Breaking Through is a documentary that explores the lives and careers of LGBT policymakers. Elected and appointed officials including high profile figures like Senator Tammy Baldwin and former Congressman Barney Frank, as well as county commissioners and local judges discuss the various paths that lead them to public service and describe the hurdles presented along the way. Many faced political bullying, familial difficulties and other hardships during the process, but all were successful in entering their respective public field.
The documentary includes stories from people with various backgrounds. Joan Garner, an openly gay African American female serving as a Fulton County Commissioner, offers her intriguing story of the obstacles she faced while running as a person identifying with several minorities. Phyllis Frye, a transgender woman who is a Judge for the Houston Municipal Court, also recounts the difficulties that were presented while seeking her seat on the bench. Several other prominent government officials included in the documentary are California State Assembly members John Perez and Toni Atkins, Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and many others.
Though the filmmakers' interview a diverse range of government officials, the lack of interviews from transgender individuals in public office is telling. Transgender people are still underrepresented in elected office, which is one of the continued hurdles we face as a country and as an LGBT movement. If anything, however, this documentary should inspire those who seek government positions to do so, because as Breaking Through makes clear, a more accurate representation of constituents allows for a more equitable country. Having more out LGBT leaders will not only help the overall LGBT movement, but help America as well.
This inspiring documentary is recommended for any LGBT identifying individual who would like to enter the tumultuous political arena. Despite the pervasive adversity, these community and national leaders tell their compelling stories and provide hope to all.
Watch the trailer below.