Image Credit: ‘Rustin,’ Netflix

On this exact date 60 years ago, an estimated 250,000 people gathered for the March On Washington, a peaceful protest advocating for the civil rights of African Americans, a day that forever changed the course of our country’s history.

Though the march is remembered as an important chapter in work of the late, great Martin Luther King, Jr.—culminating in his triumphant, unforgettable “I Have A Dream” speech—many may not realize that a large part of its success was due to an openly gay man: Activist and social organizer Bayard Rustin.

Alongside A. Philip Randolph, Rustin organized the March On Washington, and dedicated his life to advocacy, humanitarian outreach, and fighting for the civil rights of all people, especially for Black and LGBTQ+ Americans. He was a hero.

In other words, we’re long overdue for a film that shines a light on his life’s work, a biopic fit for the trailblazer that he was and the inspiration he still is today… Thankfully, it’s right around the corner.

From out, Tony Award-winning playwright and director George C. Wolfe comes Rustin, the story of the history-making activist, co-written by Julian Reece (When They See Us) and Dustin Lance Black (Milk).

Taking on the eponymous role is fantastic gay actor (and recent Queerty Pride50 honoree!) Colman Domingo, finally getting the star turn he’s so long deserved. Naturally, Domingo’s the film’s center of gravity and its spark—and we don’t want to jinkx it, but the part’s already garnering him some early Oscar buzz. Fingers crossed!

As evidenced by the first trailer, Rustin’s queerness is not just be a footnote in this story, but an essential component of his personhood that helped define his push for equality, especially as he had to defy those who wanted to count him out. “On the day that I was born Black, I was also born a homosexual,” the activist declares.

Rustin reunites Domingo with his Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom director, George C. Wolfe, as well as his co-star Glynn Turman, here playing the activist’s March On Washington cohort A. Philip Randolph.

Elsewhere, you’ve got comedian Chris Rock in a rare dramatic turn as the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins, Sense8‘s Amel Ameen as MLK, Jr., the Emmy-nominated CCH Pounder as activist Anna Arnold Hedgeman, The Batman‘s Jeffrey Wright as former New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Broadway legend Audra McDonald as civil rights leader Ella Baker.

Image Credit: ‘Rustin,’ Netflix

And if that’s not enough, Rustin is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, via their company Higher Ground Productions. Talk about a presidential seal of approval. (Obama, by the way, honored Rustin with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in ’13.)

The film makes its world premiere in just a few short weeks at the Toronto International Film Festival, and then hits select theaters on November 3 before streaming worldwide November 17, exclusively on Netflix.

Check out the first trailer for Rustin below:

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