Local LGBT group celebrates historic Oscar win for “Moonlight”

(NEWS10) – Less than a week after its historic win at the Oscars, best picture winner “Moonlight” is back in theaters. One local organization says the ripple effects of that monumental win are already being felt right here in the Capitol Region.

By now we’ve all seen that moment. A win for the ages, on Hollywood’s biggest stage.

“Moonlight, you won best picture.”

A transcended moment. The movie, which chronicles the struggles of a Gay, African-American as he grows up in a rough Miami neighborhood, has become a voice for those who for generations will tell you they didn’t have one.

“It comes up a lot, wondering if you are going to be accepted. Wondering if you are going to fit in and be accepted by mainstream society,” said Melvin Bruce.

Melvin Bruce came out at age 15.

“It’s very challenging being a person of color and a gay male,” said Bruce.

He grew up in a housing project. Much like the character depicted in “Moonlight”, he was bullied for being different.

“Being a kid who didn’t fit in traditional roles, I didn’t play basketball, I didn’t play baseball, and I didn’t play football. I didn’t have the deepest voice or anything where society tells you, you may be different or you may be gay, before you can even identify yourself,” said Bruce.

Bruce let that fuel him. He now works at “In Our Own Voices”, a LGBT organization in Albany. Not being accepted is something he finds many Gay African-American men battle with.

“Shame, guilt, not feeling comfortable to talk about their sexuality with other individuals. Still dealing with family and friends that aren’t accepting of their sexuality,” said Bruce.

And that’s why “Moonlights” big win can make a real change. Executive Director Tandra Lagone agrees.

“Amazing, amazing, amazing that in 2017 a black, gay film gets three categories they win at the Oscars,” said Lagone.

A movie can sometimes be much more than just a movie. It can be a message and the start of the movement.

“That forces us as a community and other individuals to be able to deal with the individuals at hand so I feel like it is always a step forward for us,” said Bruce.

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