Queer Youth

Queer Mormon teens get the spotlight in a new Wilson Cruz-produced docuseries

An upcoming six-part series is documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ mormon teenagers. Executive produced by Star Trek: Discovery and My So-Called Life star Wilson Cruz, the series aims to inspire empathy, so that audience members walk away “more informed, more open, and more caring.”

Not Part of the Plan documents the lives of four queer Utah teenagers over the course of two years and six episodes. Each teen is an active member of the Church of Latter-day Saints while receiving queer services like gender-affirming support and mental health care from local nonprofit Encircle. According to Deadline, producers focused the series around getting to know the teens on a personal level in addition to the particular challenges they face in a largely queerphobic environment.

“This docuseries invites the audience into these kids’ experience in the LDS community, and let the audience learn a little bit about what they go through on a daily basis as a member of the Mormon community,” series director Stephen Frandsen. “The series invites people to see the truth about the lives of queer youth in religious communities.”

Executive producer Amy Redford highlighted Cruz’s passionate involvement with the project. “Wilson Cruz has been deeply and authentically advocating for LGBTQ + youth in front and behind the scenes for decades,” Redford said. “His life work led us to making him a core part of our team. I am honored to call him a collaborator. His compassion, insights, humor and creativity are an invaluable addition to the project.”

Cruz rose to prominence playing out gay teen Rickie Vasquez in the 1994 series My So-Called Life, in a time when queer stories were few-and-far-between and subject to hate campaigns. Out from the very start of his career, Cruz has consistently used his platform to advocate for lesser-told queer narratives.

Cruz highlighted the need for this series as states like Utah lead an assault on LGBTQ+ rights. In 2022, the state legislature overrode Republican governor Spencer Cox’s veto of an anti-trans sports bill. In 2023, both Cox and the state legislature passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors and allowing former patients under the age of 25 to retroactively revoke consent and sue doctors.

“The personal stories of these young queer people, telling us who they are, will give us an opportunity to hopefully change minds and hearts while educating others so they are more informed, more open, and more caring,” said Cruz. “These types of shows, from my experience, save lives. The urgency is now.”

Although Not Part of the Plan has finished filming, it is currently being pitched to networks and is planned as the first of multiple seasons.

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