WATCH: Lupe Valdez, Joel Burns, Annise Parker featured in doc on openly LGBT elected officials

Director Cindy L. Abel

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns and Houston Mayor Annise Parker (you might as well call them the Texas Trio) are among those whose stories will be included in a new feature-length documentary about openly LGBT elected officials. Cindy L. Abel, director of Breaking Through, will visit Dallas on Aug. 17, according to a note we received from publicist Cathy Renna:

“She will be in town to interview two officials who will be featured in the film: Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the first and only female, Latina, and openly LGBT sheriff in Texas; and Ft. Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, who became an overnight Internet and media sensation earlier this year after a speech before City Council, during which he spoke in support of the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign and shared that he considered suicide after being bullied in high school. The speech led to Burns’ invitation to the White House for an anti-bullying summit this past spring.”

According to the Breaking Through website, the film will focus on “confronting the demons of an openly-LGBT campaign, told by the people who ran and won”:

In this feature-length documentary, openly LGBT elected officials tell their stories of self-doubt and triumph, revealing a deeply personal, rarely-seen side of politicians and gay people.

While each of them had unique barriers to overcome they also had similar feelings of fear, shame and doubt when coming out and later deciding to run for office.

As they share how they broke through barriers, we experience the conflict between the barrage of anti-gay messages and the desire to live open and fulfilled lives. They broke through internally – by daring to believe something different than what they were told about LGBT people – and then externally as they pursued and achieved the future they envision. As they show it is possible to be authentic and achieve their dreams – even in the rough and tough world of politics – they give hope to those who are struggling.

Watch a trailer for the documentary featuring Burns and Parker below.

—  John Wright