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Review: "50 Years of Fabulous" is a jewel in the crown of LGBT history

"50 Years of Fabulous" is presented by FilmOut at the Hillcrest Cinemas - Landmark Theatres on July 10 at 7 pm. 
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"50 Years of Fabulous"

This is a special year for LGBT Pride. It's been 50 years of protest which led to steady progress. But that didn't happen overnight. The Millenials, the Gen Y-ers, and all the alphanumeric generations to come still have a hard road ahead, but if they don't examine the painful history of their freedom, they, as the saying goes, might be doomed to repeat it. 

I happen to be a Gen X-er who came of age in the 80s but I did not experience the amount of discrimination and bullying in school that so many have told me they lived through. Of course, I'm a California native and in this state, LGBT people have been a little more accepted among the masses, at least for my generation. 

The documentary "50 Years of Fabulous," which will screen on July 10 at the Landmark Hillcrest Cinema, examines the plight of gay liberation and the gay rights movement through the history of the Imperial Council system. This charitable organization is the oldest of its kind in the world. 

The film chronicles its founder Jose Sarria from his time in the military through his death and all the years of discrimination and fear that the LGBT community endured in California from the late '60s, to the '80s and finally the current administration's attempts at undoing all the progress Sarria and other activists have made. Every generation has its cliffhangers. 

The Imperial Court system has always been an enigma to me. I wasn't sure what they did, or if any of it was to be taken seriously. After watching "50 Years of Fabulous," I realized I am just as guilty of standing on the backs of my predecessors without realizing just how tall they make me. 

Historically, the Imperial Council consists of Empresses--drag queens--starting with the late Jose Sarria (Empress I). Every year the Court passes on the crown to another male member in a vote. This has been going on for the last 50 years, Emperors were incorporated into the court in 1973.

The Imperial Council in all its gem-stone grandeur is at its roots a money-making charity machine. If The Court embraces a cause, they fundraise. And it doesn't necessarily have to be LGBT related. 

"50 Years of Fabulous" is one of those films that plays like an  LGBT history lesson. Its importance is not only in the faces, but the words. It's a film every LGBT generation should see, rewind, and watch again. 

"50 Years of Fabulous" is directed by Jethro Patalinghug.

It is presented by FilmOut at the Hillcrest Cinemas - Landmark Theatres on July 10 at 7 pm. 

Hillcrest Cinemas - Landmark Theatres is located at 3965 5th Ave. San Diego, 92103