As part of the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) Colloquium, filmmaker and producer Robbie Fisher (C’86) screened her 2014 short film “A Mississippi Love Story.” The Women’s and Gender Studies Colloquium was created to allow Sewanee students, faculty, and community members to see applications of the WGS minor to the real world and professional life, and also as it relates to the intersectionalities of gender, social class, sexuality, and race. After graduating from Sewanee in 1986, Fisher went to law school and became a licensed attorney. She served as the state director of the Nature Conservancy in Mississippi for ten years, after which she made a drastic career change to pursue her lifelong dream of making and producing films. Although unsure about how to pursue filmmaking for a large part of her life, Fisher discovered films as a mode of telling other people’s stories, as well as a way of telling her own.
Fisher’s work is heavily focused on unique stories from her home state of Mississippi, and as the title suggests, “A Mississippi Love Story” is no different. The film follows couple Justin and Eddie Outlaw and their lives in Jackson, Mississippi. Justin and Eddie are undeniably Southern in every way, from their exaggerated drawls to their bright sense of fashion. However their romantic relationship and their decision to be open about it publicly deeply affects their relationship with the community they love. Their struggle to be out in the Deep South reflects the plight of many LGBT individuals, including Fisher herself. Yet Justin and Eddie remain prominent members of their community as small business owners operating their own hair salon. Although Justin and Eddie are able to have their relationship recognized by their friends, families and clients, getting the same recognition from the U.S. government and the state of Mississippi proves to be a much more difficult task. The film follows the couple as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA). After DOMA was ruled unconstitutional, the couple flew to Justin’s father’s house in California to get married. Although they were able to celebrate their marriage in the company of their friends and family, the state of Mississippi still fails to recognize their marriage.
Although the future of LGBT rights is uncertain in many southern states like Mississippi, Fisher hopes that partnerships between local and national advocacy groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign, will have an influence on future legislation. Additionally, Fisher hopes that films like her own will have an impact on public opinions regarding LGBT rights; she takes a minor victory in the fact that she has yet to receive any negative feedback regarding the film. The film is available on to rent for $1.00 and available to purchase for $2.50 on Vimeo