Saturday, May 16th, 2020

For They Know Not What They Do


Daniel Karslake’s powerful and disturbing documentary serves as a wake-up call for the parts of the LGBTQ community that may be getting complacent.  At the very beginning of his film Karslake is eager to point out to us that the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage was hardly the end of our fight for equal rights, as the opposition had just re-focused their efforts to make our lives hell.

Most middle-class urban gay men and women now living very comfortable and accepting lives are aware that they are the lucky ones, but it takes a film like this to ensure that our eyes and hearts are open to the struggles that so many other LGBTQ people face on a daily basis.

Karslake tells the stories of 4 different families and how they dealt with have a family member coming out as LGBTQ.  

There are the Robinsons a very earnest evangelical family who had accepted the father’s brother was gay, but  who find their conservative Christian beliefs under fire when one of their sons announces that he is gay.  He agrees to go to conversion therapy, but still struggles with his faith and his sexuality,  and in the end replaces his Bible for drugs to find his own way.  

Sarah McBride came out to her conservative religious family as a transgender women.  Her parents consulted their church minister , but unlike the Robinsons, they had enough faith to support their daughter’s journey no matter how alien the concept was to them at first. Sarah is the ‘big success’ story in the film working at the White House  and eventually becoming the first trans person to address a national convention, the Democratic convention in 2016. She is currently running for the State Senate in Delaware.

Elliot is a young  transman who came out to his parents whilst he was in high school.  He’s an only child and although his parents initially had a great deal  trouble reconciling his gender dysphoria with their faith, in the end they accepted him without question.  His mother explained that she could see that Elliot’s struggle was very real and that he was so deeply distressed.  It was the fact that the last thing she ever wanted was him to become part of the 40% of transgender teens who attempt suicide.

The most dramatic, and by far the saddest story is of Vico a gay Puerto Rican man, who was shocled when his family accepted hi ssexuality without hesitation. He lived in Orlando and one Saturday night after he had held a housewarming party, he suggested to his friends that they go out dancing.  They went to Pulse on the night of the horrific mass shooting there in June 2016. 

Vico was one of the few lucky ones as he managed to hide in a closet, but several of his friends died that night, and he still blames himself for taking them there.  It brought him closer to his family and made them more aware the dangers we can sometimes face because of our sexuality.

The Robertsons used their own experience to find a church welcomed gay congregants, and went one step by starting their own weekly support group for gay Christians.  It is too late to save their own son, but will definitely be a help to others.

Christianity raises its often ugly head throughout the piece as extreme evangelicals misquote the Bible to justify what can only politely be described as ‘un-christian behaviour’.  It is always the means they use to justify abhorrent behaviour because of the sheer lack of facts  Sadly it is very much a sign of the times when people in high places can constantly tell blatant lies for political gain and power.  The saddest part of this is that it is usually the  LGBTQ community are caught in the cross fire.

Same-sex marriage may have been a battle that the Evangelicals lost so now they can turn their hatred and ignorance on the transgender community.  And also step up gay conversion therapies which are still legal in 41 US States.

Karslake’s excellent doc reminds us in the LGBTQ community that we should continue to celebrate our rights and acceptance with our friends but keep one eye open on that church door at all times.

P.S. The documentary will have a Virtual Online Screening on 6/12 for details https://www.fortheyknow.org/

Posted by queerguru  at  10:56



Genres:  documentary

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