Tonight I went to a screening of “Fish Out of Water,” a documentary by out lesbian filmmaker Ky Dickens, sponsored by ACT OUT Delaware, the Delaware Gay/Straight Christian Alliance and Equality Ohio. The low budget piece (made for about $45,000) was released back in the Spring of 2009, but is still being screened across the country with the help of various gay rights organizations.
In “Fish Out of Water” Dickens takes on the seven passages in the Bible that are most used by anti-gay religious leaders and the religious community at large to condemn same-sex love and mount campaigns against gay rights. Starting with the famous “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” Dickens pretty much takes the audience through the Bible, deconstructing each bigoted claim in turn. To do this she travels the country interviewing religious theologians from large metropolitan areas and small cities in the southern Bible Belt.
The documentary pretty succinctly follows a compelling an easily digestible tale through the scriptures, using animation and mixing in testimonials from regular voices from the lgbt community amongst the theological jargon. This is specifically where “Fish Out of Water” shines. A young filmmaker making the very complicated and over-interpreted verses easier to understand for a lay audience, most of whom are probably gay or straights allies. If you’re looking to be equipped with the brain power needed to combat the hateful speech of a religious family member, this is definitely your film.
Of course Dickens was out to do more then give people arsenal for their next argument, which she does in spades, but she also readily uses her own personal experience with rejection after coming out in college to inform the film’s structure. After learning all she’s learned about the true meaning of the Bible on her journey she sends a six-page letter to the best friend that disowned her after she came out, who in turn replies with a loving apology. Much like Dickens’ letter, “Fish Out of Water” is a loving protest in response to the bigotry that’s come from a misinformed pulpit for centuries. The main message: God loves us too.
I strongly suggest you get a copy of this film. (You can purchase it here.) It’s a well-thought-out and beautifully edited , and offers the Biblical re-education every “Christian” is in need of.
Check out the trailer below: