Baby D's Bagels
$20 Worth of Food and Drink for Only $10
May 27, 2008

Film Preview: Award-winning doc on same-sex couples has local ties

Eugene Wentworth (left) and Eric Marcoux (right): Wentworth and Marcoux recently posed with the Rev. Michael Mernagh, pastor of Anamchara Catholic Community.To
kick off Pride Month this weekend, Anamchara Catholic Community and
the Fairness Campaign have joined forces to present a screening of
“The Man You Had in Mind,” a documentary about five gay male
couples at different stages in their relationships. “The Man You
Had in Mind” won best documentary at the 2007 Portland Lesbian &
Gay Film Festival and has been licensed for use in foreign countries
such as Israel, Germany and Russia.
The
film also has ties to Louisville. The longest relationship documented
in the film is Eugene Wentworth and Eric Marcoux, who have been
together for 55 years. Marcoux studied at the Gethsemani monastery in
Bardstown, Ky., before he met Wentworth through a mutual friend in
Chicago. While on retreat at the monastery a few years ago, Marcoux
met the Rev. Michael Mernagh, who now heads the Anamchara Catholic
Community, which operates out of the Crescent Hill Presbyterian
Church.
An
independent ecumenical community, the Anamchara Catholic Community
was founded by Mernagh in 2007. It is not under the jurisdiction of
the Archdiocese of Louisville or the Roman Catholic Church. Mernagh
explained that the community is “making itself available to people
who have been hurt and those who are in need of healing.” He
pointed out that his own experiences as a gay man have helped him
realize just how many gays and lesbians are involved with the church
but are afraid to come out, fearing reprehension from their
congregation.
Anamchara
is far from a “gay church,” though, as Mernagh pointed out. He
said that his congregation is diverse. “There are married people.
There are single people. There aren’t actually that many gay
people, frankly. There might be only one or two,” Mernagh said.
When asked why he wanted to bring “The Man You Had in Mind” to
Louisville this week, he said, “It’s a spiritual education piece
that says, look, gays and lesbians are capable of having loving,
lasting relationships. Human beings are always capable of loving one
another, no matter what the combination.”
Mernagh
later approached the Fairness Campaign for help promoting the
project. Darnell Johnson, organizational manager for Fairness, jumped
at the opportunity. “Any chance we have to show positive affection
among our community and sustainable relationships, relationships that
are built on trust, that’s something the Fairness Campaign, as an
organization, wants to put their name behind,” Johnson said.
Wentworth,
78, and Marcoux, 80, are excited to return to Louisville Saturday for
a screening of “The Man You Had in Mind.” “Our being out gives
other gay people with relatives and friends an opportunity to come
out,” Marcoux said. When originally approached about the
documentary four years ago, the couple wasn’t shy about their
relationship. In fact, they were very forthcoming and saw the
documentary as a chance to inspire others. “We’re both convinced
that the single most important tool of social change for us as gay
people, lesbians, etc., is to make ourselves known to other people.”

Christmas in the Early 50s: Eugene (left) and Eric (right) celebrating Christmas together in the early ’50s, shortly after they met.The
couple felt like the movie captured their relationship accurately,
but Wentworth admitted “it’s really only a two-dimensional view.
There is another dimension to the story that no one can capture
unless they’ve lived it.”

The
relationship that Wentworth and Marcoux have shared over the last 55
years has had ups and downs like any other long-term relationship,
but the two had no doubt they were meant for each other when they met
in 1953. Wentworth, a skilled ballet dancer at the time, was about to
audition for a national company, which would mean constant travel for
him. He later decided that he wanted to have a “permanent
relationship,” so he gave up ballet.

Marcoux
left the monastery soon after they met, and the couple moved to
Portland, Ore., where they’ve resided ever since. Marcoux taught at
an art school for many years, before studying psychotherapy and
becoming a lama in the Buddhist community. The two now spend much of
their time at an athletic club for seniors in Portland, where some
scenes of the documentary were filmed.

Wentworth
and Marcoux are hoping for a large turnout at Saturday’s screening.
The couple will stick around for a panel discussion after the film.
Johnson of the Fairness Campaign is confident the conversation will
generate some positive discourse in the community about gay
relationships and gay rights.

Contact
the writer at leo@leoweekly.com

Screening
of ‘The Man You Had in Mind’
Saturday,
May 31
Crescent
Hill Presbyterian Church
142
Crescent Ave.
893-4908
www.anamcharacatholiccommunity.org
Free;
7 p.m.