My childhood as a queer kid living in Tennessee whose father was a pastor inspired this body of work. What started as an attempt to call attention to the damage living in the Bible Belt could inflict on members of the LGBTQ+ community, quickly became a display of unparalleled resiliency among the series’ participants. The Bible Belt is a place where Christian fundamentalist thinking permeates all facets of life and is often damaging to the formation and understanding of an LGBTQ+ person’s identity, mental health, and over all self-worth. While I still don’t deny that this is certainly the case in many instances, the project began to take a new shape as I witnessed the ways in which these individuals have reconciled with the persecution and invalidation given to them. Despite being surrounded by the people, places, and objects that reject them, they have continued to thrive. I went into the photoshoots and interviews for Diving Beings assuming that people would not practice Christianity anymore but quickly came to understand that they maintained deep connections to God. A common theme I noticed was their ability to separate the words of “self-proclaimed Christians” and the words of their God. They came to understand that they are not one and the same. I hope that these images make clear the dignity of these individuals, and I hope to honor them, their inner lives, their strength and faith through this project. In the end, this series became less about the damage that can be done and more about the immense power there is within us all, and the beautiful gift of harnessing it.