Interview subject Renee presents as a butch lesbian, for example, but is actively hoping to pray away her homosexuality because she doesn’t want to go to Hell.“We originally wanted to find somebody that was actually going through reparative therapy or someone who was actively praying away the gay because we thought it was important to show that, for some people, they feel it does work for them,” Lauren said.“I wanted to make sure we showed that because there are quite a few people in Mississippi that feel that way. She is so charismatic and so open and funny as hell. She’s a very strong person and I felt she could explain herself.They also, for the most part, have estranged or strained relationships with their parents, all based on Christianity. To see it in reality, really to see and get to know folks who live with that experience daily was a new encounter for me and surprising in just to feel what it feels like.One woman, Cameron, even says that while she’s currently in a relationship with her fiancee, Amber, she hopes that she doesn’t die a lesbian because she wants to go to Heaven.“I was surprised,” Ilene said. Even though I think we know it’s true and that it’s the case, it’s just still surprising.”A lot of people might think that women like Cameron or Brandiilyne might be better off moving to a city like Los Angeles, or even a closer college town where things aren’t so homophobic. This is where people wave when they pass you on the road and you don’t get that anywhere else.”Lauren said she hopes that viewers will see the stories of as American stories, important parts of our country and people that aren’t frequently told or shown in such a way.“I guess it’s what you want any documentary to come away with is empathy for people that you don’t know,” she said.In the end, the decision was made that it was just really more powerful as a whole to not focus on that.But I will tell you that every one of them is having a great sex life.So she came to us through a series of different churches. She agreed to a part of the documentary and that was a tough decision for her. I thought it was very important to have her voice included.”“The decision to include her was partly, simply, hers is such a compelling story and she’s a compelling person,” Ilene echoed.
“There are still places in this country, not to mention the world, being gay, being lesbian still brings hardships on people.We encourage all of our people to come out and live out because it’s so important that society and our communities get used to seeing us together and seeing us out because otherwise we’re just gonna remain hidden and no one’s going to accept us.We have to live out and authentic in order to reach equality and acceptance in the South.”But Brandiilyne (also called BB) is faced with opposition in the film, from those who are believers of “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” an idea she’s firmly at odds with.“There’s no love in that statement,” she said. When people say ‘Hate the sin, not the sinner,’ whatever, they’re basically saying, ‘I hate homosexuality because homosexuality is a sin.’ And guess what?They are really, really enjoying themselves.”“Of course we didn’t want any real sex scenes or anything like that because that’s very private for us, very personal,” says documentary subject Brandiilyne Dear. We wanted to tell our story and we didn’t want to take away from what happened and we’re trying to break free from stereotypes.So that was real important.”Stereotypes of the South were one thing Lauren said all of the women were concerned about.“There’s so many stories to tell and we wanted to make sure it was a nuanced telling, it wasn’t just the obvious,” she said.