Gay Hialeah Cop Captures Struggle For Equality Through Short Film

Jun 27, 2013

Wil Jackson is a sergeant with the Hialeah Police Department and executive producer of The Denied.
Credit Wil Jackson

Floridians in same-sex marriages  and elsewhere hope to be indebted to Edith Windsor. She is the 84-year-old widow whose U.S. Supreme Court victory garnered equal federal rights for gay marriages this week.

Windsor nursed her ailing wife, Thea Spyer, until Spyer died of multiple sclerosis. Until recently gays and lesbians  Florida often have not had the opportunity to provide loved ones that kind of care if family or hospital staff objected.

In the short film, "The Denied," filmmaker Wil Jackson, a gay police officer from Hialeah, is not allowed to visit his dying husband in a Florida hospital room because he was told by an angry nurse that, “this is not DC,” a reference to the 2009 same-sex marriage law that passed in DC. Similar laws are on the books in  at least 12 other states, but not in Florida.

Jackson is a local actor and a 19-year veteran of the Hialeah Police Department. He married his partner in Washington, D.C. two years ago because Florida bans same sex marriage.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) there are questions about how the ruling will change the legal landscape in Florida.

“I am a citizen like everyone else, I pay my taxes, I’m a good person, I donate to charity," Jackson said. "I don't see why we should be treated differently than anybody else.”

For nearly two decades, the 42-year-old Jackson has seen his share of domestic violence, burglaries, fraud and deceptions as a police detective. But with all his experience protecting people, he says he still could not prevent the inequities he saw happening to victims with whom he felt a strong bond – other gay people.

“What I’ve seen at work, in the news and my life experiences made me want to make a film that educates people about gay marriage in a dramatic way,” said Jackson. 

The film depicts the struggle of a policeman whose life unravels after his husband, a fellow police officer, is killed in the line of duty. In the film, Jackson plays the lead character Andrew.

Tonight, a private screening in Wilton Manors has become a celebration.