A young man from Texas with an eloquent voice and articulate thinking gave that to us. And it will be seen in “Second Class Citizens”, the documentary. The title is poignant in the irony: I am not, and you are not a Second Class Citizen. The documentary is still in production, but it will be a feature length film with hopes of premiering at major film festivals: Sundance, Toronto and hopefully Reel Q: Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival.
Ryan James Yezak is a young film maker from Houston, Texas. High school graduation led to the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Ryan studied film making in Austin and decided a move to Los Angeles would further his career.
The road to making films is not an easy one. Ryan began his career at MTV as an executive assistant. It was a huge achievement for a young man. But the ultimate goal was not at MTV – Ryan wanted to make his own films. His own life led to his pursuit of making films and giving his voice through films.
The journey for Ryan was not always easy. Acceptance from family was forthcoming, but not easy. Ryan saw discrimination and bullying against gay youth and that inspired him to create his own films. The focus would be on the abuse that he saw, the discrimination that he knew existed. The intent was to express his artistic abilities and to educate Americans about the hurt that he saw people experience.
This led Ryan to create his own films, including the powerful trailer for his “Second Class Citizens” documentary: The Gay Rights Movement.
Other campaigns have been started and are ongoing. These include “NOH8”, “It Gets Better“and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. As Ryan said: “I am a huge supporter of these campaigns and their messages. I posed for “NOH8”. I made a video for “It Gets Better”. I was most definitely Born This Way. Each of these organizations did a wonderful job of bringing attention to its campaign cause/message and so I am using that same approach to bring attention to the Second Class Citizens documentary and its message.”
I’VE DONE PHOTO SHOOTS SO FAR IN LOS ANGELES, TAMPA, HOUSTON, DALLAS, AUSTIN, AND SAN DIEGO AND PITTSBURGH.
Ryan’s efforts extended beyond his videos. A campaign was started. The movement took the name of the documentary and Second Class Citizens was born. Photo shoots were arranged, and the movement took hold. The photos started in Los Angeles and spread to San Diego. As Ryan said “I’ve done photo shoots in Los Angeles, Tampa, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Diego and now Pittsburgh so far. I am headed to San Francisco and Denver in mid-June. Possibly Seattle in late June. It is my hope to bring the campaign to each state at least once so that as many people as possible have the chance to participate.” As Pittsburgh celebrates our Pride, Ryan James Yezak is another person we can be proud of.