The Coming Back Out Movie: Seniors celebrate their sexuality with style

Tristan Meecham had a vision to celebrate older members of the LGBTI+ community.
Tristan Meecham had a vision to celebrate older members of the LGBTI+ community.

The Coming Back Out Ball Movie (MA15+)

Director: Sue Thomson

Four stars

In cinemas now

It was one year since same-sex legislation passed the Australian Parliament on December 7.

Artist Tristan Meecham wanted to stage an extravagant ball at Melbourne Town Hall to celebrate the sexual and gender identity of older LGBTI+ people.

The Coming Back Out Ball Movie documents the development and joyous conclusion of the event in parallel with the Marriage Equality Postal Vote.

If you identify as straight and didn’t think too deeply about being invited to determine the marriage prospects of this community, this documentary might give you pause.

Indeed, the content is provocative even for those among us who might identify as open-minded.

What to make of Ardy Tibby, for example, a lesbian with a high voice, enormous breasts and full facial beard?

What about Judith the lesbian shearer, now closeted in aged care?

Then there are the Morgans, a husband and wife married with children, who both eventually realised they were gay.

What shines through is how luminous and strong these voices are once they get to see the light of day.

There is real joy in their regular dance sessions leading up to the ball; people with this range of life experience can’t be anything but themselves and it’s glorious to watch.

Director Sue Thomson injects just the right amount of historical context to the strictures faced but the personalities flow and shine.

At the end of the night there’s 87-year-old train enthusiast David Morrison heading home. Married with children, he came out after the death of his beloved wife. He’s had a big night. He’s a big personality and a truly beautiful man. Here’s hoping he’s still dancing.