Prominent Religious Priests Who Identify as LGBTQ
Priests are religious officials who represent the connection between humans and the divine or sacred beings of the church. They perform certain rites that are considered fundamental to their religious practice.
Most churches ban LGBTQ individuals as their religious leaders and argue that same-sex attraction is opposed to their teachings and beliefs. However, there is a growing number of exceptions to this opposition, particularly amongst religions in western democracies.
Active congregations of LGBTQ individuals are attempting to change religious doctrine from within many Christian religions to accommodate their acceptance and participation with increasing success. Examples include The Evangelical Church in Germany (23.5 million members), Church of Sweden (6.6 million members), Protestant Church of the Netherlands (3.9 million members), The Evangelical Lutheran Church (3.9 million members), The United Church of Canada (2.8 million members), the Presbyterian Church (1.9 million members), Methodist Church of Great Britain (330,000 members), and others.
In many cases, attempts to change religious doctrine has come from LGBTQ-member groups within Christian religious institutions that are not sanctioned by the denomination. Examples of these include Dignity (Catholic), Rainbow Baptists, and Affirmation (United Methodist).
Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who has written a book called 'Building a Bridge,' about LGBTQ Catholics, said that between 20 percent and 30 percent of Catholic priests are celibate gay men and that a larger reason they have not been public about their sexuality is homophobia in the church.
There is a growing number of practicing LGBTQ priests who are actively working to encourage their churches to embrace the LGBTQ community. These individuals include the first consecrated Episcopalian Bishop, Bishop Gene Robinson, and the first transgender priest of the Church of England Carol Stone. The first known defense of homosexuality in the Catholic religion was written by Italian Antonio Rocco in the 17th century. Though this community of LGBTQ priests is small, they have developed a profile that is recognized around the world.
We have identified the following individuals, both contemporary and historical, as notable LGBTQ individuals in this process. They hail from Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, South African, Spain and the United States.
- Ellen Barrett
- Malcolm Boyd
- Justin R. Cannon
- Gwen Fry
- Gregory Greiten
- Mychal Judge
- Mally Lloyd
- Pauli Murray
- Albert Ogle
- Cameron Partridge
- Katherine Ragsdale
- Michael Ramsey-Musolf
- Bishop Gene Robinson