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LGBTQ Saints

Q Spirit presents profiles of traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBTQ martyrs, theologians, authors, activists, spiritual and religious leaders, mystics, humanitarians, artists, deities and other figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of faith and allies. Profiles come from the LGBTQ Saints Series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog.

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Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus by Robert Lentz

“Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus” by Robert Lentz

Matthew Shepard by Tobias Haller

Matthew Shepard: Modern gay martyr and hate-crime victim

Matthew Shepard is a modern gay martyr who brought international attention to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes when he died on Oct. 12, 1998. He was a...
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Vida Dutton Scudder

Vida Dutton Scudder: Lesbian saint, reformer and teacher

Vida Dutton Scudder, c. 1890 (Wikipedia) Vida Dutton Scudder is an American social reformer, professor, prominent lesbian author — and an...
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Saints Sergius and Bacchus by Robert Lentz

Sergius and Bacchus: Paired male saints loved each other in ancient Roman army

Saints Sergius and Bacchus were third-century Roman soldiers, Christian martyrs and men who loved each other. Their story is told here in words and...
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Ribalto art with A Hymn to the Divine Yearning

Sacred homoerotic poems: “A Hymn to the Divine Yearning” and “I Need to Taste My God”

Sacred homoerotic longing for Jesus is elegantly expressed in new poems by two poets who write in different styles. Both poems are posted here in...
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Saint Francis Neath the Bitter Tree by William McNichols

Francis of Assisi: Queer side revealed for saint who loved creation, peace and the poor

Historical records reveal a queer side to Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the most beloved religious figures of all time. The 13th-century friar is...
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Traditional Christian saints, blesseds, etc

Aelred: Gay saint of friendship

Saint Avertanus and Blessed Romeo: Monks shown as AIDS patrons

Black Madonna of Czestochowa becomes lesbian defender Erzuli Dantor

Bernard of Clairvaux and Malachy: Abbot and the archbishop he loved

Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos: Mystical same-sex marriage with Jesus

Boris and George: United in love and death

Brigid and Darlughdach: Celtic saint loved her female soulmate

Francis of Assisi: Queer side revealed for saint who loved creation, peace and the poor

Queer Lady of Guadalupe: Artists re-imagine an icon

Hildegard of Bingen and Richardis: Medieval mystic and the woman she loved

Joan of Arc: Cross-dressing warrior-saint and LGBTQ role model

John of the Cross: Dark Night of a Gay Soul

John the Evangelist: Beloved Disciple of Jesus

Blessed John of La Verna: Kissed by Jesus

Madre Juana de la Cruz: Transgender saint of 16th-century Spain?

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Nun who loved a countess in 17th-century Mexico City

Julian of Norwich: Celebrating Mother Jesus

Lazarus: Jesus’ beloved disciple?

Malachy of Armagh: Same-sex soulmate to Bernard of Clairvaux

Martha and Mary of Bethany: Sisters or lesbian couple?

Mary, Diana and Artemis: Feast of Assumption has lesbian goddess roots

Mary Magdalene’s many faces: Undeserved reputation for sexual sins

John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John: Gay saint and his “earthly light” share romantic friendship

Perpetua and Felicity: Patron saints of same-sex couples

Walatta Petros: Ethiopian nun shared a lifetime bond with a female partner

Polyeuct and Nearchus: Brothers by affection

Saint Sebastian: History’s first gay icon

Sergius and Bacchus: Paired male saints loved each other in ancient Roman army

Symeon and John: Holy fool and hermit who loved each other

Uganda Martyrs raise questions on religion and LGBTQ rights

Saint Valentine: Marriage equality role model

Vivaldo and Bartolo: Love stronger than death for AIDS patron saints

Wenceslas and Podiven: Good (gay) King Wenceslas loved his page

Saint Wilgefortis: Bearded woman


People in the Bible

Gay centurion: Jesus heals a soldier’s boyfriend in the Bible

Esther, Vashti and eunuchs on Purim: Queer models for such a time as this

Ethiopian eunuch: A black gay man was the first Christian convert

David and Jonathan: Love between men in the Bible

Jacob and the angel: Wrestling to reconcile sexuality and spirituality

Ruth and Naomi: “Whither thou goest” (Love between women in the Bible)


LGBTQ martyrs

Ash Wednesday: Queer martyrs executed for homosexuality rise from the ashes

Anonymous Priest of Sachsenhausen:  Holocaust Remembrance

Bangladesh LGBTQ martyrs: Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar

Mark Bingham: Gay hero of 9/11 died fighting hijackers

Tyler Clementi: Gay teen driven to suicide by bullies

FannyAnn Eddy: Lesbian martyr in Africa

Mychal Judge: Gay saint of 9/11 and chaplain to New York firefighters

David Kato: Ugandan LGBT rights activist (1964-2011)

