by Louisa Paushter

On December 9 at First Parish, the CCHRC held a Human Rights Day Tea in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. In lieu of a speaker, there was a free screening of a powerful educational and entertaining film, “Wild and Precious”, written, acted, directed and produced by Concordian Steve Cadwell.

Cadwell’s personal journey as a gay person growing up in Vermont is the inspiration for the film. Though many gay women and men are “out” to friends and family, the wider society has little insight into the myriad and subtle struggles they endure. Filled with grace, humor and song, poetry and dance, Cadwell took us on his 60-year journey from an effeminate farm boy in a loving family, to discovering his sexuality as a teen, closeted in pain and doubt for years during college, inspired by Stonewall, then crushed by the AIDS epidemic, until finally finding freedom, hope and love to marry and start a family in Massachusetts.

Cadwell’s touching story evoked tears and laughter from the audience. It was a wonderful example of an artistic interpretation of a life of childhood struggles, dealing with homophobic attitudes, sexual abuse, shameful “conversion therapy”, innocence lost, and wisdom gained.
After the film, Cadwell generously answered questions with sensitivity and humor.