an international news story. From then on I continued to film everything that was happening, including interviewing everyone I could.
How did you find the people you documented?
In many different ways. I of course interviewed people who were participating in the protest, many of whom were my friends. Former clients of Love In Action found us or we reached out to them. And John Smid, the former leader of Love In Action finally agreed to an interview nearly 5 years after I began filming... as he left the organization and began to change his views.
I'm intrigued and impressed by [the director of Love in Action] John Smid's agreement to be interviewed....
Me as well. Watching John make the changes he has made has been quite interesting. I think the most important part of it all lies within his potential power to help make a difference. It's my hope that John's journey will inspire and help lead others in the Evangelical communities he once inhabited, to make their own journeys towards loving and accepting queer folks.
Have you spent time in Love in Action? If so, what was your experience?
No... just protested it!
Are there many women at Love in Action? Does Love in Action also "take in" gender queers and trans* people, for gender "issues" as opposed to sexuality issues?
It's my understanding that they have had limited experience with women and especially gender queers. It really seems like anything other than white males is a department that leaves these organizations a bit befuddled. But former clients would be better to answer this questions because I haven't seen that first hand.
How would you describe Love in Action? It seems like a center for behavioral correction in terms of Christian morality.
Love In Action was a Christian based ministry that offered "Freedom from homosexuality" through biblical means. They did this though a model that treated homosexuality as an addiction... and thus there was a lot of behavioral modification... shaming, and all kinds of restrictions and preventative steps put in place with the end goal that the person would not ever act out on their "addiction."
Love in Action actually barely exists any more... they've downsized tremendously, no longer have a residential program, and just recently changed their name... (I'd prefer not to even give their name as it gives them unne[cessary] press). However, there is still the Umbrella organization, Exodus International, and their affiliate ministries. There are tiny groups in churches all over the world that practice this kind of "ministry" and it's definitely something that continually needs to have light shed upon it.
What is the correlation between the establishment of Love in Action and the declassification of homosexuality as a "disease"?
I think it's significant that the same year in which homosexuality was officially no longer considered a "mental illness", Love In Action formed in San Rafael, California. It's my belief that since it now became improper for psychiatrists to deal with gay folks as SICK... then the idea of having "ministry" deal with it became more appealing for those who continued to thank it was indeed SICK.
Certainly over time Love In Action and other ministries tried to make themselves appear as legit therapy... when in fact their staff were generally unlicensed and had no professional background... thus the danger when dealing with people were generally were in a very real crisis in their lives.
Do you think behavior can be change? Or do you believe that behavior is genetically hard-wired in us?
Sure, you can change behaviors... that's generally easy... through depending on what behaviors you're talking about, those changes may cause you undue stress, and emotional harm.
Are you taking this documentary to film festivals this year? What has been the response so far?
The film has shown at over 40 film festivals, we've won a bunch of BEST FILM awards and it was just released on DVD, and Streaming on Tuesday May 8th through TLA Releasings. The response has been so positive... I'm extremely grateful that I've had a chance to tell this story, and put a time capsule on the events that took place in Memphis, TN over the last 6 years... and it's my hope that this will continue to be shared and inspire others around the world to take action and share love in their communities as well.