Harvey Milk: LGBTQ rights pioneer stood for equality

Pulse Orlando massacre: 49 shot dead at gay nightclub

Allen Schindler: Gay martyr in the military

Matthew Shepard: Modern gay martyr and hate-crime victim

Tibira do Maranhão: Seeking sainthood for Brazil’s first indigenous queer martyr

Alan Turing: Codebreaker honored in queer spiritual art

UpStairs Lounge fire: 32 killed in deadly attack on LGBTQ people


Theologians, authors, activists and church leaders

Marcella Althaus-Reid: Queer theology pioneer

Jeremy Bentham: Homosexuality of Jesus explored by 18th-century philosopher

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Eberhard Bethge: Anti-Nazi theologians and soulmates

John Boswell: Historian of gays and lesbians in Christianity

Malcolm Boyd: Pioneering gay Episcopal priest

Jeanne Cordova: Lesbian nun who “kicked the habit” to become an activist

Mary Daly: Lesbian philosopher who went Beyond God the Father

 Ibrahim Farajaje: Queer theologian, AIDS activist, interfaith scholar, spiritual leader

Pavel Florensky and Sergei Troitsky: Russian theologian of same-sex love and his soulmate

Peter Gomes: Gay black Harvard minister preached “scandalous gospel”

Radclyffe Hall: Queer Christian themes mark banned book “Well of Loneliness”

Thomas(ine) Hall: Intersex in colonial America

Jeanne Manford: PFLAG founder loved her gay son

John McNeill: Pioneering gay priest who inspired LGBTQ people of faith

Pauli Murray: Queer saint who stood for racial and gender equality

Henri Nouwen: Author-priest who struggled with his homosexuality

Adrienne Rich: lesbian poet with spiritual impulses

Christina Rossetti: Queer writer of Christmas carols and lesbian poetry

Rumi: Poet and Sufi mystic inspired by same-sex love

Bayard Rustin: Gay saint of civil rights and non-violence

Vida Dutton Scudder: Lesbian saint, teacher and reformer

Adele Starr and others: Patron saints for straight allies of LGBTQ people

Saints of Stonewall inspire LGBT justice and art

We’wha of Zuni: Two-spirit Native American bridged genders

Oscar Wilde: Gay martyr with complex Christian journey recalled in new art

Jemima Wilkinson: Queer preacher reborn in 1776 as “Publick Universal Friend”



Rosa Bonheur: Cross-dressing painter honored “androgyne Christ”

Artemisia Gentileschi paints strong Biblical women

David Wojnarowicz: Controversial artist mixed gay and Christian imagery



Queer Christ and gay Jesus

Krishna: What if Christ and Krishna made love?

Kuan Yin: A queer Buddhist Christ figure?



Why we need LGBT saints (A queer theology of sainthood)

LGBT-friendly memorial for All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead

Calendar of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Saints (Paul Halsall)

Santos Queer (Spanish translations of Kittredge Cherry’s articles on LGBT saints)

Icons of many saints named above are available on plaques, cards, T-shirts, candles, mugs and more at TrinityStores.com.

Rumi: Poet and Sufi mystic inspired by same-sex love

Rumi is a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose love for another man inspired some of the world’s best poems and led to the creation of a new religious order, the Whirling Dervishes. He was born Sept. 30, 1207 in Afghanistan. With sensuous beauty and deep...

FannyAnn Eddy: Lesbian martyr in Africa

FannyAnn Eddy was a major activist for LGBTQ rights in her native Sierra Leone and the rest of Africa. She was murdered on Sept. 29, 2004. Nobody was ever convicted of the crime. She founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association in 2002 and advocated for LGBTQ...

Good (Gay?) King Wenceslas loved his page Podiven

There’s good reason to believe that Good King Wenceslas was gay. Yes, the king in the Christmas carol.  His feast day is Sept. 28. Saint Wenceslaus I (907–935) was duke of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). The carol “Good King Wenceslas” is based on a...

Tyler Clementi: Gay teen driven to suicide by bullies

Tyler Clementi (1992-2010) brought international attention to bullying-related suicide of LGBTQ youth by jumping to his death on Sept. 22, 2010. Clementi’s highly publicized tragedy made him into a gay martyr whose untimely death put a public face on the problems of...