As always, the AYKM Team and I want to thank you for your support and patience with us as we created Jeffrey’s story. Over the years it has been important for us to create an authentic and honest story of Jeffrey’s life. Through our research and conversations with those who knew and worked with Jeffrey it soon became apparent that there was a much deeper story to tell. Although Jeffrey was very clear from the start that he wanted no editorial control but for us to tell his story that revealed his highs and lows. This took time, (not uncommon with a documentary), but our driving force has always been: “What would Jeffrey think?” Did we accomplish our mission?
With Jeffrey’s passing in 2016 our best indicator of this was from those who viewed initial cuts of the film. These included those leaders in the LGBTQ+ community who worked with Jeffrey, as well major civic and governmental figures plus his friends, family, and the many of the folks who only knew of Jeffrey from his positive impact in the battle for LGBTQ+ civil rights.
We were pleased from the reaction of multiple audiences in Jeffrey’s home state of Michigan, that his story has garnered a powerful, impactful, and inspirational reaction.
Our goal in 2024 is to get “America You Kill Me” to a national audience. We will explore working with major LGBTQ+ organizations to make that happen. Ironically with the current, toxic attacks and pushbacks on such rights there has never been a better time to tell Jeffrey’s story than right now. There is no doubt 2024 will be a pivotal year in the battle for ensuring the hard-fought rights for LGBTQ+ citizens are protected for all.
As we go forward, we ask you to stay tuned to our Facebook pages as well as our website for the latest updates. If you work with a LGBTQ+ organization and are interested in having a screening of Jeffrey’s documentary, please contact me directly at 313-930-9422 or via email at email@example.com.
Stay Strong. Stay Safe,
Producer "America You Kill Me"
July 18, 2016, marked the day we lost our brother, friend, a leader, activist, and steadfast warrior for social justice and LGBTQ equality. In his life, he touched countless souls with his fierce intellect, and abundant sense of humor,
Jeffrey's story, the focus of the upcoming documentary “America You Kill Me” , in 2022, was a man of many facets.
Although his awareness as a gay person began when he was very young it was a pivotal moment that changed him into a fierce warrior for LGBTQ civil rights and protections in America.
In 1984 his partner, Michael, was shot to death outside a Detroit gay bar, prompting Montgomery to engage in LGBTQ advocacy. He started work on LGBTQ anti-violence issues upon learning that the police were not spending many resources on solving the murder, "just another gay killing".
In 1991 Montgomery became the founding executive director of the Triangle Foundation and served until September 2007. Initially engaging in victim advocacy around LGBTQ violence and to improve the handling of LGBTQ-related cases, the foundation's work expanded to LGBTQ civil rights and advocacy, with projects for anti-violence, media activism, and legislative education on LGBTQ civil rights.
Within the movement, he was a staunch advocate for inclusiveness knowing that to create progress for LGBTQ civil rights the fight would need to include all sexually discriminated groups such as transgender people as well as black and brown members of the LGBTQ community.
Montgomery was widely quoted in media outlets on LGBTQ issues and high-profile LGBTQ-related crimes, such as the murder of Scott Amedure in 1995, and the murder of Matthew Shepard. Montgomery to attend the trials of Shepard's killers. In 2001, Montgomery was a featured participant in an A&E Network documentary about the Matthew Shepard case.
According to Cathy Renna, a friend of Jeffrey’s and communication director of the National LGBTQ Task Force in an ADVOCATE July 25th, 2016 article about Jeffrey’s passing:
“Without His (Jeffrey’s) involvement helping to unravel the “gay panic defense” I do not think we would have seen the important progress we did in the years that followed if not for Jeffrey’s hard work and dedication to the truth”.
“Jeffrey knew that our movement was one based on freedom and love, not fear and hate. He was a role model in his confidence and pride in who he was, in every way. He was fearless and honest about his own struggles with loss and addiction and quietly helped so many others deal with their struggles”.
Jeffrey Montgomery’s activities and honors over the years always were intertwined in his unceasing effort for LGBTQ civil rights right up to his untimely passing from a heart attack on July 18th, 2016. He was 63. Here, in part, are a few key moments.
Honors for Montgomery include:
Included the following venues:
Film Screening and Gallery Exhibit at affirmations Ferndale, Mi.
Toyota Lecture Series @ College For Creative Studies: Wendell W. Anderson Auditorium
Soo Film Festival in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Cinema Detroit- Metro Detroit's only truly independent cinema
Presented by WEGP and Macomb County Pride
Presented by MIGHTY REAL QUEER DETROIT
Presented by WEGP & PFLAG Grosse Pointe
Presented by Great Lakes Bay Pride
This original 5-minute short film screened at the 2014 Cinetopia Film Festival.
Listen to the WDET interview with Producer John Montgomery and Director Daniel Land about Jeffrey's documentary.
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