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NYU Grad Chronicles His Coming-Out Process in Documentary

By Andrea Swalec | August 29, 2013 8:44am
'Coming Out' Documentary
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — Alden Peters' deeply private coming-out process is about to become very public.

Peters, a 23-year-old Sunset Park resident who graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts last year, is producing a documentary about his experience of telling his family and friends he's gay.

Called "Coming Out," the 90-minute film shows Alden grappling with everything from attending his first gay pride parade to changing his Facebook profile to say "Interested in Men."

"I want people to have something they can watch, and see and get an idea of what coming out is all about," said Peters, who is currently editing the project he started working on at NYU.

This summer, the freelance video editor received more than $21,000 from a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for the film, surpassing his goal of $20,000. He said he intends for the film to be a "very positive portrayal of coming out."

The film will show Peters coming out on camera to his mother and stepfather, in November 2011.

"[My mother] cried and said very supportive words like, 'Why didn't you tell me sooner?'" Peters recalled. He later came out to his father in December 2011.

Filming his friends and family made it easier to tell them he was gay, Peters said.

"It was like, I have to do it now," he said. "The cameras are on and everything is in place."

The documentary, which Peters filmed from June 2011 to February 2013, also captured other anxious moments, like figuring out what to reveal about his sexuality on Facebook. The film's trailer shows him agonizing about what to post to his followers.

"I'm out of the closet. Should I say that? Just 'I'm out of the closet'?" he asks in the film. "I don't know why I'm getting nervous. I didn't think I was gonna be so nervous."

Another clip shows Peters attending his first LGBT pride parade, in his native Seattle. He found himself alienated among elderly men with fake breasts and middle-aged men in kilts cracking whips.

"This is the community of people I'm about to join?" he said, sounding uncertain as footage rolls of people wearing rainbow feather boas and their underwear.

Peters said he was inspired to make "Coming Out" after years of watching other people's coming-out accounts on YouTube.

"I always wanted to know more," he said.

While he hopes to submit the film to festivals including Sundance and Tribeca, his ultimate goal is to help LGBT youth who are considering talking with others about their sexual preference or gender identity.

"Having this be accessible online is really the best case, so it's available for the people who need to watch it," he said.

"Coming Out" will also feature other people's videotaped coming-out stories, which can be submitted online.

Eventually, Peters hopes his film will strike young people as a relic from a different time.

"Younger folks foresee a day when coming out is not a big deal," he said. "You'll just be like, 'Oh, I'm seeing a guy.'"