Hope House head minister leads Queer & Questioning small group on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018. The Hope House Ministry hosts weekly meetings for those who are allies of or identify as LGBTQI+ and seeking for a safe place of community and identity wrestling. (photo by Jess Boggs)

By Riley Gentry, Staff Writer —

The Hope House, a LGBTQ+ inclusive campus ministry, is hosting a weekly event this semester called “Queer and Questioning” on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

At the event on Sept. 5, students discussed the connection of spiritually and sexuality, which is commonly believed to not be connected. They watched a clip from the Netflix show “Queer Eye,” and introduced the devotional book they will be talking about this semester.

Lauren Bryant, a junior history major from Knoxville, said, “it’s nice to hear of a place that still talks about God and still accepts you for who you are.”

This event is open to anyone who wants to discuss the topics of spiritually and sexuality, regardless of their personal religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

“There’s not a space on this campus, that I know of at least, where people can talk about faith and sexuality,” Hope House Director of Spiritually Tricia Dillon Thomas said.

Kenzie Gossett, intern for Project Canterbury, said the queer community needs allies because they can’t do it all on their own and that they have to have help in order to accomplish their goals.

“Queer and Questioning” will be happening every week in the hopes that it will help students who are coming out within the church. The Hope House wants to help people to not feel alone by showing them they have a safe space to speak their mind and be who they are.

Jeffrey Castellaw, intern for spiritually at the Hope House, said, “A group like this would have benefitted me through the process of wrestling with my faith and sexuality and seeing if they could be connected in any way because I had been told for so long that they couldn’t.”

Many opinions and ideas were shared, which opened the floor for people to express how they feel about the LGBTQ+ community’s involvement with the church.

At the Hope House, they want people to feel welcomed and to know that God loves them as they are, where they are.

According to leaders of the event, their goal is to help even one person realize that God loves them, as they are, and allow them to see their worth. The more students that attend events, such as “Queer and Questioning,” the more the Hope House can do to help people who are struggling with their own identity and faith.

For more information about the Hope House visit their website, or follow them on Instagram.  

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