When we began the process of making this film, it was a simpler story. Tim had two hiking goals planned for the summer and I was going to tag along. Then I asked him what he calls, “the question”: “Will you be gay in this film?” For a few minutes he was silent. I was one of only a handful of people who knew Tim was gay. With an Irish Catholic background and a career of working with kids, he was forced into hiding who he truly was. Then, he looked up at me and said, “Yes.” In that moment, after his whole lifetime of hiding, Tim decided to come out.
This wasn’t an easy transition. By 70, hiding himself and diverting any conversation away from potentially outing him was a reflex. Since that moment three years ago, Tim has grown much more comfortable with who he is. He has dedicated himself to sharing his story to show that hiding isn’t the answer and to helping anyone who can relate. As a director and a friend, it has been a beautiful journey watching Tim become more comfortable with himself. Now, he proudly stands in front of groups ranging from 5 people to auditoriums with 400 and tells his story about how far he has come in the last few years.
The journey of an individual is important, as each person’s story reflects the journey of many others. In making this film, I met numerous people of all ages who are still hiding. This is a problem that persists in today’s society. While we can take the easy route and use Tim’s story to reassure ourselves that the world is a better place, it is more important that we take action. Through embracing the film’s message, sharing the story, and engaging others in constructive dialogue, we can actively affect change. A story like Tim’s has the power to do so much good for so many people. It is important that as many people can see it as possible, in the hopes it finds someone who needs it.