Since coming out last year, I've spoken to many people in similar or worse situations. I didn't quite realise the scale of the problem I'd dipped my toe into.
I've made this documentary as it felt like the best way to process the craziness of the reaction I received: the amazing kindness and support after years of feeling down and guilty about who I was.
I felt like I could help give people a voice. The LGBT interviewees who feature had, in majority, been publicly quiet about their sexuality. This is their time to be open and proud of who they are, and I'm glad to have helped them on their way. There are many LGBT believers living happily, so this piece also sets out to clear up some of the doom and gloom reports some may hear.
I realise its quite a long piece (sorry!), so feel free to use one of two options.
Below I've picked out some of the 15 interviewees who took part in Let God Be There, all with their unique inputs. You'll be able to find a short description alongside their clips.
Otherwise, here's some time markers to skip to (all rough timings):
Intro (0.00 - 3.00)
Matt's Story (3.00 - 5.30)
Lizzie's Story (5.30 - 9.40)
Exorcisms: Yes or No? (9.40 - 13.30)
Canon Mark Russell (13.30 - 18.18)
Father Andrew (18.18 - 22.05)
The LGBT Debate Beyond Christianity (23.00 - 27.00)
The 'Gay Cake' Row (27.00 - 31.00)
Support for those coming out (31.00 onwards)
EMILY: "I WAS OUTED IN SUNDAY SCHOOL"
Emily grew up in Reading. Her mother embedded the teachings of Christianity within her life, but secretly she was battling with feelings for girls. Emily talks about her experiences in church, how people reacted to her coming out and her relationship with God.
ANISA: LIFE AS A PANSEXUAL MUSLIM
17 year old Anisa (whose had her name and voice changed to protect her identity) lives in New York. She identifies herself as a pansexual muslim. In this interview she explores how she came to identify herself, and how she balances faith and sexuality in US society.
ROBIN FOX: BEING A GAY MINISTER
Robin Fox leads a Methodist Church in North Wales. He talked me through how he began to process his attractions for men, and how he balances his faith and sexuality, in such a prominent religious position.
FATHER ANDREW: "WE JUST GOT ENGAGED AND THEN THE TROUBLE STARTED"
Father Andrew was the second practicing vicar to marry his male partner in the history of the Church of England. Here he delves into how he first realised he was gay, how the publicity of his marriage made him feel and what he believes the church hierarchy is doing wrong.
LAURA STONE: LEADING A CHRISTIAN UNION
Laura's one of my good friends from university. I met with her at the heart of Nottingham Trent University's Student Union to discuss her time as President of the Christian Union. Laura is openly lesbian, and did face opposition for her sexuality.
RYAN COOK: SCRIPTURE VS. SEXUALITY
Ryan Cook is a chaplain to university students in Liverpool. Originally from Canada, he's spent many years studying theology - the religious teachings of Christianity. He gave me an insight into the battles he's faced on accepting those who are LGBT, in the fight to determine what the Bible actually says.
PETER GRIER: THE 'GAY CAKE' ROW
In Northern Ireland, the DUP are set to bring in a clause to new anti-discrimination legislation, which would allow businesses to not serve if they felt that it would compromise their religious beliefs.
The debate rose after a bakery hit the headlines for refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay message. Its been dubbed the 'gay cake' row. I posted a petition supporting the activists on my Facebook, to which my friend Peter commented calling it 'nonsense'. Peter works in universities spreading the word of God, and passionately defended the right to not serve on religious grounds.
MARK RUSSELL: "WE NEED TO ACCEPT EVERYONE"
Canon Mark Russell, a leading adviser to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Executive of the national charity Church Army, told me why all LGBT Christians should be welcomed as an active part of the church community.
Rev. Sally Hitchener set up Diverse Church just over a year ago. The group helps LGBT Christians come to terms with their sexuality, providing support and advice in times of need. Here Sally explains a bit more about their work and the reaction they've received.
If you're struggling to come out or would like advice, follow Diverse Church on Twitter here.
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So there it is! Nine months of editing, interviews and investigation, all in a blog.
I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts, and feel free to share this round on social media and to your churches and religious organisations.
I intend to continue writing and making pieces supporting LGBT religious rights in the years to come, so keep your eyes peeled. I'm extremely grateful and honoured to be supported by so many of you out there, so thank you! :)
Let God Be There Backing Track List
All copyright of backing tracks used in Let God Be There are owned by the artists credited below:
© The XX - Night Time [Synkro Remix]
© Sigur Rós - Rafstraumur (Cyril Hahn Remix)
© Alone in Town - Here
© Tycho - Awake
© Saint Raymond - Letting Go
© Foals - Late Night (Solomun Remix)
© Athlete - Best Not To Think About It
© Elbow - Running to Stand Still
Credit also to be given to short clips used from BBC London, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Victoria Derbyshire, Channel 4 and LBC.