Coming out is never easy. But for LGBTQ people of faith, that journey can be complicated by fears of rejection from both a community and a deity.
Singer Trey Pearson, who is gay, has released a new video showing the struggle toward self-acceptance for those "brainwashed" by religion to believe that who they are or who they love is wrong.
The video, "Hey Jesus," depicts Pearson, a drag performer, a youth, and an older same-sex couple in conversation with God. "Hey Jesus, can you hear me now?" the lyrics begin. "It's been awhile since I came out and I was wondering, do you love me the same?"
"I know that I could never change," the lyrics continue. "I tried so hard, but so much pain. And I just want to be loved for who I am."
For Pearson -- the former lead singer of Everyday Sunday, a Christian rock band, who made international headlines when he came out in 2016 -- the song is personal.
"The song 'Hey Jesus' kind of represents all of the feelings I've had since I was a child, and how that culminated in my coming out experience," Pearson told The Advocate. "I just wanted the song to capture that emotion that so many of us have felt growing up queer in this faith tradition, being brainwashed to believe something was wrong with us. Doing this video has been a passion project to try to portray a few different stages in life, and scenarios, of people who have felt these same feelings."
The music video for "Hey Jesus" was directed by Pearson and Megan Leigh Barnard, who also served as director of photography; it was produced by Judson Ott Jackson, edited by Dominique Ulloa, and features Boyonce, Ty Talley, Jack Feider, Doug Joseph, and Phil Wells.
Watch it below, and find the track on Pearson's album, Love Is Love, on iTunes.