Daneen Acker and Stephen Eyer are third and fourth generation 7th Day Adventists, who wanted their daughter to grow up in a religious community that was accepting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. They didn't want to leave the church, so they decided to transform it from the inside out by making a beautiful documentary about gay 7th Day Adventists and why the church needs to challenge its' homophobic policies and become inclusive and accepting of LGBT people and same-sex couples and their families.
I met Daneen two years ago when she was just beginning to work on the documentary and I was on tour with my book, Love Warriors. I was inspired by her vision and advocacy. Last week, the couple traveled to Southern California and held screenings in Hollywood and Glendale. I was able to make a screening at the SDA Church in Glendale. The film was fantastic!
Seventh-Gay Adventists - Trailer from Stephen Eyer on Vimeo.
The Q&A afterwards was highly charged. A man stood up and quoted the bible and then personally damned one of the gay couple's to hell. Another person talked about a study that said that gay men are unable to be monogamous. Akers stated that the study was a study of people at high risk for HIV infection and excluded men in monogamous relationships, but continued to surface in church communities as a study that proved that gay men are not monogamous.
One straight woman who was a social worker talked about how she felt more accepted and loved by gay people in the church than by the straight ones and more supported by them after her husband left her. Another woman came up to one of the gay men who was featured in the film and asked him if he had "unclean" sex with his husband. Clearly this was a community that needed serious education.
I applaud Daneen and Stephen for their willingness to engage in these ongoing debates within their conservative religious community. The couple has done this "missionary" work by donation only and by personally charging up their credit cards. If you are able, I highly encourage you to make a donation to support their efforts to end the homophobia within one of the fastest growing religious denominations in the world. If you can't make a donation, check out their website and attend a screening near you!
About 15 years ago, Michael Harmuth and I worked together on educating federal employees on LGBT issues. Michael is a PFLAG Dad and an incredible advocate for equality. He is on the Board of Directors of Fortunate Families, an organization for Catholics who wish to support their LGBT family members and friends. Please read Michael's letter below and spread the word about Fortunate Families.
A Father's Call to Action
Hi, I am a Catholic parent with two sons and three daughters. One of our daughters came out to us as a Lesbian over 20 years ago and as a result I've been involved in outreach ministry to Catholic parents of LGBT children ever since.
I'm on the Board of Directors of Fortunate Families, an organization devoted to supporting other Catholic parents affirm, celebrate and seek equality for our families. Our faith journey calls us to strive for justice for all our children. We seek to represent the 'sensus fidelium' (sense of the faithful) of the laity to inform and educate others.
I'm looking for people who want to support Fortunate Families and help us influence a change of thinking and teaching by our Church's hierarchy. You don't have to have an LGBT person in your family to join, you only need to be open to our work and supporting our mission.
If you are interested in supporting us, please contact me and share our website.
Board of Directors, Fortunate Families
As you know this month the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Prop 8 on March 27 and DOMA on March 28th. Throughout the country there are a series of Light the Way to Justice events. Below are two of the events I will be speaking at.
On Thursday March 6th at 7:00 PM, I will be speaking about How to Be A Love Warrior for Marriage Equality in Bakersfield, CA at the Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meeting at the First Congregational Church, 5 Real Rd. in Bakersfield
On April 5th at 7:00 PM, I'm speaking at the University of Merced, California on How to Keep Homophobia Out of the Marriage Equality Movement. This event is co-sponsored by PFLAG-Merced and Lambda Alliance of UC Merced. I will be joined by Rick Jacobs, Founder of the Courage Campaign. Click here for more information.