LGBT Parents & Allies

Why We Refused To Cut A Gay Character From Our Christian Film

by Victor Hawks

Hear ye, hear ye: God’s love is for everyone!

This is the central message of our film Pass the Light. Who could dispute such a thing, right? Plenty of people, it turns out. Oh, sure, they will frame it inside “You don’t understand” and “You’re taking it the wrong way,” but from the powers that be who were first in line to buy our little family film about faith, the message was pretty clear: God’s love is for everyone except Trevor.

Pass the Light is about Steve Bellafiore, a high school student who runs for Congress to be a voice in opposition to the hate-mongering candidate Franklin Baumann.

Under the veil of “protecting the community,” Franklin rallies against the “sexual amoral, the sodommites, the lustful, and the greedy.” Steve’s opposing message is simple: Why not just show love and offer understanding to everyone and try to tackle this world together? Inside this melee is Trevor, an African-American man who serves his community by running the homeless shelter. Trevor is also gay. And a Christian.

We knew going in that dealing with homosexuality in the faith-and-family genre was risky, but we also knew that it was a conversation that was important — so important, in fact, that Pope Francis has entered it into the Christian conversation. And as a modern Christian man, I wanted to contribute to the discussion, which is why it was important for me to write a film about being a Christian in our modern, diverse, and beautiful world.

I am very proud of our film. I have seen it screened in front of hundreds of people across the country. Small-town Christians and New York City skeptics alike have all responded positively to our message of love and kindness. So I thought finding a distributor wouldn’t be an issue.

When shopping our film around, though, we were asked flat-out to cut the character Trevor and his entire storyline.

We received this message from major studio players and sales agents at big agencies all the way down to smaller distribution houses. They all said they “loved the film” but needed Trevor to be cut simply because he was gay, as the “core Christian audience will not accept a gay character.”

It wasn’t a discussion but an ultimatum.

At its inception, Pass the Light was meant to be an expression of universal love, acceptance, and kindness. Trevor only enhances those qualities. He loves people in spite of being judged by them. He is dedicated to Jesus Christ and service to his community, although he feels he needs to hide his sexuality from other members of his church.

Being a Midwestern, Christian-raised man, I thought we should just look to the Bible to see why including Trevor was so important. I hit ’em with Galatians, with the Golden Rule; they came back with Sodom and Gomorrah, and we were at a standstill.

So then I showed them why it was so personal for me.

I am a theater nerd. My formative years were on Broadway. This corn-fed guy made a living in musical theater for 12 years in shows like Urinetown, Les Misérables, and the Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific. And the gay people I know in the Broadway community are some of the kindest, funniest, most compassionate, loyal, wildly creative, and insanely talented people I know.

I’ve watched Nathan Lane bring laughter to thousands. I’ve watched my friend Billy bring tears of joy to my Italian grandmother through the power of his voice. I don’t know how else to put it, but God is working in those moments. He is there.

But the response was the same: “Our core audience just won’t accept Trevor.” My partners at Vision Vehicle Productions—Malcolm J. Goodwin, who also directed the film, and Angie Canuel—and I was dumbfounded. We discussed it for hours. On the one hand, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our investors, and we were looking at big-money deals with household-name players. On the other hand, we were raised to fight for what we believe in. We believed in our film. And we only believed in the film if it included Trevor.

We believe that God’s love is for everyone. Everyone.

If we were to cut this character just because he was gay, we would be saying, “It is OK that you are erased. We’re more comfortable if you don’t exist. And you can’t be Christian if you are gay.”

We told the powers that be that cutting Trevor was not an option and took the risk that Pass the Light would never be seen. We passed on the big money with our investors behind us. For many in Hollywood, this would have been the end of the story, but we had a savior in the form of DigiNext and Carmike Cinemas. They saw what we see, and our little film is going to get a chance.

On Feb. 6 we will open the film in select Carmike locations nationwide. We’ve also launched a campaign called “See the Light” to get this film to more people. That’s how I know we made the right choice. We are getting a chance to tell the story the way we wanted it told, with Trevor in the world. We are getting a chance to show the powers that be that the “core Christian audience” is ready for the discussion.

We are getting a chance to bring people together. We are getting a chance.

Some people have said to us, “It is great that you saved Trevor,” but now that I think about it, Trevor saved us. Trevor gives this film a chance to be important. He gives this film a chance to be great. So thank you, Trevor.

Find a screening of Pass The Light near you.

Comments (7)

rob g

Thanks for getting it — for
Thanks for getting it — for understanding that a Gospel that doesn’t include Trevor and everyone is not good news and has nothing to do with Jesus.

Carla Burge

Thank you, thank you , thank
Thank you, thank you , thank you!!!! I cannot wait to find a place to view the film. As a Pastor , I am so grateful to you. It makes me so sad that the world “Christian” denotes the very opposite of Christ like living to so many-judgment, laws, self righteousness and all of that is so blasphemous! On behalf of all those loving, Chris like people who are gay and all of us straight folks who love them and cherish them, thank you!


Seriously . . . Sodom and
Seriously . . . Sodom and Gomorrah? Have they read the Bible? That story has nothing to do with being gay and says a lot about what happens to people who do not accept and support everyone.

Ezekiel 16:49-50New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

David Branson

I’m proud of you for sticking
I’m proud of you for sticking to your guns. I don’t know what to say. I have many self professed Christians amongst my friends. I can only think of one that would have acted in the manner that you have. Yes, we’re people too, we’re God’s children and we care about one another be they hetero or homo. Thanks for the love

Michael O. Christensen

As a pastor if a small open
As a pastor if a small open and affirming church in a small town in rural Kawai’i , will there be a DVD release or other way to show it here, where we don’t have digital projectors except in the county seat 4-plex?


God loves everyone but he
God loves everyone but he never says that everything is okay. I love my children, but when they do something wrong, they know its wrong. I don’t encourage them to continue in that behavior.


With due respect (and I do
With due respect (and I do believe you love your children a lot). When Christian parents use the metaphor of “I love my children but wrong is wrong” it doesn’t really transfer to God. “I love my children but…” that’s you, that’s not God. God loves His children. Fullstop, no comma or semicolon or room for “but…”. God loves His children when they hammer nails into his hands, God loves his children when they refuse to listen. Leaving aside questions of whether being gay is as “wrong” as you think, and assuming you are right about that. The hate-mongering by the church is profoundly anti-God. God just loves us. Always, forever. And God is not like a human parent. Not limited. Not small. Even if the best human parent thought God’s love was only as good as their love for their child, even that parent would be committing the sin of pride (i am not saying you are sinful because I am sure on reflection you didn;t mean God is only as good as you). Because God is always more than and especially in the arena of loving.

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