DISTURBER OF THE PEACE, a new (in progress) feature-length documentary on the remarkable life of Malcolm Boyd, directed by Andrew Thomas, will screen at this year’s Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The documentary film traces Malcolm Boyd’s life from Hollywood producer to Priest – targeted for violence as a Civil Rights activist – arrested for protesting the Vietnam War inside the halls of the Pentagon, and now a Gay Elder who stills rattles the sensibilities of church and state.
At ninety, the Reverend Canon Malcolm Boyd has seen a lot of history being made. Truth be told though, he’s made quite a bit of it himself! Born in 1923, Malcolm Boyd lived in Manhattan as a child, but through a series of events, he ended up in California as a young adult. In the 1940’s, he worked in Hollywood’s bustling motion picture and television industry, eventually partnering with the legendary Mary Pickford in the production company, PRB, Inc.
In 1951, Boyd departed Hollywood and entered an Episcopal seminary, and in 1954, he was ordained. His early work in the American Civil Rights Movement, as a Freedom-Rider, and as a protester of the Vietnam War, earned him national attention. In 1965, Boyd published his first book, “Are You Running with Me, Jesus?” The book was a huge success, capturing world attention, selling more than one million copies, being translated into most languages including Chinese, and ultimately propelling Boyd into the national spotlight. In 1971, when LOOK magazine ran a cover story, entitled “Ten Prominent Americans Give You Their Personal Key to Peace of Mind,” Malcolm Boyd was included, and shared the cover with the likes of Duke Ellington, Walter Cronkite, Joan Baez, Bill Moyers, and Margaret Mead.
In 1977, long before it was considered “acceptable,” Malcolm Boyd came out publicly, both as a gay man, and as a gay priest. He also immersed himself in the emerging LGBT Civil Rights movement, beginning thirty-five years as a defender of LGBT rights. His dedication to LGBT Civil Rights, and all the causes he has championed over the years, promptedSouth African Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu to write of Boyd: “He was ahead of his time, being a white civil rights prophet on behalf of people of color, protesting against tyranny and war, asserting God’s inclusivity for all people, including gays, and offering prayers in actions as well as words.”
Malcolm Boyd, and his partner, writer Mark Thompson, met more than thirty years ago, and, throughout that time, have worked diligently as LGBT activists, and as writers. Boyd has authored more than thirty books, edited six others, and currently writes for the Huffington Post. Thompson is the author of eight books on gay history and culture, including the internationally acclaimed trilogy Gay Spirit, Gay Soul and Gay Body. He started his writing career at The Advocate in 1975, where he worked the next two decades as a reporter, photographer and, eventually, as Senior Editor.
Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson got married in Los Angeles earlier this year, shortly after Boyd’s 90th birthday.