20 years after Maman et Eve: looking back on coming out in the Nickel City

Twenty years ago, four Sudbury women were featured in a documentary by filmmaker Paul Carriere. The story centred around the women’s choice to come out to their families as lesbians.

Queer North Film Festival screening retrospective of 1996 film about four Francophone lesbians

In the 20 years since the filming of 'Maman et Eve,' Paulette Gagnon says Sudbury has grown up. (Josée Perreault/CBC- Radio Canada )

Twenty years ago, four Sudbury women were featured in a documentary by filmmaker Paul Carriere. The story centred around the women's choice to come out to their families as lesbians.

The film is being revisited by Sudbury's Queer North festival this week.

One of the film's subjects, Paulette Gagnon, told CBC's Morning North that much has changed in Sudbury's LGBT community since the film, but for many, the story remains the same.

"You have to go back 20 years and think about how things were for the LGBT community," Gagnon said. "There was still a stigma around anything that wasn't heterosexual."

"People were scared," she said. "My own family, we had to deal with AIDS, it was...hard to find support for our family. There were a lot of misconceptions and ignorance."

Gagnon said the era was the city's "coming of age," and creating the movie may have helped others who were considering coming out.

Not an easy movie to make

"It wasn't necessarily an easy movie to make," Gagnon said. "I was watching it again last week after many years. The other women were so generous, sharing their family stories, their love stories."

"One thing that surprised me was that it aged well," she said. "It still makes sense today, even though it's twenty years old."

Even though two decades have passed since the film was made, Gagnon hopes the film still serves as inspiration.

"I hope it touches people," she said. "I hope it makes a difference in some people's' lives. It's still hard to be gay these days. We see TV programs, they all have gay characters, but when it's in your home kitchen, your family, I think it's still difficult."

Maman et Eve screens Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the McEwen School of Architecture.

View the movie here