For They Know Not What They Do

Director: Daniel G. Karslake
2019 | USA, Germany | 92m
GENRE: Discrimination | Documentary | Gay | Lesbian | Politics | Queer | Religion/Spirituality | Transgender
SECTION: Documentary
Expected Guests: Director Daniel G. Karslake

Daniel G. Karslake’s 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So punctured the poisonous, homophobic myths that conservative Christian pastors have peddled for decades. It’s screened in more than 4,000 churches, so Karslake wisely repeats its strategy—devoutly religious parents and gay and trans kids recount their fraught journeys of rejection and recognition, interspersed with Bible scholars delivering succinct slap-downs of anti-gay dogma—to even greater emotional effect in his latest feature, For They Know Not What They Do.

The ensuing years since the debut of For the Bible Tells Me So has brought changes good and bad, the religious right has doubled down while marriage equality has finally passed. Countering hate with empathy, four faith-oriented families relate their wrenching and transformative journeys of loss and love, judgment and acceptance, and tragedy and triumph. As David McBride (whose transgender daughter, Sarah, addressed the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is the national press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign) says, “One thing I learned in this process… if a lot of people have just a little bit of courage, nobody needs to be a hero.”


Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco


  • Premiere Status: Bay Area