brandon barlieb


Faith: It’s very much “lack thereof.” I’m not a religious person or really believe in any faith. I grew up Methodist and I actually, surprisingly, was a very active member of the church. My family was. I was “confirmed,” as they have it in our church.


Aspects of your life which have shaped your faith: It was funny because for me, it happened way before I even came out. I started to question a lot of the things that I was reading and I actually came up with a bible lesson for Sunday school one year that freaked everybody out and it was called ‘What About the Dinosaurs?’ They didn’t know how to answer me and that was my problem. I would have questions about things, like, “I don’t understand how this can even be possible. If you’re telling me this, but we now know that this is happening or this has happened, then how can what you’re saying be true?” They would always just tell you, “oh, you just have to have faith in God.” Well, that’s not an answer. I’m more of a science person or a ‘show it to me’ person. I started questioning it at a pretty young age. I  went through with getting confirmed and all that stuff just because my parents were such active roles in the church and I didn’t want them to be shamed because that’s how it was in our church. It was very shameful. I wore jeans to church once and I thought I was the devil.


Do you generally feel included with your peers? As far as people who are religious, in the people that I know, yes I feel accepted and I don’t feel like an outsider. Even with my family, my family goes to church every Christmas Eve and I don’t go with them and my mom asks me every year to go but she doesn’t really force me. Ever since I was 18 she hasn’t forced me to go to church anymore. I know other people who have felt excluded but I don’t generally feel that.

A time when you felt included: When I went to college, I went to college thinking that I was straight and one of the first days there, I went to lunch with a person who I met and his friend. I’ll never forget, we were in line in the cafeteria and he looked at me and was like, “I just want you to know that I’m gay, if you have a problem with that, it’s yours, not mine.” After that, he kind of took me under his wing and brought me to their gay organization’s ‘bring a straight friend,’ which is kind of funny now.


How did that affect you? He was a huge influence on my life because he made me feel very included. He brought me down to Philadelphia and took me to Woody’s for the first time for underage night which was the first time that I saw that gay people were not what I thought that they were. … It actually brought out of my shell because I was a very quiet, shy, very depressed, temperamental person and when I finally came out and was comfortable with it, it changed my life, essentially.


A time when you felt excluded: I wish that I could give you a juicy story, but I can’t. Honestly, I, personally, have never really experienced anything. I had only one person in my life, when I came out to them, stop talking to me and that was my best friend from high school. It wasn’t even like he made a big thing about it, he kind of just disappeared, like, I just stopped hearing from him.


Advice for someone who is feeling excluded: If you’re being excluded from something, then that’s obviously not something that you should be trying to pursue. Essentially, you need to find the people, the places and things that will include you. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to move to a city. In the suburbs, it’s easy to kind of keep yourself to people who are accepting of things because you only drive and go to places where you feel comfortable, or at least I did. In the city it’s different because you’re just all over the place all the time and you never know who you’re going to run into.


One thing to make the world a more inclusive place: Ultimately, it just comes down to respecting people. If you look at all of the reasons why things, especially in the gay community, happen like the transgendered people getting murdered and people coming after gay people and they don’t understand. No gay person trying to get married is trying to harm anyone or trying to take away anyone else’s rights. It’s just all about respecting people for their individuality and if you don’t like the person, stop talking to them, stop being around them. You don’t have to do things to harm them or hurt them, just move on to something else. The fact that people concentrate so much on hate and hating people, it’s ridiculous to me. You just need to respect people and what their difference is and if it’s not something that you’re into, then don’t get into it!



“No gay person trying to get married is trying to harm anyone or trying to take away anyone else’s rights.”

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"human." is a culmination of the writing, photo, video and design work of Harrison Brink and Alisa Miller. It is meant to act as a forum where we show the vitality of the human spirit through the strife that people face and overcome. If you have any suggestions for the project, please contact us. All input is welcome.