The Craig Fahle Show

Bridegroom Documentary: A True And Tragic Love Story

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Craig speaks with Shane Bitney Crone, the subject of the documentary Bridegroom, about his personal journey from heartbreak to healing.

Shane is one of the subjects in the documentary and had a big role in the creation of the documentary. Bridegroom has been getting rave reviews on the film festival circuit, and later today it’s debuting at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak.

The documentary, directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, chronicles the relationship between Shane and his boyfriend Tom and an untimely accident that changed everything and led to a larger conversation about the issue of marriage equality.

Tom’s accident led to the emotional unraveling of Shane and Tom’s family, who refused to allow Shane to attend his partner’s funeral. “The year after he died was the hardest year of my life, I was just trying to find a reason to live,” Shane tells Craig.

While losing a significant other so unexpectedly would have been difficult enough, Shane explains the real issue was dealing with the grief without having any real sense of closure. Although Shane had thought Tom’s parents had started to accept their son’s same-sex relationship with Shane, “the minute he passed away everything changed; his mom wanted nothing to do with me and she took the body and told me nothing about the funeral arrangement,” he says.

Both young men were in their twenties and not thinking about marriage, much less the legal protections that go along with it, Shane says. “It’s terrible that it takes a tragedy to open people’s eyes to this situation, that same-sex couples cannot be a part of the grieving process,” but Shane hopes his experience will bring attention to the issue that too many people often put to the wayside.

On the first anniversary of Tom’s death, Shane made the Youtube video that changed everything. The video went viral and Shane says that the outpouring of care and support was incredible. At that point Linda Bloodworth-Thomason reached out to Shane about creating the documentary, Bridegroom. Linda's mother had contracted AIDS when she was younger, so Shane explains that Linda was also familiar with the complex and hurtful experience of grieving in the midst of societal stigmas.

“We didn’t want to demonize his family, we simply told the story,” he tells Craig. Instead, the mission is “to open as many hearts and minds as possible, because it’s not about being gay or straight, it’s about being human.”

--Annamarie Sysling