TJ Montoya talks Christianity, the bible, and being gay.

A YouTube video has been going around the internet featuring a young gay man talking about the bible. It's TJ Montoya, an 18 year-old senior at Seattle University. His 10-minute long video has already been viewed over 30,000 times on YouTube. It takes on his identity as a gay Christian and goes directly into the bible, clearing up misconceptions about what the bible has to say about LGBT people, and also as a personal testament to his faith.

TJ follows in the vein of other young, self-taught theologians, who are making the biblical case for LGBT equality. Many GLAAD followers are familiar with Matthew Vines, whose 2012 YouTube video is approaching a million views. Vines has continued to make his case for LGBT-inclusive Christianity, writing a book, God and the Gay Christian, and establishing The Reformation Project, which is hosting conferences for LGBT and pro-LGBT Christians around the country.

GLAAD talked to TJ, and asked him about why he made the video and what he hopes to come from it. Take a look at the conversation below:

In the video, it's clear that your faith is important to you. What was your church involvement growing up?

My family is non-denominational Christian. I have gone to church every Sunday since I was born. As a middle-schooler and high-schooler, I also attended youth group every Wednesday. In high school, I became a leader for 7th grade boys and lead many camps and small groups. I also led camps with other churches in my area. Unfortunately, after I came out my sophomore year, I was asked to step down, or I would be forced to do so. I still attended that church for most of high school. Many of my friends there disagreed with the church's actions. Though, some students spread rumors and became very judgmental. My senior year, I stopped attending that particular church.

What made you want to create a video like this?

I have wanted to create this video for a very long time. I thought about making it back when I was 15. The reason I did not make it until now, is because I wasn't comfortable or confident enough. I also thought my family needed time to become more understanding and comfortable with me being out. I am currently 18 years old, so I thought it was an appropriate age to come out to the wider world and affirm by belief.

My goal of making this video was to help other young gay Christians like myself. There are too many young LGBT Christians who hate themselves or are hated by others and need to hear the message that God loves them no matter what. They also need to know that people like you and me support them. We can share a message that it does get better, because we are working to make it happen.

Who have been your influences for accepting yourself as a gay man and as a Christian?

Matthew Vines was probably one of the first to really shed some light on what the Bible actually says about homosexuality. The Gay Christian Network is something I only found recently; it has become a great resource that I often refer others to. However, it took a lot more than just religious arguments to help me become comfortable with who I am. I've had a YouTube account since 2010, the year I came out. People such as Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, Ryan James Yezak, and the members of Gays of the Week throughout the years have truly helped me accept myself. Artists such as Lady Gaga, Frank Ocean, Steve Grand, and Eli Lieb constantly produce music that I find to be encouraging. These artists remind me that it's normal to be gay and, more importantly, something to be proud of.

Some of your influences are others who are making the biblical case for LGBT equality. Where do you think this shift in interpretation is coming from? How did that shift happen for you?

At the age of 12, I began studying the Bible. At the time, I thought being and acting gay was a sin. I think the first major shift on my view of the Bible was the [GLAAD Media Award winning] movie Prayers for Bobby, which I loved. At the same time, I disliked that it only mentioned the Old Testament. So I started reading different versions of the Bible. I also began researching the original language of the Bible. I had a couple of friends who were learning Greek and Hebrew, who helped me translate the original language of some of the verses in the New Testament. The word homosexuality, of course, wasn't included in any translation of the Bible until 1946.

I think a new trend is beginning of LGBT Christians speaking up for ourselves. Throughout history, there has been common knowledge that non-religious people argued that being gay is okay versus religious people who said being gay is an abomination. Today's society is safer for LGBT people, and people are coming out of the closet every day. It's time that people educated themselves and actually look at Christianity's teachings. Who better to speak up than people who are right in the middle of these two identities--gay and Christian.

Do you have more plans to spread your message of LGBT-inclusive Christianity?

I definitely plan to create more videos about religion, being gay, and other social issues that I'm passionate about. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head.

I'm also in the process of creating a feature-length film that I hope to premier this spring (2015). The movie is a love story and deals with many social issues, including being gay and the Bible. After graduating from Seattle University this spring, I hope to enter the film industry and share my views with the world through my work in film.