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Film of Mormon family with gay son to premiere at SF gay film festival

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A film chronicling the journey of a devout Mormon family living in a conservative community, who attended Church every Sunday, actively served in their ward, went door-to-door to stop same-sex marriage in support of California’s Prop 8 and whose lives were turned upside down when their 13-year-old son admitted he was gay, will premiere at Frameline 37: the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival on Saturday.

“Families are Forever” (trailer) tells the story of 13-year-old Jordan, on the cusp of becoming an Eagle Scout, who hid his sexual orientation for fear of rejection by his family and Church, like many adolescents from socially and religiously conservative families who are told they’re “confused” or that “It’s just a phase.” Like other LGBT Mormon children and adolescents, he daily walked past yellow Prop 8 yard signs and internalized painful messages that reinforced feelings of isolation and despair as he began to realize that his family was rejecting people like him.

Called “riveting” by the Salt Lake Tribune, “Families are Forever” is a powerhouse addition to the Family Acceptance Project’s inspiring family education video series that is helping prevent suicide, HIV, homelessness and other serious health risks by increasing family support for LGBT youth – in the context of family, culture and faith backgrounds. This new video adds to critical research-based educational materials the Family Acceptance Project is producing for families with LGBT children, including the first “Best Practice” resources for suicide prevention for LGBT youth and young adults and the first for LGBT Mormons in the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.

As with other family education materials and videos from the Family Acceptance Project – an research, education and family intervention initiative at SF State University that helps diverse families support their LGBT children – “Families are Forever” is part of a planned series of short documentaries that show the journey of ethnically and religiously diverse families from struggle to support of their LGBT children to give LGBT youth and families hope and to show how diverse families learn to support their LGBT children. A collaboration between Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker, Vivian Kleiman, and award-winning clinical social worker, Caitlin Ryan, these documentaries are changing lives and building healthy futures for LGBT children and adolescents.

“Many LGBT youth and families have never seen acceptance and support expressed by parents and caregivers for their LGBT children.” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project. “Our videos show individual stories of family acceptance that speak to families from a wide range of backgrounds and help them understand that how they respond to their LGBT children has a powerful impact on their health, mental health and survival.”

Mitch Mayne, an openly gay Mormon religious leader in the San Francisco Bay Ward of the Mormon Church knows this firsthand: “Religiously conservative families have little access to accurate information and many believe they have to choose between their child and their faith. A cornerstone of the Family Acceptance Project’s work is to integrate research, culture and faith to inspire and educate diverse and very conservative families on how to love their LGBT children. This video will literally save lives.”

Families are Forever screens at the Victoria Theatre in a documentary shorts program at 3:30 pm. More information about the film at Frameline is available here.

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