MBS junior Joseph Geoghan ’23 is the founder of Rainbow Youth Alliance SOMA, a group dedicated to bringing together Maplewood, South Orange, and neighboring communities in celebration of LGBTQ youth and to encourage allyship. In December, the group hosted a screening and reception of the award-winning documentary Cured featuring filmmakers Bennett Singer and Mridu Chandra as well as actor Patrick Wilson.
The film illuminates a pivotal chapter in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality: the campaign to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental illnesses. Before this momentous 1973 decision, the medical establishment viewed every gay and lesbian person as diseased and in need of a cure. Businesses and government used the mental illness classification to justify discrimination and bigotry.
“The Rainbow Youth Alliance would like to see being LGBTQ+ normalized and visible so that it’s less traumatic to come out and easier to feel included,” said Joseph. “When you watch Cured, it hits you that it was really not long ago that being gay was considered an actual disease, but the film also highlights how far we’ve come as a society. And that we can do better.”
The documentary’s producer and director, Bennett Singer, said, “I was absolutely thrilled when Joseph reached out about using Cured as a way to bring together community members for an intergenerational event. Now is a great time to learn about the history behind some of what we’re seeing today, and how people with good intentions and science on their side successfully challenged myths and prejudices about being LGBTQ+.”
Rainbow Youth Alliance SOMA supports local LGBTQ+ youth, their families and allies through education, community building and awareness raising. In 2022, planned programming for the South Orange Maplewood community includes guest speaker events, discussion groups, socials, and outings. Reach out to RainbowYouthSOMA@gmail.com or Instagram (@rainbowyouthalliance) to volunteer, donate, or get further information.