“For They Know Not What They Do” dives headfirst into the devastating effects of the conservative religious right on LGBTQ+ youth and their families. The film acts as a follow-up to filmmaker Daniel Karslake’s 2007 film, “For The Bible Tells Me So,” which explored the experiences of religious parents who found out their child was LGBTQ. “For They Know Not What They Do” explores the lives of similar families after the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality.
While many across the country rejoiced the Supreme Court decision as a monumental step forward in human rights, many conservatives were dismayed and used the decision as ammunition to further condemn same-sex marriages and relationships.
This documentary chronicles the lives and stories of four families, all from diverse backgrounds and all tied together by not only their faith but also by the fact that their lives were impacted in some way by anti-gay sentiment in their religion.
Most notably, the film gives a voice to the very real battles being fought by transgender people across the globe, as the religious right sets their targets on them as a new “threat” to a moral society. Herein lies the story of Presbyterians David and Sally McBrides, who were shocked to learn that their youngest child was a transgender woman.
Their daughter, Sarah McBride, made national headlines when she came out in 2011 while serving as the student body president of American University. While the film shows that she has a supportive family behind her despite their religion, it also emphasizes that some transgender women are not as fortunate by sharing the disproportionate rates of homelessness and violence against transgender women of color.
This film gives families that were ripped apart by anti-gay propaganda in their churches and their homes a voice to share not only their vulnerability and pain but also their triumphs after overcoming hate.