“Am I going to be a Christian, or am I going to be gay?”
This is the question posed by Grace Baldridge in Refinery29’s new documentary State of Grace. Grace, an out and proud lesbian raised by an Episcopal priest father, didn’t feel the need to choose between her faith and her sexuality. As it turns out, it’s totally possible for someone to be Christian and gay.
The Episcopal Church is LGBTQ-accepting, but some Christian denominations have caused immeasurable harm to LGBTQ individuals and continue to do so. Just this week, the United Methodist Church rejected a plan to soften its ban on LGBTQ clergy members and same-sex marriages. However, the presence of open and affirming churches has continued to grow, even in the Bible Belt.
“I’ve always had a fascination with understanding people that I disagree with,” Baldridge says, which led her to Atlanta in search of a deeper understanding of both sides of the conversation. Baldridge spoke with a conversion therapy survivor, an “ex-lesbian,” and a nonbinary seminary student at an open and affirming Baptist church in the heart of the South. She attended a joyful service at the Baptist church and was overwhelmed with love and acceptance. As she wiped tears from her eyes, a member of the church exclaimed, “She wasn’t ready for the spirit!”
Watch the documentary in the video below.