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The Plot Thickens

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

As promised, this week I am going to dive into my thoughts on sexuality and religion in film. Though I have only begun to scratch the surface of LGBTQ cinema, I’ve noticed that while a majority of these films don’t bring up religion at all (which is fine), those that do tend to cast it (Christianity specifically) in a negative light.

About a week and a half ago, I  saw the film The Miseducation of Cameron Post. It tells the story of a girl in the early 90s who is sent to a gay conversion therapy camp for being a lesbian. It’s a terrific movie,  and I encourage as many people as possible to see it in theaters.

Here, religion is central to the plot and conflict of the movie—sort of. As all of the residents of the camp (both boys and girls) are subjected to absurd, incredibly harmful rules and acts (such as only being able to participate in activities that align with their gender and not being able to masturbate), many begin to lose their resilience and succumb to self-harm. 

The film does an incredible job of showing how religion can be used to suppress people, as it has been for about as long as humans and religion have existed. However, this is not what Christianity is about, and while watching the film I tried to see it as more of an examination of the individual people suppressing others, versus a statement on the entire religion. This was likely the film’s intention: to show a few bad people instead of a bad organization. But while I encourage people to see the film, I can only hope they take away something other than “Christianity hates gays.”

Since I find myself running out of space on this column, I’ll step down from my soap-box. At a later date, I will mention and explain what I think is likely the best examination of Christianity and sexuality, C.O.G., and why my considering that film as such is, in and of itself, sad.

But for now, I’ll end with the simple hope that one day I will be able to write a film that accurately depicts my own experiences with religion and sexuality: an experience of acceptance and mutual inclusivity.

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