Seventh-Gay Adventists - Film Synopsis
"Seventh-Gay Adventists" has been screened all over the U.S. and internationally at LGBT film festivals and church screenings. And, diverse as those audiences are, the film has been connecting in a raw and powerful way even for viewers who can't tell their Adventists from their Mormons. These voices are the ones least heard in the often contentious and shallow God vs Gays debate. The film's subjects challenge stereotypes and assumptions on all sides as they strive to fully embrace themselves and define a spirituality of their own. Their stories are compelling, even for viewers who can't tell their Adventists from their Mormons. Sharon Groves, the director of the religion and faith program at the HRC, recently endorsed this film saying, “Anyone who has ever felt like their faith and sexuality are in conflict will instantly get this film.”
Being a gay Christian isn’t easy, but being a gay Seventh-day Adventist is an especially difficult path because Adventism, to most, is more than a belief system; it’s also a close-knit community of belonging. The unique setting of Adventism, a worldwide denomination with 17 million members with distinct cultural markers, heightens this conflict. In many ways tangible and intangible, being Adventist is much more than subscribing to a set of beliefs. It is a way of life, a community not easily left. Most Adventists follow strict dietary guidelines, attend church schools, go to church hospitals, and often have few friends outside of the church. By definition they attend church on Saturdays not Sunday, a practice which separates them even from other Christians. For someone immersed in the church, the culture and DNA of Adventism is almost like an ethnicity. They can no easier stop being Adventist than they can stop being gay.
For all its apparent peculiarities, Adventism does not deviate from the Christian mainstream in its condemnation of homosexuality. This leaves gay Adventists with a gut-wrenching decision. They have to choose between remaining a member in good standing in the church they love and the possibility of an intimate, loving relationship. Or is there a way to reconcile their faith and identity? And how do people in a faith community treat each other when they have deep disagreements?
The film explores this intersection of faith, identity, and sexuality through the stories of gay and lesbian Adventists who are struggling with their desire to belong to the church they know and love and their need to be fully accepted for who they are. This feature-length documentary follows their raw and moving journeys as they wrestle with deep questions of identity and belonging. Is there a way to reconcile their faith and identity? Can they find a spiritual home? And what does it mean to belong when you find yourself on the margins?