Across the United States, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians are coming out of the closet. For many of them, finding acceptance within the church can be a test of faith.
“I think it’s a decision I have to make every single day and every Sunday when I go to church,” Austen Hartke, a transgender Christian who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, told NBC News. “You’re always trying to figure out if you should leave and go somewhere where it would be easier to make positive changes in the world rather than within a system that in some ways is trying to keep you down.”
Studies show that LGBTQ people of faith are often conflicted. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, many feel unwelcome within most major religions and are much less likely to identify as Christian compared to the general public.