6. Daneen Akers
“I remember the day I first felt righteous indignation spark deep within my soul about how gays and lesbians were treated in the Seventh-day Adventist church, the denomination my family has been a part of (often in leadership roles) for five generations,” wrote filmmaker Daneen Akers in an op-ed published on the Believe Out Loud site.
“In the fall of 2004, a fundamentalist and zealous young heterosexual couple came to town, convinced that God was calling them to purify the church. To them, that meant ousting every LGBT person who had anything to do with the life and leadership of the church,” she said. Daneen and her husband watched as two women, active volunteers in the church who happened to be lesbians, were stripped of their positions:
“Linda could continue to direct the bell choir because they didn’t have anyone else who could do that. But she had to keep her back to the congregation. Not surprisingly, they stopped attending.”
So shaken by the inequality in her church, the award-winning filmmaker coproduced and directed Seventh-Gay Adventist, a character-driven documentary that follows the lives of three gay and lesbian Adventists. She screens the film around the country, meeting with Christians and engaging in conversations to help eradicate homophobia from the Christian church.