Film on LGBT Mormons to screen at BYU

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Scott Raia, director of short film "Pride and Faith", and Kelyn Ikegami, producer, work during pre-production. The film will be released at BYU Oct. 24. (Simon Liu)
Scott Raia, director of short film “Pride and Faith,” and Kelyn Ikegami, producer, work during pre-production. The film will be released at BYU Oct. 24. (Simon Liu)

The Department of Theatre and Media Arts is releasing the first public screening of the student film “Pride and Faith” on Oct. 24.

The documentary, written and directed by BYU alumnus Scott Raia, explores the complex lives of two LGBT students as they reconcile their identity and faith.

Raia filmed “Pride and Faith” during his senior year for his capstone project as a film student. He hoped to become an ally of the LGBT community after broadening his awareness on the subject.

“As I prepared for graduation, I looked to my future and some of my friends and their futures,” he said. “And they’re more complicated than mine because they have more complex struggles, with the intersection of their identity and their religious background.”

The film is narrated through Raia’s perspective as he seeks to empathize with his LGBT friends Bridey Jensen, a self-identified lesbian Mormon, and Samy Galvez, a leader of the Provo LGBT community and current president of the unofficial BYU group Understanding Same-Gender Attraction (USGA). Raia hopes the film will sufficiently portray the depth of the struggles LGBT members of the Church face.

Samy Galvez leads a discussion at USGA, which meets weekly at the Provo City Library.A 20-minute film, "Pride and Faith," is being released at BYU Oct. 24, exploring the lives of two LGBT students at BYU. (Samy Galvez)
Samy Galvez leads a discussion at USGA, which meets weekly at the Provo City Library. A 20-minute film, “Pride and Faith,” is being released at BYU Oct. 24, exploring the lives of two LGBT students at BYU. (Samy Galvez)

The topic of same-gender attraction and same-sex marriage have become an increasingly prevalent issue within the Church and in society, especially with the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear gay marriage cases. The decision will essentially allow states to legalize same-sex marriage. Following the decision, the Church reminded its members to be “persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind,” including differences in sexual orientation, according to lds.org.

Galvez said many LGBT students struggle with depression and identity issues and are unable to seek help, fearing judgment or persecution. Finding a supportive group of people was the most helpful for him.

“The most important thing is to have a support network,” Galvez said. “USGA gives people a place where they can find support and understanding, and resources that they can use.”

BYU students may recognize USGA from its 2012 campaign, “It Gets Better.” The group, which can be found on Facebook, meets weekly and welcomes anyone who wants to understand more about the subject.

Raia and Galvez hope the film will educate its viewers and spread awareness on the subject of same-gender attraction and foster a more understanding, inclusive community.

The 20-minute film will be shown at 7 p.m. in F-201 HFAC. The screening will be free and open to the public.