David loves Jesus and wants to go to heaven, but he also wants Colin. Marcos was fired for being gay, but wants to be a pastor again. And Sherri wants her kids to grow up to be good Seventh-day Adventists even though the church teaches that her same-sex marriage is sinful. All three are caught in the middle between the church they know and love and their desire to be fully accepted for who they are. 'Seventh-Gay Adventists' offers a revealing look at the inner spiritual world of three LGBT church members struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality and explores what it means to belong when you find yourself on the margins. (IMDB summary)
A very gentle, highly accessible exploration of three gay/lesbian couples who are living on the edges of their respective Seventh-day Adventist communities. Seventh-day Adventism is a conservative, Christian denomination which has an official stance that homosexuality is not acceptable but that those who identify as homosexual should be loved and accepted without accepting their homosexuality or a homosexual lifestyle.
Of course, this is easy to say and, as these three couples share their stories, some of the pain and heartbreak they have experienced becomes real to us as viewers. Without doubt, the three stories we share are on the more "positive" end of the spectrum - surely many lesbian and gay people would suffer a great deal more than these three couples. But, as the filmmakers express it, they wanted to make a movie that would allow people whose immediate reaction to homosexual people would be to run and hide - to reject them - to put up barriers between them - to allow those viewers to be gently led into the world that these couples experience and begin to understand what it means to them to be living on the edge of a community they so desperately want to be part of. And this documentary most definitely succeeds at that aim.
This is not an "issue" film. It doesn't take sides. It doesn't engage in theological debate. Instead, we are gradually introduced to who these people are, their varied journeys as they come out to their communities, the responses that people have to them, and the way they choose to relate to their families (and vice versa). It's a very moving journey and we can't help but empathise with these couples as they engagingly communicate with us about their joys, their pain, their loves, and their fears.
It's a truly inspirational film, demonstrating the potential that religious communities could have in genuinely welcoming gay and lesbian people who can enrich and be enriched by their presence - and the way in which those who are forced to leave their spiritual homes can make a difference somewhere else.
Apart from being a little too long (for me) its a sensitive, beautiful portrayal and has genuine surprises at the end (I won't tell you what they are!). After its official premiere at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival in the near future, it will hopefully be released more widely. If it comes to a place near you, make sure to go along and see it. You'll be glad you did.