Grace Baldridge

Grace Baldridge.JPG

Ever since I was a kid, I remember feeling like a bit of an outsider when it came to conventions. I always wanted to be the "husband" when I would play house. I preferred my brother’s hand-me-downs over anything frilly or feminine. Other girls liked to imagine themselves being serenaded by their favorite boyband, and I used to imagine I was in a boyband. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I was able to understand these feelings, and even longer until I was able to speak them out.

Despite being raised in a religious family, my Father is an Episcopal priest, I'm fortunate that there was never any conflict introduced to me regarding faith and the LGBTQ+ community. It was not an issue we ever really discussed as a family. I grew up seeing LGBTQ+ people serve in leadership positions at my church in a very normal way. If anything, I would get frustrated with how nonchalant my Dad was about inclusion. When I would pester him about arguments presented from non-affirming Christians he would just shrug them off because they felt so backwards to him.

It's not so much that my beliefs have changed, more so that time has deepened my faith and strengthened my theology. My belief system now is informed by years of research, study, and prayer. I now view my queerness as a gift from God, rather than something to reconcile or defend to other people. I also feel comfortable enough with myself and in my faith to engage with people who disagree with me, or haven't heard affirming Christian theology before.

I think an important starting point for me was learning about the teachings of Matthew Vines and his book, "God & The Gay Christian". There are other sermons and books that helped guide me, but his work was especially impactful during the early years of exploring my faith as a queer Christian.

My life now feels like a dream. I wish I could send my younger, lonely self a vision of who I would become. I married an incredible woman just about a year ago. She's my best friend. Our friends and family came from near and far to celebrate. It was the best day of my life. We have two dogs, neither one is well behaved but we still love them. I serve in a leadership position at our little church in Malibu, California. I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. I feel immeasurably blessed.