Several LGBT Catholics have come together to release a short film called Owning Our Faith, in which they share their stories and call for full acceptance of LGBT people in the church.
Executive producer and director Michael Tomae says he was inspired to make the film by volunteering at a New York City shelter for homeless youth and finding that many of them had been disowned by their Christian families for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. He then reached out to LGBT Catholics and allies to film their stories.
One man in the film, 30-year old gay man Matt Putorti, says, "The Catholic Church probably thinks that it is accepting of gay people. The church also tells people that gay people, essentially, they need to be celibate. You cannot live fully. You can be gay but you can't live that life. That is inherently discriminatory."
Another gay Catholic, 74-year-old Mike Roper, says, "It's just not a matter of accepting us, or tolerate us, you have to encourage us to be who we are. We are God's creation. And to deny that is to deny that he knows what the hell he's doing."
The film features about 20 people, including U.S. House chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy; Hilary and Celestine Howes, a Catholic couple who have remained married through Hilary's gender transition; Matt Putorti's supportive parents, Francis and Cheryl Putorti; and Eve Tushnet, a lesbian who converted to Catholicism.
The makers of the film are also calling on other LGBT Catholics to make videos of their stories and post them to YouTube. They are hoping their message of acceptance will reach the Catholic hierarchy, right to the top -- Pope Francis -- as the church prepares for a bishops' meeting on family issues in October. Find out more here, and watch the film below.