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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.

Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus by Robert Lentz
“Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus” by Robert Lentz
Saint Valentine mosaic

Saint Valentine: Marriage equality role model

Marriage equality has a surprising role model in Saint Valentine, a 3rd-century Roman priest who defied the restrictive marriage laws of his era to...
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LGBTQ saints Polyeuct and Nearchus by Robert Lentz

Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus: Brothers by affection

Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus were Roman soldiers in 3rd-century Armenia and “brothers by affection.” They are a prime example of same-sex lovers in...
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Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé (Elias Farajajé-Jones)

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

Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé was a queer theologian, HIV/AIDS activist, interfaith scholar, multi-ethnic artist, and spiritual leader. He died on...
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“Saints Brigid and Darlughdach of Kildare” by Robert Lentz

Brigid and Darlughdach: Celtic saint loved her female soulmate

Saint Brigid and her soulmate Darlughdach were sixth-century Irish nuns who brought art, education and spirituality to early medieval Ireland....
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David Kato LGBT Uganda martyr

David Kato: Ugandan LGBTQ rights activist and martyr

David Kato, Ugandan LGBTQ rights activist, is considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights movement. He was beaten to death on Jan. 26, 2011 in a case...
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Traditional Christian saints and blesseds

Aelred: Gay saint of friendship

Avertanus, Romeo, Bartolo and Vivaldo: Patrons of the AIDS pandemic

Black Madonna becomes lesbian defender: Erzuli Dantor and Our Lady of Czestochowa

Bernard of Clairvaux and Malachy: Honey-tongued 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’s queer side revealed by historical evidence

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

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 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

Blessed 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: Male couple martyred in ancient Rome

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

Uganda Martyrs raise questions on homosexuality, religion and LGBT 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

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

Anonymous Priest of Sachsenhausen:  Holocaust Remembrance

Bangladesh LGBT 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: LGBT rights pioneer stood for equality

Pulse Orlando shooting: 50 killed at gay nightclub

Allen Schindler: Gay martyr in the military

Matthew Shepard: Modern gay martyr and hate-crime victim

Alan Turing: Codebreaker honored in queer spiritual art

UpStairs Lounge martyrs remembered 40 years later: 32 died in deadliest attack on LGBT 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

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

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

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 and patron saint of LGBTQ Catholics

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

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

 

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 Valentine: Marriage equality role model

Marriage equality has a surprising role model in Saint Valentine, a 3rd-century Roman priest who defied the restrictive marriage laws of his era to bless couples who were forbidden to marry. His feast day is, of course,  Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14). Saint Valentine was...

Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus: Brothers by affection

Saints Polyeuct and Nearchus were Roman soldiers in 3rd-century Armenia and “brothers by affection.” They are a prime example of same-sex lovers in the early church. Polyeuct’s feast day is Feb. 13. The earliest account of Polyeuct’s martyrdom, a 4th-century Armenian...

David Kato: Ugandan LGBTQ rights activist and martyr

David Kato, Ugandan LGBTQ rights activist, is considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights movement. He was beaten to death on Jan. 26, 2011 in a case that some blame on anti-gay religious rhetoric. It is especially important to carry on Kato’s legacy now with legal...

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. It is an intriguing coincidence that Jan. 20 is also Inauguration Day for U.S. presidents.  May Saint Sebastian, who was martyred by an oppressive...

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...