarily infer an ideology. Present day has both sides of the political mindset assuming that they know who are their adversaries and who are their combatants; Gays for Trump? highlights the fact that you know much less than you think you know and by doing so reminds us all to get to know individuals rather than groups.
The title of this film alone is disarming. You’ll likely do a second take upon reading it. It was paramount in creating the type of film which Aaron envisioned that he avoided any political stance. While the individuals displayed on screen were all about the politics, Lovett wanted the film to be about the people rather than the politics. During the 2016 election, many of us shared the experience of confronting our friends, coworkers, and family members with questions about their political standing. It was commonplace in conversation with those we knew as well as on news programs to hear of rifts being created among these groups, sometimes leading to volatile relationships. With many people becoming more vocal about their ideology, Aaron wanted to avoid this and present the members of this group in a neutral manner. The seemingly apparent irony of LGBT Trump supporters was not lost on the filmmaker but he recognized that the members of this group felt that their positions were valid and deserved to be heard. The point of the film is not to persuade its audience one way or another but to get a glimpse into the world of this unlikely group of people and how they processed the 2016 election.
Because the election and the current political climate is so polarizing and infuriating to many people, Aaron hired accomplished composer Chris Wotherspoon to create a score that would counterbalance the baser emotions that some of the discussions in the film might cultivate. The tone of this film is lively and strange as a result of the pairing. Wotherspoon relates, “The film is not only enlightening but it is also comedic. The subjects are, in themselves, unique and quirky people and the music reflects this. Ethnic plucky instruments when used in tandem with common orchestral instruments like strings have a very comedic quality to them without making the audience think of any particular geographic location. I also used quite a bit of marimba because it has that staccato popping quality that is fun and playful. Given that the subjects are so unique, the score had to be different and also had to make the film stand out. Ethnic or uncommon instruments like the dulcimer or Saz Zither gave this film a feeling of being unconventional and eccentric.”
The genius and benevolence of Gays for Trump? is that it allows for this unique group to completely dismantle what we feel comfortable assuming in terms of the Venn diagram of lifestyle and political ideology. The expression of ideas, thoughts, and opinions different from one’s own should be an acceptable part of a free society. The right to be heard is not reliant upon agreement. Gays for Trump? is a move towards the right direction. Remember, listening and appreciating those you disagree with today ensures that you will have that benefit if the tables are turned.