Wednesday , November 29 2023
I don't think anyone watching this documentary can deny Barbara and Tibby's love for each other. So why must they be discriminated against?

Movie Review: Barbara & Tibby: A Love Story in the Face of Hate

If this documentary was about a heterosexual couple I might be complaining it was predictable, sugary and unremarkable, a potential film to be shown on the Lifetime channel.

But it’s not: The couple are two lesbians in their 50s – and that itself is what makes this film remarkable.

The movie’s title captures it perfectly – it is indeed a story of love in the face of hate.

The hate because of their sexual orientation goes unspoken at first as the two women tell of how they grew up, how they met and of their relationship together.

I don’t think anyone watching this documentary can deny Barbara and Tibby’s love for each other. So why must they be discriminated against? When you realize how frank the couple are about their lives, their problems, the problems and prejudice they face – your mind reels.

You don’t know whether to applaud their honesty and openness in this close-minded world or to be afraid on their behalf of the repercussions and danger of what they have done.

And just what is it that they have done? They did what two adults are supposed to do – they found a partner and love that partner, grew old together and now worry about what will happen when one day that partner dies.

But because they are lesbians, they are discriminated against.

And while there are a variety of anti-gay laws that have been passed, the one passed in their home state of Virginia is worse than most. Under a law passed in that state, they would be denied rights because of their sexual orientation.

So they moved to Maryland.

As a Maryland resident I react to this movie and news with three thoughts:
1) Any case about the stupidity of anti-gay, anti-same sex marriage legislation should have this as exhibit A.
2) Virginia’s loss is Maryland’s gain
and 3) If you are undecided about whether same sex couples should have the rights of heterosexuals, if you have trouble grappling with that question as an abstract notion, then go see this movie.

You will be glad you did.

For information about the movie, or to order it (since it is not available on Amazon), this website can help.

Oh, and Barbara and Tibby, welcome to Maryland and thanks for sharing your story. Theirs is not a story just of gay rights, but of human rights.

This film puts a face on the issue of civil rights and that’s an important development that should be applauded.
ed: JH

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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