Dustin Lance Black
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Dustin Lance Black (born June 10, 1974) is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and
LGBT rights Rights affecting lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, or a ...
activist. Black is a founding board member of the
American Foundation for Equal Rights The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is a nonprofit organization established in 2009 to support the plaintiffs in ''Hollingsworth v. Perry'' (formerly ''Perry v. Brown'' or ''Perry v. Schwarzenegger''), a federal lawsuit challenging Calif ...
and writer of '' 8'', a staged reenactment of the federal trial that led to a federal court's overturn of California's
Proposition 8 Proposition 8, known informally as Prop 8, was a California ballot proposition and a constitutional amendment, state constitutional amendment intended to ban same-sex marriage; it passed in the California state elections, November 2008, Novem ...
.


Early life

Black's father Raul Garrison walked out on his
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology ...

polio
-stricken mother, Roseanna, and his two brothers, Marcus Raul and Todd Bryant, when he was young. They grew up in a
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is v ...
household, first in
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, before moving to
Salinas, California Salinas (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Saltworks") is a city in California and the county seat of Monterey County, California, Monterey County. With a population of 163,542 in the 2020 Census, Salinas is the most populous city in Monterey Coun ...
. Growing up surrounded by
Mormon culture Mormons are a religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is v ...
and
military base A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense ...
s, Black worried about his sexuality. When he found himself attracted to a boy in his neighborhood at the age of six or seven, he told himself "I'm going to hell. And if I ever admit it, I'll be hurt, and I'll be brought down". He says that his "acute awareness" of his sexuality made him dark, shy, and at times suicidal. He
came out ''Slime Language 2'' is the second collaborative compilation album by American record label YSL Records, Young Stoner Life, American rapper Young Thug, the label's founder, and American rapper Gunna (rapper), Gunna, one of the label's artists. It ...
in his senior year of college. While attending North Salinas High School, Black began to work in theater at The Western Stage in Salinas, California, Salinas and later worked on productions including ''Bare: a pop opera, Bare'' at Hollywood's Hudson Main Stage Theater. Black attended the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theater, Film, and Television (UCLA) while apprenticing with stage directors, taking acting jobs, and working on theater lighting crews. He graduated with honors in 1996.


Career

In 2000, Black wrote and directed ''The Journey of Jared Price'', a gay romance film, and ''Something Close to Heaven'', a gay coming-of-age short film. In 2001, he directed and was a subject in the documentary ''On the Bus'' about a Nevada road trip and adventure at Burning Man taken by six gay men. Raised as
Mormon Mormons are a religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is v ...
, he was hired as the only such writer on the HBO drama series ''Big Love'' about a polygamy, polygamous family. He served on season one as a staff writer, executive story editor in season two, and was promoted again, to co-producer, for season three. Black first visited San Francisco in the early 1990s, while AIDS was devastating the city's gay community. Black said that, "Hearing about Harvey was about the only hopeful story there was at the time." He had first viewed Rob Epstein's documentary ''The Times of Harvey Milk'' when he was in college, and thought, "I just want to do something with this, why hasn't someone done something with this?" Researching Milk's life for three years, Black met with Milk's former aides Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg, as well as former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, and began to write a feature film screenplay encompassing the events of Milk's life. The screenplay was written spec script, on spec, but Black showed the script to Jones, who passed it on to his friend Gus Van Sant, who signed on to direct the feature. Black is an old friend of ''Milk'' producer Dan Jinks, who signed on to the biopic after he called Black to congratulate him and discovered that the project did not have a confirmed producer. Black's film ''Pedro (film), Pedro'', profiling the life of AIDS activist and reality television personality Pedro Zamora, premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. On February 22, 2009, Black won the Oscar for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay for ''Milk'' at the 81st Academy Awards. He wore a White Knot to the ceremony as a symbol of solidarity with the marriage equality movement. On October 11, 2009, Black marched in the National Equality March and delivered a speech in front of the United States Capitol to an estimated crowd of 200,000 LGBT rights activists. In 2010, Black directed his own script ''Virginia (2010 film), Virginia'', starring Jennifer Connelly. Also in 2010, Black narrated ''8: The Mormon Proposition'', a documentary about the involvement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in California's Proposition 8. Black accepted the award for best documentary for ''8: The Mormon Proposition'' at the GLAAD Media awards in San Francisco and spoke out on discrimination in the LDS Church and meeting with the church to make it more LGBT-inclusive. Black wrote the screenplay for ''J. Edgar'', a biographical drama released November 11, 2011, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2011, Black wrote the play '' 8'', which portrays the actual events in the ''Hollingsworth v. Perry'' trial and the testimony which led to the overturn of California's California Proposition 8, Proposition 8. He created the play in response to the federal court's refusal to allow release of video recordings from the trial and to give the public a true account of what transpired in the courtroom. It is written and performed using original transcripts from the trial and journalist records, along with first-hand interviews of the people involved. ''8'' first opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City on September 19, 2011, and later broadcast to a worldwide audience on YouTube from the Ebell of Los Angeles Theatre on March 3, 2012. The
American Foundation for Equal Rights The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is a nonprofit organization established in 2009 to support the plaintiffs in ''Hollingsworth v. Perry'' (formerly ''Perry v. Brown'' or ''Perry v. Schwarzenegger''), a federal lawsuit challenging Calif ...
(AFER) and Broadway Impact, sponsors of ''8'', have released and licensed the play for readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theaters free of charge. Black appears as himself in the documentary film ''Hollywood to Dollywood'' (originally released in 2011). Black published his autobiography ''Mama's Boy: A Story From Our Americas'' in 2019. Coming up, Paris Barclay is slated to direct Black's screenplay ''A Life Like Mine'' and Gus Van Sant is set to direct his film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book ''The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test''.


