Emily Joy

It sounds strange to say it, but I truly didn't know I wasn't straight until I was 25 years old and already married to a man. I had "dated" men my entire life, but having grown up in Christian purity culture, the first person I slept with was my husband. Before that, I had referred to myself as "the straightest person I knew!" I think I had just never stopped to ask myself if that was really true and never had any experiences that made me question it. But once I realized I was attracted to women, it was like a light bulb went on, and as hard as I tried, I could not turn it back off.

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Robert Caro

Walking in to the kitchen, I saw my mom fervently washing the dishes quietly with her back towards me and my dad sitting next to the table with one leg over the other, quietly looking down. My eyes traveled to the rectangular object on the table and my heart stopped. There, lying on the kitchen table was the gay porn Falcon video I stashed in my room, adorned with butch leather men on every surface of the VHS tape sleeve.

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Mack Griffith

I realized my attraction to females (I’m AFAB, or “assigned female at birth”) when I was 16 years old, and then realized I was FTM transgender when I was 19 years old. I was raised Independent Fundamentalist Baptist, so I believed that being LGBTQ+ was a choice and a sin, and that if someone was LGBTQ+, they were living in sin until they had enough faith in God to repent and change.

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Caitlin Stout

I’ve known that there was something “different” about me ever since kindergarten. But it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college (at a conservative Evangelical university) that I finally looked in a mirror and said the words “I’m gay” out loud.

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Peter Fenton

I first put the pieces together during my senior spring at Wheaton College. There had been a lot of pieces I'd been thoroughly ignoring because I had been maliciously identified as "the gay kid" in middle school well before I was ready to embrace being different. The other boys had essentially said "Peter is different from us, therefore he is gay, therefore he is worthless", so I made it my mission to prove they were wrong.

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Ralph Jones Jr.

I identify as queer in most instances because I feel no need to affirm the current power paradigms by dignifying the idea that I owe the world any thing by way of explaining my body and how I use it. I am brave. I am fearless. I am God’s. I have found myself, and learned to love who that is. These are all the parts of me that would have spilled out of that cup. This might get messy. But it will forever be me. 

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Kevin Garcia

I was queer. I was Christian. I was beloved. It wasn’t a person, a teaching, or my emotions which convinced me it was possible to be gay and Christian. It was Holy Spirit, present, living, breathing, speaking…I’m walking in the fullness of God. I am unashamed, unrestrained, unchanged, and entirely in love with the path of Jesus, more in love with God than I’ve ever been. I am finally whole because I let God have God’s way with my sexuality and gender.

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Bukola Landis-Aina

Picture this: A studious, driven Christian girl spends 18 years studying to get into Ivy League schools. She not only gets in, but also thrives within rigorous academic environments, and earns engineering and law degrees. She cultivates a strong faith and leads praise dance ministry and church Bible study groups…But when this 29-year-old Jesus-loving virgin, anxiously awaiting Christian Prince Charming, instead meets a sporty and funny Jewish girl, falls accidentally in love and comes out to her family, everyone really gets thrown for a loop… 

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Heather Lundy

Peace is what has caught me off guard. I never imagined life would be full of this much peace and gratitude. I was fully prepared for the pain of coming out within a non-affirming Christian family, but I did not anticipate the inner peace. 

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Philip Graves

I grew up in a small, conservative town in rural Northern California…On Election Night 2008…my heart sank when I saw that California voters had narrowly approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state…I was very much in closet at the time, and that night confirmed that being out wasn’t an option until long after I had left that environment. So, I did the next logical thing–I tried to completely suppress my sexuality and dove headfirst into American Evangelicalism. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. 

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Ben Mann

When I think about life in the closet, it makes me laugh. Like many Christians, I languished in the closet into my adulthood, making the assumption that God’s love only worked one way for straight people.

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Matt Stolhandske

And all at once, I had my answer. Jesus can’t heal a disease I don’t have. The church and the world around me may have done their best to convince me that my sexuality is a sickness that I must somehow cure or change, but as the truth streamed down my face one tear at a time, I could feel the Holy Spirit reassuring me of what I always knew deep down: from the moment of my creation, gay sexuality has always been part of my person-hood exactly as God designed it. 

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Hannah Peace

I moved to Indiana six days after I graduated college to work for a non-denominational megachurch. I was totally closeted and coming off of an emotional few months, but despite years of self-loathing and internal struggle over my same-sex attraction, I was excited to start a career in ministry. It was what I loved the most, and I thought it could be enough. I thought I could stay quiet. Stay single. Stay faithful.

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