LGBTQ in Obion County – Haley


Haley Riggs, 21, Bisexual

What was it like for you to live in a rural community? I’ve always been secretive about my sexual orientation, only ever talking about my sexual preferences to people that identify or are accepting of LGBT

What do you love best about the area? The trees

What would you like for local residents to know about the LGBTQ community? Just that its not a sin and its not a “choice”

What advice would you give to those in the area who may feel alone? Online communities are a good source for support and UTM (even if they’re not a student) has a great LGBT club called Spectrum. Great way to meet people.

Photo/Essay project highlighting the LGBTQ and Ally Community in Obion County (a rural area in TN). Some participants still live in the area, while others have moved away after growing up there.


What the Heck!

As I have already discussed here, I recently attended the Gay Christian Network conference a little over a week ago. My experiences there were
mostly positive, but there is one negative issue that I have not been able to dismiss. I met and had wonderful conversations with many precious people who had traveled there from all over the world. During many of these talks, I heard story after story of how parents, cousins, sisters, brothers, children, and friends ended the relationships after their loved ones came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. And guess what? These family and friends claimed their Christian faith as the reason for the complete break in relationship. I wish I could fully explain the hurt and grief that came over the many faces to whom I spoke.

And this bothers me! I cannot understand why anyone would end a relationship with someone he/she loves over sexual orientation, especially if he/she claims to be under the lordship of Christ. Am I missing something here?

I have been blessed to have family and friends who haven’t pushed me out of their lives after I became honest about my sexuality. In fact, my relationships with my sisters, parents, and grandmother have been enriched since my confession. The wall that I put up so that no one would really know me hindered my relationships. Now that it is gone, there is a closeness with them that I had never had in my life.

I wonder how my life would be now if they had rejected and kicked me out of their lives.

So, if you have someone close to you that confesses to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, please do not end the relationship! Parent, please DO NOT kick your child out of your house! And truly love them. Don’t make them your projects. Don’t love them in order to change them, love them because you have been first loved by Christ.

And if you choose to end the relationship, then ‘for Pete’s sake’ do not invoke Jesus Christ as the reason for doing so!