Personal life

Black was the top entry on a list of Coming out, openly gay influential people in ''The Advocate (LGBT magazine), The Advocate'''''s'' "Forty under 40" issue of June/July 2009. He was featured on the cover of the magazine. He was one of the Official Grand Marshals in the 2009 NYC LGBT Pride March, produced by Heritage of Pride joining Anne Kronenberg and Cleve Jones. On January 24, 2012, Black's brother, Marcus, died of cancer. Black started a relationship with British Olympic champion Tom Daley, in spring 2013; they live in Southwark, London. In October 2015 it was announced that they had become engaged, and in May 2017 they married at Bovey Castle in Devon. On February 14, 2018, Black and Daley announced they were expecting their first child; in June, they announced the birth of a son (by surrogacy). Facing criticism for their choice of surrogacy, Black and Daley started a podcast in which they discussed Surrogacy#Ethical issues, the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy and the experience as a whole. Black and Daley do not share pictures of their son's face online or on social media accounts due to privacy concerns. Daley said, "That might change in the future, but for right now, we wanted to enjoy the first year with him." In 2014, Black was one of eight potential commencement speakers invited by Pasadena City College, and he accepted. After school officials learned nude pictures of Black were leaked online five years prior, the college announced Black had not been officially invited and the unofficial invitation was "an honest error". After talks between Black's and PCC's attorneys, the college board of trustees apologized and formally invited him.


Filmography


Other awards

* Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of The Year 2009 * UCLA's Distinguished Achievement in Screenwriting award, "UCLA Festival 2009: New Creative Work," UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, School of Theater, Film and Television, June 10, 2009, Freud Playhouse * Distinguished Service to the LGBT Community by a UCLA Alumnus Award, 2009 UCLA LGBT Graduation Ceremony, June 13, 2009 * Bonham Centre Award, for contribution to awareness and education around issues of sexual diversity]

The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto, September 27, 2011 * Human Rights Campaign, Visibility Award September 15, 2012 * Equality Arizona, The Barry Goldwater Human Rights Individual Award Sept. 2013 * Writers Guild of America West, 2018 Valentine Davies Award for Civil and Human Rights Efforts, February 11, 2018


References


Bibliography

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External links

* *
American Foundation for Equal Rights

"8" (the play) Official website
*
Dustin Lance Black: Telling The Story Of 'J. Edgar'
radio interview on ''Fresh Air'' (21 mins; 2012) {{DEFAULTSORT:Black, Dustin Lance 1974 births 21st-century American male writers Activists from California American expatriates in England American film editors American male screenwriters American television writers Best Original Screenplay Academy Award winners Film directors from California Film directors from Texas Film producers from California Film producers from Texas Former Latter Day Saints American gay writers Independent Spirit Award winners LGBT Latter Day Saints LGBT people from California LGBT rights activists from the United States LGBT screenwriters Living people American male television writers People from Salinas, California Screenwriters from California Screenwriters from Texas Television producers from California Television producers from Texas UCLA Film School alumni Writers Guild of America Award winners Writers from Sacramento, California Writers from San Antonio LGBT dramatists and playwrights 21st-century American screenwriters LGBT film directors 21st-century LGBT people