Queer Portraits of Faith is a series of interviews displaying the beauty of being LGBTQ+ and faithful. It is often assumed that religion and queer identities don’t mix, and that the two need to be reconciled in some way. I’d like to challenge that belief by getting to know several religious LGBTQ+ people in my own community.
Morgan Holland is a sophomore at East Tennessee State University, and is a media and communication major. She has a passion for writing, LGBTQ+ activism, helping others, and for knitting hats for people with illnesses that cause hair loss, such as cancer. She’s also the Vice President of Ukirk, the Presbyterian student ministry at ETSU.
What is your religion, or how would you describe your faith/spirituality?
I’m a Christian.
-What connects you to your faith the most? How do you incorporate this into your life and your faith?
Writing and my family connects me to my faith. I write everyday. And the way I combine it with my faith is by writing to God, about my beliefs/feelings, I feel closer to God this way.
-Was there ever a time when you needed your faith most? Did you embrace it or withdraw from it?
There’s been many times when I’ve needed my faith more than anything. Sometimes, I would fall into it with an open heart and allow God to guide me. But most of the time I seclude myself from God, and my faith, and try to deal with my problems on my own. I’ve been in the process of learning how to not do that, and to accept God’s help in my life.
-Was there a time when you weren’t faithful? If so, how did you overcome that?
There’s many times when I’m not faithful, even now. The most prominent time I can recall is when my granny passed away. She was the beginning and the end of my faith for a long time. I can’t say I’ll ever ‘overcome’ my doubts, fears, or hesitancies about my faith. But I can say I will work on it for the rest of my life.
-What role does faith play in your day to day life? More than that, how does it play into the bigger life decisions?
Faith plays into my day to day life when I have minor anxieties. I’ll always pray for God to calm my mind and allow me to focus. I’m still working on how to involve God in my bigger life decisions. It’s hard to just turn my problems over to God, most of the time. Also something I’m working on.
-How does being LGBTQ factor into your faith?
Being LGBTQ and a Christian seemed like an impossible idea to me growing up. I thought I had to be one or the other.
-How did your sexuality/gender identity affect your faith (or vice versa) growing up?
My faith has actually allowed me to accept my sexuality. The more love I experience from God, the more I realize that the love I want is so, so beautiful.
-Would you say that being faithful allowed you to be more or less accepting of your sexuality/gender identity?
It fluctuated for many years, honestly. But now I’m becoming more accepting of who I am.