Since the dawn of human consciousness we have searched for a belief
We want to know, ‘How should I live?’ ‘Why is the world like this?’
and ‘What happens when I die’?
Religions give us answers – an endless number of options – and all are
convinced that they alone hold the truth. But the major religions tend
to agree on one thing – the gays are always going down.
Gays and lesbians live and die at the intersection of sexuality and
religion. How and why do they make sense of their faith in the face of
centuries of hatred and oppression? The Bedroom Commandments is a 90
minute documentary film about homosexuality and faith.
In it, documentary film maker Malcolm Burt sets out to explore whether
or not one can be gay and formally religious. Determined not to be a
religion-basher, he is painfully aware that, under the banner of
faith, many homosexual people have been rejected, hurt and killed
because of their sexual orientation. Scriptural precepts are often
perceived as antigay, and homophobia abounds in religious circles –
yet there are those who are both homosexual and devout – and proclaim
the scripture is misinterpreted. Malcolm struggles to understand how
these faithful homosexuals continue to crave acceptance from a club
that reviles them – and wonders if religion is not a choice but an
accident of birth.
Malcolm interviews a variety of people across a range of ages,
backgrounds and faiths. He interviews the non religious and ex
religious as well as those currently involved in their church. He
invites those still faithful to their religion to explain how they
make sense of their convictions in the face of centuries of hatred and
oppression. He listens to others describe years of systematic abuse
and persecution by religious leaders and followers because of their
sexuality. He hears stories of hidden sexuality, brutal reactions to
revelations and complete loss of belief. There is anger, hope, fear
and enduring faith.
Those who have remained true to their religious doctrine explain how
their faith helps them to find meaning and peace – they have welcomed
the tradition and structure religion adds to their lives. Others talk
about their ejection from an exclusive club — the hetero church.
Malcolm includes points of view from a wide spectrum of belief systems
and sexual backgrounds, including people whose faith accepts
homosexuality. He also converses with experts in the field of
religion: a theologian, a sociologist and a moderate Christian pastor
who all have differing views on the co-existence of belief and
The stories of suffering and pain are compelling and reveal stoic
resilience as well as desperate self-loathing. Cynicism and bitterness
lie alongside optimism and forgiveness. Malcolm himself journeys
towards a greater understanding and tolerance of the need for religion
and, indeed, experiences personally a moment of enlightenment.
Alongside the revealing conversations, Malcolm incorporates incendiary
quotes which reflect opinions from both extremes – some are vitriolic
and promote violence and bigotry towards homosexuals, while others
condemn the narrow views of some religious institutions. These
viewpoints are also portrayed in a series of simple yet effective
animations which highlight each religion’s attitudes – and
contradictions – in regards to homosexuality.
The Bedroom Commandments is a compelling series of conversations which
seek to promote discussion and raise awareness of the complexities of
faith and sexuality.