Oral History

Hearing the voices and memories of early leaders and activists.

This Oral History collection provides in-depth interviews with a diverse group of early LGBT religious leaders.  By selecting a person you can listen to that interview, read the transcript, view photographs and peruse biographical notes.

Daayiee Abdullah

imam in progressive Islam


John Adewoye

former priest, advocate for LGBT Africans


James Alison

Catholic theologian and priest from the U.K.


Rebecca Alpert

rabbi, author


Levi Alter

: Orthodox rabbi & president of FTMI


Sky Anderson

Sky Anderson, first trans clergy ordained in MCC


Ruth Barrett

high priestess in
Z Budapest tradition


Allen Bennett

first openly gay rabbi
in the U.S.


Mari Castellanos

Latina leader in Dignity and the UCC


Robert Clement

archbishop, American
Catholic Church


Michael Cole

pastor, founder of
Christ Chapel Church


Ann Thompson Cook

ally educator, writer & activist


Charlotte Doclar

nun, teacher


Karen Doherty

co-founder of Conference
for Catholic Lesbians


Ibrahim Farajajé

mystic activist and scholar


Yvette Flunder

pastor, City of Refuge
& bishop of
The Fellowship


Darlene Garner

Metropolitan Community Church pastor & elder


Cedric Harmon

pastor, activist


Candy Holmes

MCC minister, musician,
marriage equality activist


Mary Hunt

Catholic lesbian-feminist theologian


George Hyde

priest, led gay
congregation in 1946


Deborah Johnson

founder, Inner Light Ministries


Malcolm Johnson

Anglican priest, initiator
of LGBT organizations


Zachary Jones

senior bishop, Unity Fellowship Church


Lynn Jordan

founding member & historian,
MCC San Francisco


Pamela Lightsey

Black Queer Lesbian clergy & scholar


Patrick McArron

Dignity USA leader


Renee McCoy

Founder, MCC Harlem & Full Truth Fellowship of Christ


Louis Mitchell

UCC pastor and leader of Transfaith


Virginia Mollenkott

evangelical feminist


John V. Moore

United Methodist pastor
& ally in California


Phil Porter

leader in UCC Coalition
for LGBT Concerns


Loey Powell

early activist and leader
in UCC


Sylvia Rhue

writer, activist


Falcon River

guardian priestess


Jade River

founder of Reformed Congregation of the


Larry Rodriguez

early leader in Metropolitan Community Church


Barbara Satin

transgender activist in UCC & ecumenical circles


Freda Smith

elder, feminist


Randi Solberg

Norwegian writer & leader of European Forum


Erin Swenson

early clergy to transition gender & keep ordination


Jonathon Thunderword

Trans elder and
AIDS service provider


Leo Treadway

Lutheran activist, founder of Wingspan


Nickie Valdez

early San Antonio activist & Dignity leader


Bernd Wangerin

pastor, leader in
Homosexuelle und Kirche
& the European Forum


Marnie Warner

led adoption of the Open and Affirming Program
in the UCC


Keith Wedmore

co-author, Towards a Quaker View of Sex
in UK


Mel Wheatley

United Methodist
bishop & ally


Imani Woody Macko

leader in MCC and LGBT senior services


Karen Ziegler

early pastor,
MCC New York


LGBT-RAN's Oral History project serves as a model for any individual or any group in LGBT religious movements interested in using oral histories to preserve their history. LGBT-RAN will foster such oral histories by providing training and resources to groups and individuals. In particular, LGBT-RAN will:

  • support LGBT groups and individuals engaged in oral history projects,
  • offer technical support and advice,
  • display these oral histories on our website, and
  • seek ongoing funding to underwrite the costs of these interviews.

LGBT-RAN invites you to:

  1. Send us the names of LGBT religious leaders whose unique stories risk being entirely lost;
  2. Begin interviewing and recording oral histories with your group's early leaders--LGBT-RAN staff will be glad to provide consultation as needed;
  3. Notify LGBT-RAN of existing recordings of oral history interviews with early LGBT religious leaders. Our website would list them, link to them, or digitize and include them for wider visibility;
  4. Suggest sources of possible funding for ongoing oral history efforts.

For more information about LGBT-RAN's ongoing oral history project, e-mail oralhistory@lgbtran.org.

Excellent online tutorials and workshops in all aspects of oral history are available; we recommend the following: