Film and TV

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez Is the Unlikely Star of a Pretty Cool HBO Documentary

The new HBO documentary The Out List was supposed to be a response to California's Proposition 8. But it turned into something bigger, director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders told Vanity Fair, where he's a contributing photographer. What it became is a series of interviews with 16 openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people talking about marriage, coming out, parenting, and living openly.

Greenfield-Sanders got some pretty high profile names, including Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, and Suze Orman. He also got Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

"I asked the director how I got in it and he never really answered me," she told a crowd assembled at the Angelika Theater in Dallas for a screening hosted by the Dallas County Democratic Party and the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. "He just said, 'You don't know how popular you are.'"

Omar Narvaez, president of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, introduced the film. He cheered Wednesday's Supreme Court decisions and gay marriage and hammered Democrat talking points.

"The Republicans proved Tuesday night that they will do whatever it takes to lie, cheat, and steal," he said, referencing the debacle closing to the Texas legislature's special session. He then called on everyone present to help elect Wendy Davis as governor of Texas, and Hillary Clinton as president.

In her interview in the documentary, Valdez talks about growing up in Dallas, and finding comfort at the LGBT-friendly Metropolitan Community Church. "Just like every other person that ever tried to come in there we drove around the church for a couple times trying to get brave enough to come in."

The Out List may not cover a lot of new territory for people already familiar with LGBT issues, but it's moving to hear so many people speaking passionately about the need for marriage equality just after the Supreme Court decisions. And the documentary touches on groups usually forgotten in the talk about gay rights: transgendered and bisexual people. And the legendary drag performer Lady Bunny, in her interview, says she's sick of the role drag queens had in the gay rights movement being ignored.

"We started your gay rights," she says, adding "It was the drag queens and the street people that were getting harassment by the police that said, 'Uh-uh, enough, here's a brick in your fucking face.'"