Today is Easter. I was raised Catholic and told that Easter was about forgiveness. Although I would not consider myself a practicing Catholic, I do believe that forgiveness is important part of life, and not just a part of this season.
One part of the prostitution law that passed in November was this allowance of forgiveness. Women who were charged with prostitution would be able to get their first offense expunged. This was a very important part of the law, to me this was the most important part of the law. It would allow for the women to not face life with a burden of a criminal record. It would allow them to not face employment or housing discrimination. This would allow them a second chance, where they would not be destined to be in the lifestyle if they wanted to get out. (This only applied for first time offenders)
Well it seems that a few women decided they wanted to get out. They wanted to change their lives, to be able to apply for jobs without marking down they had a criminal record. We all know that the job search in Rhode Island is abysmal, 3rd highest unemployment in the country, can you imagine if you had the Scarlet letter of a prostitution charge on your file?
One women commented on this blog:
I work for a social service agency that assists ex-offenders. Last month, several of the women we assist applied for expungement of previous prostitution related offenses. ALL met the current criteria (had only one offense), and ALL WERE DENIED in the 6th District by one VERY prejudice and lousy jurist.
It is sad that this law that was changed with the mantra of “Helping the women” has not helped one iota.
I thought I would have been in a festival by now. I don’t know why I want to get into a festival, but now that I haven’t gotten into one I want to get in one bad. I wasn’t really thinking about it when I started this whole thing. Funny thing is I tried to get into my local film festival RI International Film festival. That was a joke. Half of the people in my film are sponsoring the festival. The City of Providence, The Pheonix, the director of the festival even has pictures of him and the mayor all over the festival web site. The funniest thing about the whole process was when I asked why I was not selected I was told that the film was homophobic.
I wouldn’t consider myself homophobic, or the film for a few reasons. Besides the fact that I myself am a lesbian, I have done many filming projects for my community. If things are said in the film that are anti-gay, that does not make the film or the director homophobic. The film is a cinema verite film. If I were to edit out everything I disagreed with I would have a very short film.
Basically the way I see it is like this. I am fat. Every morning I look for a shirt that doesn’t make me look fat. But I realize that it isn’t the shirt that makes me look fat, it is the fat that makes me look fat. Same logic with the film, it is not the film that is homophobic, it is some of the people in the film who make some anti-gay or shall I say anti-gay mayor comments.
The oddest thing is while I was being rejected by RIFF I was dealing with RI Housing and a member of their staff was discriminating against me for being gay and saying the same things that were in the film, so homophobia does exist and to edit it out would force me to be unreal to the film especially when I faced it.
On the good side of things we were asked to submit to the Traverse City Film Festival. That is Micheal Moore’s film festival. We made it down to the final 50 or so films but didn’t make it to the final cut. As usual he took a bunch of anti-Bush films and anti-war films. I am sure we will find some place to show it, and it will blow up. It deserves to.