“Come as you are”: Navigating Faith and Sexuality

“Come as you are”: Navigating Faith and Sexuality

Growing up in a Christian household, I was taught that God accepts us as we are. However, there was a painful exception for those who identified as LGBTQ. As the granddaughter of two pastors, this contradiction weighed heavily on me. Believing that God's love extended to everyone but me due to my sexual orientation led to a crisis of identity and faith. For years, I carried the burden of feeling inadequate and isolated. I believed my struggle was unique and distanced myself from the God I had once cherished. 

It wasn't until I moved away from home that I took the initiative to redefine my relationship with God. It was then that I found a sense of wholeness. Seeing people similar to me, loving and worshiping God wholeheartedly gave me the freedom to do the same. Despite my past traumas within the church, I held onto the belief that God loved me for who I was, affirming that I was not alone.

I share my story to remind you that you are not alone! According to the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 5.3 million Americans identify as LGBTQ while also valuing their faith. These individuals consistently attend religious services, demonstrating that nearly half of LGBTQ-identifying individuals are connected to their faith. These statistics underscore that there is a place for us within the realm of spirituality. By openly expressing love for God while embracing our true selves, we hope to see a reduction in the alarming rates of religion-related suicides within the LGBTQ community. When individuals feel embraced by both their faith and their true selves, it creates a sense of belonging and acceptance. This powerful affirmation can be a lifeline for those who may be struggling with feelings of isolation and rejection.



Studies have shown that supportive religious communities can have a profoundly positive impact on mental health. When LGBTQ individuals find acceptance within their faith, they are less likely to experience the deep despair that can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. By fostering an environment where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels seen, valued, and loved by a higher power, we have the potential to save lives.

It is crucial that we continue to work towards inclusivity within religious spaces, dismantling harmful stereotypes and beliefs that perpetuate discrimination. By openly discussing the experiences of LGBTQ individuals in religious contexts, we can challenge harmful rhetoric and promote a message of love and acceptance. This not only strengthens the faith of those who identify as LGBTQ but also sends a powerful message to the wider religious community about the importance of embracing diversity.

Ultimately, creating an environment where faith and LGBTQ identity coexist harmoniously can be a beacon of hope for countless individuals, potentially reducing the devastating impact of faith-based suicides. Together, we can foster a more inclusive and compassionate world, where everyone, regardless of their identity, feels embraced by their faith. Don't be afraid to take up space and be you freely!


If you or anyone you know are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please dial 988 to speak to the Suicide and Crises Lifeline.



Harding, Anne. “Religious Faith Linked to Suicidal Behavior in LGBQ Adults.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 13 Apr. 2018, www.reuters.com/article/us-health-lgbq-religion-suicide/religious-faith….

“More than 5 Million LGBT Adults in the US Are Religious.” Williams Institute, 22 Oct. 2020, williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/lgbt-religiosity-press-release/.