How I Found Community As a Queer Catholic

Read this reflective narrative about finding community online as a queer Catholic.

As Michael came to the awareness that he was queer, he longed for a community where he could share faith: Many Christians rejected him, and most of his LGBTQ networks were not open to religion. So he turned to Twitter, and that’s where he found people willing to share his hopes and struggles. 

I am a queer Catholic.

Growing up, I often felt very alone and misunderstood. On the one hand, I never felt like I had a true place in the Catholic Church. On the other, I felt there was no room for my Christian faith in LGBTQ+ circles, which are generally secular and can be quite hostile toward religion.

Scripture tells me that I am part of the Church, that I am part of the Body of Christ, that there is a seat prepared at the table for me, and that Jesus wants me to come as I am — but because of my queerness, I never felt these statements truly applied to me. And why would I think otherwise? While the Church in recent years has made positive strides in bettering relationships with LGBTQ+ individuals, my experience with many Christians was one of hate, discrimination, ostracization, and homophobia.

But still I loved God. The prejudice of others was not going to deter me from striving for a relationship with Jesus. As I grew older, I knew that I was far from being the first queer Catholic, and I was far from being the last. I knew others were out there. I just didn’t know where.

I desired companions who could journey with me — companions who readily identified with my unique set of joys and trials that come with being queer and Catholic, who could help me navigate my identity as well as my faith. And so I took to social media.

Twitter was the obvious choice for me. I have had a Twitter profile since I was 13, so I used what I knew to find other people like me. While other social media platforms have their benefits, I found that Twitter provided an outlet for easier and more meaningful conversations and friendships. Instant messaging and the formatting of the Twitter timeline allows for multiple people to participate in a conversation at once. It is also more public than other platforms that generally rely on more curtailed algorithms — I found that Twitter helped me find people with different perspectives and ideas that can help me grow as a person.

To find other queer Catholics, I simply started following Catholic figures I was already familiar with: Father Mike Schmitz, Gloria Purvis, Father Agustino Torres, and others. From there, I merely looked through who was interacting with their tweets — I would skim through profiles and if someone posted interesting Catholic content, I gave them a follow.

As I grew familiar with these new Catholics in my life, I began to repeat the process on their platforms. Eventually I was connected with Catholics around the world. With luck and hard work, I found other queer Catholics who were publicly striving to live out the faith and connect with a community of folks like myself.

I was plugged into a community of other queer Christians who were seeking to journey through life with God — navigating their faith, sexuality, and identity in ways that the vast majority in the world does not. The friendships I have made have been genuine. I have been able to share my struggles, hopes, and everything in between.

Despite communicating only online, many of these friends have journeyed with me through difficult periods of my life, offering emotional support and spiritual guidance. They offer me their own life experiences, their own wisdom, and above all their love. And on multiple occasions these kind individuals have helped others even in their physical necessities, offering money, rides, and food deliveries to people they’ve never met before in-person.

The conversations and encounters you have online can truly be life-giving. Relationships with others around the world revealed our commonalities to me, and at the same time, our exchanges made me better appreciate our differences. They have helped me navigate who I am, provided me with assistance, and even given me the opportunity to perform an act of service for others.

I am extremely grateful for these friends I have made. Again, these are friends who I have yet to meet in person, but they regularly pray with me over a phone call. These are friends who have listened to me vent — they recognize my struggles in a way others simply could not. The courage they have to publicly live out their faith while also being openly queer encouraged me to do the same.

Soon I was calling out instances of homophobia within the Church. I was explaining to others the difficulties of being queer and Catholic and calling for a renewal in our intention to be charitable online or in real life with others. I was able to give a platform to a marginalized community that is often silenced and ignored within our Church. Most importantly, I was also able to share the distinct worldview queerness provided me, and the many blessings I have received being queer. For once, I felt like I was truly my whole self — and by extension, that I was truly living out the faith as God has called me to.

The responses were humbling. I would get private messages from people who thanked me for my witness to the faith. They felt they were better able to navigate their own relationships with LGBTQ+ people in their own lives. For others, they found my content informative and that they were letting go of their own biases and learning how to better love. But most meaningful of all to me was the outpouring of responses from people who have yet to come out about their queerness. The online community I found showed them that they were part of the Church, too — there was a seat for them at the table.

Online friendships have helped me grow as an individual. They have helped me to experience true healing. They have taught me to better love myself and to better love God. I view myself and my faith in a different, but more positive light now. Most importantly, these friendships encouraged me to live my life boldly in the context of faith. I am no longer ashamed, but I have been set free. Online friendships brought forth God’s good news in my life. I am so utterly grateful for these friends and I am grateful to my good God who sent them my way.

If you are looking to join a community of other young adult Christians, feel free to follow me on Twitter @Michael_Tarui or tap into the #FaithfullyLGBT hashtag. We would love to know you, journey with you, and help connect you with others who speak to your interests. Most of all, we would love to simply love you — the whole you. 

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