Filmmaker Daniel Karslake makes a distinct effort to “reach across the church aisle” with regard to LGBTQ rights in a powerful new documentary.
“For They Know Not What They Do,” which had a virtual theatrical opening last week, follows four families with LGBTQ children across the U.S. In each case, the family members are either striving or struggling to reconcile their religious faith while embracing their children as their authentic selves.
HuffPost got a sneak peek at the film via the above clip. In it, Delaware state Senate candidate Sarah McBride recalls her history-making speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, moments before Hillary Clinton accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
“This was a moment that everyone in that arena was sharing,” recalled McBride, who became the first openly transgender person to address a major party’s convention. “The whole time, I could see my parents [David and Sally McBride]. I could see them smiling and watching. I couldn’t help but think back to those first few days after I came out and just how scared they were.”
Raised in a Presbyterian household, McBride, the Human Rights Campaign’s national press secretary, is the best-known subject in “For They Know Not What They Do.” Others, however, are equally compelling. Vico Baez Febo, who survived the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, is profiled alongside his Catholic parents, Victor Baez and Annette Febo.
The film also examines the widely denounced practice of “gay conversion” therapy through an evangelical couple, Rob and Linda Robertson, who seek to enroll their 12-year-old son Ryan in such a program after he comes out.
“For They Know Not What They Do” debuted at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim. The Hollywood Reporter called the film “an eloquent plea for tolerance,” while The New York Times praised its “absorbing testimonies, compelling narratives and effective commentary.”
Now based in Germany, Karslake previously examined the intersection of faith, sexuality and gender identity in 2007’s “For the Bible Tells Me So.” He told HuffPost that witnessing conservative backlash to the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that legalized marriage equality in the U.S. inspired the followup.
Noting that the Trump administration has “played to the evangelical fear and loathing of LGBTQ+ people by systematically taking away our rights,” he said he believes the film’s release ahead of the 2020 presidential election couldn’t be more fitting.
“Because the movie is simply about what it means to be a family, we stand by the concept that being a devoted Christian and fully embracing your LGBTQ+ child for who God made them to be are not mutually exclusive actions,” Karslake said.
For information on virtual screenings of “For They Know Not What They Do,” head here.
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