Legends of Courage, a Sacramento-based LGBTQ documentary film and oral history project will present its inaugural documentary film at a free community screening on Tuesday, March 20, from 5:30pm to 7:30 p.m., at the Sacramento Public Library Tsakopoulos Galleria, West Meeting Room at 828 I St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Reserve your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-story-of-rosemary-metrailer-tickets-33496266234
“The Story of Rosemary Metrailer,” centers on the pioneering Sacramento civil rights attorney who won a lawsuit against televangelist Jerry Falwell that provided seed money to found the Lambda Community Center (now Sacramento LGBT Community Center) in 1984. The film places the civil rights accomplishments of Metrailer and her peers in the context of the social and political environment in Sacramento from 1960s to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.
The 45-minute film includes interviews with Metrailer’s peers— leaders who forged Sacramento’s tradition of support for LGBTQ equality, including former mayors Phil Isenberg, Anne Rudin and Heather Fargo—and the many Sacramentans, such as former Assembly Member Dennis Mangers, Mom…..Guess What! publisher Linda Birner, and legislative advocate and activist Laurie McBride, all who helped blaze the trail.
Metrailer may be best known for her role as plaintiff’s attorney in the infamous 1984 lawsuit filed by former Metropolitan Community Church minister Jerry Sloan against televangelist Jerry Falwell. The conflict made national headlines, and the court awarded Sloan nearly $9,000, which became seed money to establish what became the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.
“You can influence other people, about being outspoken, about what to believe in,” says former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin. “Rosemary did that. She didn’t have to worry about, are they going to like me, or is this going to make me look bad? She said it, she did it, and other people took courage from what she said and did.”
Metrailer is renowned in legal circles for her successful 1988 class action sex discrimination suit against McClellan Air Force Base (1988) on behalf of women employees. As a community leader, she also founded the Sacramento Area Community Women’s Network, and SacLEGAL a recognized LGBTQ Bar Association that promotes equality through legislative advocacy, education, and participation in civic and social activities.
Launched in 2013 by Sacramento filmmaker Dawn Deason of 3D Media Solutions, and the late arts patron Camille Wojtasiak, the Legends of Courage project is designed to capture the voices of pioneering civil rights advocates who helped build Sacramento’s LGBTQ thriving community.
Project supporters hope the Metrailer film is but the opening offering of the Legends of Courage series, Deason says. “Ideally, we would like to make one or two films per year, 30 to 45 minutes in length. There are so many stories to be told about how a small capitol city like Sacramento became a model regarding LGBTQ rights.”
“The Story of Rosemary Metrailer” was produced in association with Sacramento’s Lavender Library, Archives, and Cultural Exchange and is made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities (visit www.calhum.org). Any views, finding, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in “The Rosemary Metrailer Story” do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.