OUTWORDS founder and executive director Mason Funk was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He was active in music, sports, and his church youth group. In the 1970s, he loved going to Dodger games strutting tight white pants and platform shoes. He knew he was gay, but he had no idea how to express this identity in the world — or, that there were gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, both regular folks and activists, who were already clearing a path for Mason to one day live openly and happily as a gay man himself. To those brave, determined individuals, Mason is profoundly grateful.
Mason went to college at Stanford, studied for a year at Oxford University in England, and gradually began embracing his sexuality. After college, he spent seven years living in Lisbon, Portugal, where he began his career in TV and film. Since 1993, Mason has been living back in Los Angeles, producing hundreds of hours of documentary content for networks from the Discovery Channel to Fox Sports to the National Geographic Channel. He also produced several short films about the landmark Supreme Court lawsuit to overturn California’s Prop. 8. In 2006, he met psychotherapist Jay Edwards; they were married in 2013.
The son of a journalist and a historian, Mason woke up one night in 2014 feeling compelled to document the remarkable changes that he has witnessed in his lifetime for LGBTQ people. This was the birth of OUTWORDS. While many LGBTQ pioneers have already passed away, there remains a thrilling opportunity to capture professionally quality, in-depth, on-camera interviews with those still here. This is the mission of OUTWORDS.