Growing up in the good ol’ south I was used to everyone I met being Christian. In fact, most people here will ask you what church you go to before they ask you your name but as I got older and started exploring my own religious views I began to see that when it came to the LGBTQIA+ community most people either didn’t believe in anything or just stated that they were spiritual.

This was both a little shocking and extremely exciting for me because I had been questioning my own faith and I finally felt like I didn’t have to feel bad for doing so. Now that I’ve come to believe what I believe, I wonder what made me falter in the beliefs of my upbringing. Did the rest of the community feel the same way I did? I mean, we are from the south, after all, where it’s overwhelmingly Christian. So why are our eyes open to different views and religions?

Let me hit you with a little statistical data; according to research at the Pew Research Center, 41% of respondents who fully identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual said they were religiously unaffiliated and in the same study, 76% of people in the south are some form of Christian. People in the south are far more religious than those in other regions and so to those who grew up in this environment and then deviated from the norm here have to have a strong reason for doing so right? Everyone’s relationship with their religion and god is different and personal but seeing as how Christianity as a religion isn’t entirely too fond of homosexuality could it be that when it comes to queer people, the largest religion in the world just leaves a little too much of a bitter taste in our mouths? Especially since the only way to live ‘right’, according to those in the church, is to repent and beg for forgiveness for something you have no control over. Or could it be that we simply just have a more open-minded disposition that more easily allows us to open our eyes to other possibilities?

It’s important to mention that there are plenty of queer men and women who live full and satisfying lives with the beliefs they’ve chosen. And that’s all that really matters; that wherever you come from and whatever you believe in you find peace in it, you express love with it, and you spread happiness from it.