The Transformative Power of Representation

The documentary Ahead of the Curve shows that unapologetic representation and visibility in media matters. In 1990 Curve Magazine was created. Its founder, Franco Stevens, never saw any representation of queer women growing up—she didn’t even know it was possible for women to be gay. She changed all that.

This month see how the world’s bestselling lesbian magazine became a transformational space and the foundation of many intersectional movements today.

A Conversation with Filmmakers and Activists


Franco Stevens

Founder, Curve Magazine; Co-Founder The Curve Foundation; lead cast, AHEAD OF THE CURVE and the 2022 recipient of the GLAAD Barbara Giddings Media Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media in 2022

Dr. Jen Rainin

Director & Co-Producer, AHEAD OF THE CURVE; launched the Kenneth Rainin Foundation in 2008 and has served as CEO to enhance quality of life by championing the arts, promoting early childhood literacy, and supporting research to cure chronic disease.

Rivkah Beth Medow

Producer & Co-Director, AHEAD OF THE CURVE; Emmy-award winning filmmaker and photographer; strong social/environmental justice river winds its way through each of her projects.

Andrea Pino-Silva

Gender and Inequality Scholar, Policy and Communications Consultant; featured cast and Impact Producer, AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Highlights from the Conversation

We are delighted to bring together filmmakers Dr. Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow
with Curve Magazine founder Frances “Franco” Stevens in conversation with Andrea Pino-Silva.

  • The Journey of This Documentary

    Jen Rainin shares the genesis story of making Ahead of the Curve and Franco Stevens offers her reflections on how her disability impacted Curve magazine, the completion of this documentary, and establishing The Curve Foundation.

  • Representation, Language, and Seeing Queer Women in Film

    Andrea Pino-Silva speaks with co-directors Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow about how critical and affirming it is to include content on queer women in higher education settings.

  • Who Tells Whose Stories

    Two of the cast, Andrea Pino-Silva, and Franco Stevens, reflect on how important it is to have people from the community be part of the process to ensure authentic storytelling and how much these stories impact, and in the case of Curve magazine, save people’s lives.

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Visibility Shapes Public Opinion and Impacts Law


98 min | Documentary | 2018

Use The story of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who developed a breathtaking legal legacy focusing on the fight for female visibility in law.

  • Bader Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 when she was 60 years old.
  • During her years on the bench, she has been a champion of gay rights, women’s rights, and many other marginalized groups.
  • Bader Ginsburg's vote in Obergefell v. Hodges helped overturn the marriage bans; legalizing same-sex marriage in every U.S. state.
Discipline Connections: Activism, American History, Biography, Gender, History, Jewish Studies, Law and Justice, Personal Story, Politics, Society, Women


96 min | Documentary | 2017

The story of Dolores Huerta who fought tirelessly alongside Cesar Chavez for racial and labor justice.

  • The icon, who is a mother of eleven, became one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century
  • Dolores was recognized for her significant role in Cuban society and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2012
  • At 92, she continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children
Discipline Connections: Activism, American History, Biography, Human Rights, Immigration and Migration, Labor, Latin American Studies, Women

The Fight

98 min | Documentary | 2020

The story of five lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Discipline Connections: Activism, American History, Conflicts, Current Affairs, Law and Justice, Personal Story, Politics, Social Justice, Society

The Case Against 8

112 min | Documentary | 2013

The story of the first federal marriage equality lawsuit that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • The historic federal lawsuit was filed in an effort to overturn Prop 8, California’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage
  • Ted Olson, lawyer on the defense team, proudly calls the Prop 8 suit “the most important case I have ever worked on.”
  • Seven years after the Supreme Court had its say on the issue, same-sex marriage remains a politically contentious issue, and LGBTQ advocates continue to battle in courtrooms and statehouses to ensure gay couples can exercise their right to marry.
Discipline Connections: American History, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Human Rights, LGBTQ Studies, Law, Politics, Sociology

LGBTQ Inclusion In Advertising & Media Statistics

Research shows that the media has played a significant and transnational role in shaping political attitudes, public policy, and cultural acceptance.

Source: Executive Summary, LGBTQ Inclusion in Media & Advertising, 2019.

The Role of Cultural Shifts and the Law

Few shifts in public opinion from negative to positive have been as rapid and widespread as attitudes about women and the LGBTQ community and the legal victories to ensure protection of rights.

  • Current director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project Ria Tabacco Mar shares that the early women’s right work for equality laid the groundwork for many of the legal fights later won on behalf of the LGBTQ community.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision in June 2015 in the ACLU’s case Obergefell v. Hodges ensured that same-sex couples in all 50 states have the right to get married and have their marriages recognized in whichever state they live.
  • On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in the ACLU and NYCLU's Windsor v. United States case ruled that section three of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) is unconstitutional and that the federal government cannot discriminate against married lesbian and gay couples for the purposes of determining federal benefits and protections.
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