May 29, 2018

“When the shooting at Pulse happened, I was really disturbed by seeing how the narrative was quickly becoming one about so-called Islamic terrorism and really sort of skipping over the very Christian and very homophobic environment of Florida,”

Above is a quote from queer director Jessica Devaney from her stunning and pertinent documentary, Love the Sinner. Love the Sinner (which Devaney co-directed with Geeta Gandbhir) separates itself from the traditional LGBTQ documentary by showcasing the ideals of connection and intertwinement between the tragic Pulse shooting and conservative religious groups. Devaney, who grew up only three miles away from the site of the Orlando tragedy, lets the short film flow from her firsthand experiences as a queer woman—and former evangelical who was fully immersed in her conservative faith community. Now taking on a new role, Devaney uses her social activism and personal experiences in order to create films as a part of the Queer Producers Collective, a group of queer-identified creators who work to form an accepting community that brings queer politics to their creative process. This film in particular hits home for so many in the LGBTQ community who regularly deal with faith-based discrimination and worse. Since the film deals with both sexuality and faith, throughout the film Devaney seems to be searching for an answer, exploring through her interviews and observations the oft-quoted concept, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” and returning to her Orlando roots to interview everyone from family members to evangelicals on their perspective. Delaney’s interview with her own mother is especially poignant.

In the end, Love the Sinner makes you question your own thought processes and biases, and how they may connect by exploring timely themes and asking the question, “Can people who discriminate based on faith adapt their thinking to the changing times?”

The film spans roughly 16 minutes, but in that time the viewer watches and reflects on their own viewpoints, and how they may affect other people. Love the Sinner is a short-but-potent display of honesty and courage, and a must-watch for every PFLAG member and supporter.

Love the Sinner is available through Women Make Movies at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/lovethesinner for only $1.99 for a 48-hour rental.

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