Believer Documentary Shines Light on the Mormon Church's Complicated Relationship with LGBTQ Youth
'Believer' Documentary Shines Light on the Mormon Church's Complicated Relationship with LGBTQ Youth
LGBTQ and allies came together for Out Web Fest's premiere of Dan Reynold's powerful documentary.
EDIT: A previous version of this article attributed quotes to Julianne Hough when they were actually from Ariana Madix of 'Vanderpump Rules.' Corrections were made as soon as PRIDE realized the mistake.
Tegan Rain Quin (of Tegan & Sara) loved the film so much, she's now a part of the LoveLoud admin board for the festival, returning later this year.
"I really do believe Dan Reynolds is doing something important, which is getting that conversation going," she told PRIDE. "Music is a universal language we can all speak. Using music to bring people together and make change is super cool."
The film tackles tough issues of faith, love, identity, and what it means to be an ally.
"There's just this incredible moment where Dan's in his kitchen talking about how he doesn't necessarily know everything or have the LGBTQ language or every detail of it down, but he leads with his heart. He wants to make change and make things better for the community, to bridge the gap," Tegan adds. "Sometimes the best form of allyship is to just go for it. I love that his allyship is just this incredible public statement about the change he thinks needs to happen."
Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix agreed with Reynold's sentiment and told a personal story about an openly gay childhood friend of hers named Sean.
"I grew up in what I would consider to be a very Southern Baptist community in Florida," she shared with PRIDE. "When I say that, I don't mean to stereotype everybody that lives in the south, but there are some things that come with that usually."
"From a very young age, doing theater and doing chorus in such a big school that was so diverse, I had so many great friends who were LGBT and weren't able to be out. It was so sad and so frustrating. The way that people were treated at times was so, I mean, it would make me angry. I would get in fights with family members, I would get in fights with people. This was obviously before gay marriage was legal.
I remember, oh my gosh rest his soul, I love my dad, but I got in a full-fledged fight with him before gay marriage was legal. I used my friend Sean as an example because I feel like there are so many people who hear LGBT or they hear gay and it's like a concept, an idea to them. You're basically telling me my friend Sean, who you've met, you're telling me that he shouldn't be able to marry the person he's in love with? If people get out of their bubbles and they meet and talk to people more, you can't think of other people as an idea. That's a human being! You're not going to look that person in the face and tell them you don't want them to be happy. So why would you say that with your vote?
I can't sit here and say that I'm a friend to any one of my friends who are LGBT if I'm not willing to step out and fight for what's right and make sure that my voice is heard. If I hear something, or if I see something, it's part of my responsibility to be an ally and step in and change those things. It takes a village."
Emotional and teary-eyed, Madix's eyes met with Vanderpump Rules's first transgender castmember Billie Lee, who was doing an interview of her own a few feet away on the red carpet.
"I'm so happy to see so much progress has been made, but in the last couples of years, there's obviously a lot of steps backwards, especially with trans rights," she said. "The best way for me as an ally to, and I don't mean to pat myself on the back and label myself that, but if I'm going to say that I am, I need to be willing to step up and say those things are wrong and put myself out there. Because," and she paused to rub PRIDE's shoulder, "you are an angel. And whenever I see or hear those things, I think it's so important that we all step up."
Madix then summed up the gist of the entire event: allyship and visibility. "That's why visibility is so important and representation is so important. If you've lived somewhere where maybe don't know that you know the person, you think of it differently when they don't have a name or a face. It's a weird thing, you know. Some people just don't know, and some people do and they're assholes."