A short film based on a letter written by Belfast-based journalist Lyra McKee to her 14-year-old self, about growing up gay tells a positive and moving story about coming out in a hostile religious enviornment.
The letter was published by McKee’s on her blog two years ago, when she was 24, and at the time it went viral via social media. The video, produced by Beautiful Films, which is owned by McKee’s friends, Brian Mulholland and Corinne Heaney, and is bringing Lyra’s story to new audience, and already has attracted thousands of views since going live last night.
Speaking to the Irish Times about the film, McKee said: “I thought at 14 you could not be out and proud; that it was a secret that had to be kept at all costs. I believed that it was better to be dead than out and gay. I believed that because of all the Biblical scripts. I used to sit in my house at night and bargain with God not to send me to hell. I don’t think any child should have to go through that.”
She added anti-gay churches need to question their affect on young LGBTs. “There are sections of the evangelical community – and I know them – where, if a child was to come out to their family, they would be at risk of physical abuse from their family,” she said.
“The church needs to acknowledge the legacy they have created. When people see scripture as a licence to violate and punish people … the bar is set much lower for the local thug who thinks he can kick my head in. The church needs to deal with that.”
Watch the video below: