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LGBTQ Saints, Queer Saints

Q Spirit presents profiles of traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBT and queer 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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http://qspirit.net/saints
Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus by Robert Lentz

“Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus” by Robert Lentz

Saint Sebastian by Il Sodoma

Saint Sebastian: History’s first gay icon?

Saint Sebastian has been called history’s first gay icon and the patron saint of homosexuality. His feast day is Jan. 20. Sebastian was an early...
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Aelred by Robert Lentz

Aelred of Rievaulx: Gay saint of friendship

Aelred of Rievaulx is considered one of the most lovable saints, the patron saint of friendship and also, some say, a gay saint. His feast day is...
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Jeanne Cordova 2012 lesbian nun becomes activist

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

Jeanne Cordova was a pioneering lesbian feminist activist and ex-nun who shook the world by revealing lesbian life in the convent. She died on Jan....
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Jeanne Manford sign at San Francisco Pride 2013. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

Jeanne Manford: PFLAG founder who loved her gay son

Jeanne Manford loved her gay son so much that she founded Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She died on Jan. 8, 2013 at...
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Gay David and Jonathan window from St. Mark's Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland

David and Jonathan: Same-sex love between men in the Bible

Love between men is celebrated in the Bible with the story of David and Jonathan. “Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women,”...
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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: LGBTQ role the military highlighted by murder of gay sailor

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

Richard Sibbes: Queer Puritan theologian for the LGBTQ community?

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”

 

Artists

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

Artemisia Gentileschi paints strong Biblical women

David Wojnarowicz: Controversial artist mixed gay and Christian imagery

 

Deities

Queer Christ and gay Jesus

Krishna: What if Christ and Krishna made love?

Kuan Yin: A queer Buddhist Christ figure?

 

Resources

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.

Saint Sebastian: History’s first gay icon?

Saint Sebastian has been called history’s first gay icon and the patron saint of homosexuality. His feast day is Jan. 20. Sebastian was an early Christian martyr killed in 288 in Rome on orders from the Roman emperor Diocletian. He is the subject of countless artworks...

Aelred of Rievaulx: Gay saint of friendship

Aelred of Rievaulx is considered one of the most lovable saints, the patron saint of friendship and also, some say, a gay saint. His feast day is Jan. 12. Aelred (1109-1167) was the abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx in England. His treatise “On Spiritual...

Jeanne Manford: PFLAG founder who loved her gay son

Jeanne Manford loved her gay son so much that she founded Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She died on Jan. 8, 2013 at age 92. Her son, the late Morty Manford, was beaten during a gay rights protest in April 1972.  She responded by writing...

Ruth and Naomi: Biblical women who loved each other

Love between women is honored in the lives of Biblical figures Ruth and Naomi. The two women are an inspiration for lesbians and the whole LGBTQ community.  Some churches observe their feast day on Dec. 20. Ruth’s famous vows to Naomi are often used in weddings...

Lazarus: Jesus’ beloved disciple?

Some believe that Lazarus of Bethany was the “beloved disciple” of Jesus — and maybe even his same-sex lover. His feast day is Dec. 17. Scholars theorize that Lazarus was also the unnamed “one whom Jesus loved,” also known as “the beloved disciple,” referenced...

Queer Lady of Guadalupe: Artists re-imagine an icon

Our Lady of Guadalupe brings a message of holy empowerment that speaks to LGBTQ people — and angers Christian conservatives. Queer art based on Guadalupe is shown here for her feast day today (Dec. 12). She is an Aztec version of the Virgin Mary that appeared to...