Having Faith as LGBTQ: Courtneye Mills Inspires Youth at Bread & Roses High School

Live Out Loud brought Courtneye Mills to Bread & Roses High School in West Harlem on January 24th to discuss her personal journey towards reconciling her faith with her LGBTQ identity.

Having grown up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn around friends and family with strong feelings towards the LGBTQ community, Courtneye related well to what many students at Bread & Roses are going through. The GSA at Bread & Roses High School meet in a perfect space – they have their own room with couches, and students feel very comfortable sharing with one another. This has allowed students to form a very close and open group.

Students were riveted as Courtneye shared her story. It became apparent that some were deeply concerned with how their families would react to their coming out. As Courtneye talked about her experiences in high school with dating and interacting with friends, they were most interested in hearing how her family members reacted.

Courtneye shared with the students that she came out at age 23. She first had to be comfortable with herself in order to even approach the topic with her parents. Luckily, her parents were open-minded. “Whenever LGBTQ related things on the news would pop up, my parents would also comment, ‘Why can’t they just get the rights they deserve.’” Courtneye was reassured by this, but still didn’t think it was time. When she finally came out, her family members reacted differently. While her brothers were immediately accepting, her parents needed more time to come to terms with the news. Her sister had the most difficulty accepting Courtneye’s identity.

Many of the students asked Courtneye about her religion and her sexuality identity. Courtneye shared that it was a spiritual journey for her. She understood that God loved her and she loved God. She told the students: “If anyone ever tells you differently, they’re in the wrong.”

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