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Ryan James Yezak

I recently came across a really moving video on YouTube called “The Gay Rights Movement” (watch below). It was a beautifully crafted montage of news clips covering the gay civil rights movement from the 50’s to present. The video has gone viral and has been all over Facebook. But what has facinated me is the reason for the reason for the video.

If you haven’t heard of Ryan James Yezak you’ve probably seen his work, especially if you’re a gay YouTube junkie like myself. He’s a 25-year-old Los Angeles filmmaker from Houston that is responsible for a host of overly campy remakes of pop music videos that always go viral. Some of the one’s you may have seen are “California Gays” (remake of KatyPerry’s “California Girls”), Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” and, my favorite, “Only Gay in the World” (remake of Rihanna’s “Only Girl”). (Check out his YouTube channel for more videos.)

For his next project Yezak is ditching the shtick and going for serious with his first full-length feature. He’s putting together a documentary about discrimination in the gay community called “Second Class Citizens,” which he says will be his largest undertaking. The video below features his announcement of the project.

The video that is the topic of this post was his first steps towards promoting “Second Class Citizens” in any major way. And it’s paying off. “The Gay Rights Movement” is well passed 2 million views and it still gaining.

He’s also put out a video (watch below) asking for people to email him their stories of discrimination based on sexual orientation. He also started a Kickstarter campaign that has already raised more than $138,000. His initial goal was $50,000. You can email him at ryanyezak@gmail.com if you have story to share. He’s also started Facebook and Twitter pages for the film.

I am really excited for Ryan and this project, but not without reservation. Over the years he seems to have concentrated all his efforts on these gay remakes of music videos, which he’s become very good at, but I wonder if he’s able to create a serious documentary that our community can be proud of and that will really affect change.

If the Kickstarter campaign continues to bring in money like it has, he could come out with $300,o00 easy by his March 9th fundraiser deadline, which isn’t a lot in the film industry but is enough to make something substantial that’s well-produced. I just hope it works. I am rootin’ for him. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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