by Justin Lee

I’m a Christian, and I love my faith.

Unfortunately, when I realized I was gay, I experienced a lot of pain on account of my fellow Christians. In church, in youth groups, and in individual conversations, other Christians sometimes used Bible passages and religious language to justify putting me down and making me feel terrible about myself because of my sexual orientation.

Today, I’m proud to join the Tyler Clementi Foundation as an Upstander—someone who stands up against bullying wherever it exists, including religion-based bullying of LGBTQ+ people.

As part of TCF’s True Faith Doesn’t Bully campaign, we’re working to highlight the stories of people of faith whose faith leads them to be Upstanders—especially right now, during Pride Month, when so many LGBTQ+ people have been made to feel bad about themselves in the name of religion.

So today we’re launching two easy ways you can join us in this mission.

First, by participating in our Faith Challenge, you can take a public stand against religion-based bullying with a simple Instagram photo. Learn more on our Faith Challenge page.

Second, the new Faith Blog section of our website will feature encouragement and stories from people of faith who are taking a stand against bullying. You can share your own Upstander story with us for a chance to be featured on the blog.

As for me, I’m proud to call myself an Upstander because I think the Christians who bullied me had it wrong. My faith leads me to stand against bullying, not to participate in it.

Jesus stood up for the outcasts of his society. He befriended the people other religious leaders looked down upon. Jesus taught his followers to show mercy and grace to others, not to judge them.

Throughout the Bible are messages about loving our neighbors and taking care of those society treats as “least.” Jesus was condemned by religious leaders for being a “friend of sinners” because he didn’t exclude the people they thought should be excluded.

And that’s the example that I want to follow. I stand against bullying not in spite of my faith, but because of it.

So what about you? People of faith, what is it that motivates you to stand against bullying? We’d love to hear from you.

Show everyone that you stand against bullying by posting your Instagram photo in our Faith Challenge. And if you’d like to write a post for our new Faith Blog about why your faith leads you to be an Upstander, tell us here.

Justin Lee is the author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate and Talking Across the Divide. His website is