#May17Because there is no fear in love.

From the beginning, religious concerns surrond the LGBT acceptance and equality debate. As opinions have shifted in the general population, so have the opinions of the people of faith. Today, number of church leaders speak out in support of the LGBT community, while a growing number of churches open their doors to the LGBT people. What deserves even more attention and support, is the church leaders that come out and by doing so encourage others to be the true self. An Irish Catholic priest, Father Martin Dolan, came out as gay during a service in the beginning of 2015, and received a standing ovation from his parishioners. In an interview with the Christian Today earlier this year, Jayne Ozanne, One of the Church of England's most influential evangelicals, has come out despite its previous opposition to accepting views of sexuality and the LGBT community. In addition to clergy, and perhaps with the courage gained from their example, other prominent Christian figures courageously come out to conservative audience every day. Vicky Beeching, the popular British Christian rock star and religious commentator made a move last summer by publicly coming out as gay in an Independent article. She is following in the footsteps of other LGBT and ally Christian singers, such as openly gay Grammy-award winning songwriter, Jennifer Knapp, and the front man of the Christian band, Jars of Clay, who voiced his support for marriage equality.

Clearly the attitude of church and people of faith is evolving, and it is evolving in the right direction. It appears that there is a change of tone even in the Roman Catholic Church. In July of 2013, Pope Francis responded to a questions about a reported "gay lobby" within the Vatican, saying in part, "If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge," surprising many who are familiar with his previous anti-LGBT comments. Later in 2013, he criticized the Roman Catholic hierarchy's focus on persecuting LGBT people, along with other issues.

In only 9 days thousands of advocates and LGBT allies form around the world will celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in an attempt to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people internationally. As part of GLAAD's Global Voices program, which works to accelerate LGBT acceptance across the globe, GLAAD will participate and celebrate IDAHOT together with thousands of diverse groups and individuals. As IDAHOT 2015 approaches, we give you 17 reasons, one every day, why May 17 matters. We invite you to create and share your own, via the hashtag #May17Because and amplify the voice for LGBT equality.

#May17Because Rule #8: there is no fear in love.