A critical look at gay and lesbian bashing in the Chicago area is provided by “Green On Thursdays,” a compassionate docu that is at once a cautionary tale and an urgent call for activism. The increasing homophobia and other hate-crimes in American society should make this film relevant for all kinds of viewers — gays and straights — on PBS and cable and in schools and other educational institutions.
For the most part, pic consists of interviews with the victims and survivors of gay-directed violence. Title refers to a 19th century practice by which gay men secretly identified each other by wearing green ties on Thursdays.
Film’s most interesting section deals with the response of gay activists to the problem, their strong determination not to react as “an oppressed and passive community.” Out of this grew a whole network of orgs — Pink Angels, Horizon’s Anti-Violence, Coalition Against Bashing — established to prevent and fight homophobia.
Demographic profiles of gay bashers show that they tend to be young males, often members of ethnic minorities. But what’s truly missing here is an exploration of the sources and causes of bashing and how these particular hate crimes are interrelated with the broader issues of racism and sexism that afflict society.
Though docu chronicles gay bashing in Chicago, its findings and conclusions apply to any other city in the U.S. The best thing to be said about the film is that it makes a strong case for greater alertness and a more effective and efficient response to the problem by the police and justice system.