About Rev. Irene Monroe

Rev. Irene Monroe is a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School. One of Monroe’s outreach ministries is the several religion columns she writes - “The Religion Thang,” for In Newsweekly, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper that circulates widely throughout New England, “Faith Matters” for The Advocate Magazine, a national gay & lesbian magazine, and “Queer Take,” for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Her writings have also appeared in Boston Herald and in the Boston Globe. Her award-winning essay, “Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia”, was greeted with critical acclaim.

Monroe states that her “columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”

America Cleans Up Its Homophobic Lexicon

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Rev. Irene Monroe: As the country becomes more accepting of the civil rights of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans, it is also beginning to reexamine its language used to demeans us.

Religious Right Boycotts Girl Scout Cookies

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Rev. Irene Monroe: The abortion issue is the Religious Right’s ploy to hide their misogyny and homophobia cloaked as a moral imperative to protect the unborn fetus.

White Gay Men Not the Culprits Gentrifying Harlem

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Rev. Irene Monroe: The prevailing thought today in the area of urban development and city planning is that if you want to revitalize a decaying city and get rid of its urban plight you create gayborhoods.

Katy Perry’s Blasphemous Act of Free Speech

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Katy Perry Free Speech: Perry had egregiously violated the most revered edict of Sharia blasphemy restriction laws — killing Allah.

How White American Evangelicals Exploit African Homophobia

Masked Kenyan supporters of the LGBT community stage a protest against Uganda's anti-gay bill in Nairobi. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been warned by President Obama that signing an anti-gay law would "complicate" the U.S. relationship with the east African country. (Dai Kurokawa / EPA )

African Homophobia: Denouncing homosexuality is one of the ways these African countries decry perceived neo-colonialism.

Nigeria’s LGBTQ-Cleansing Law

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Nigeria Anti-Gay Law: Nigerian lawmakers say their stance ois true evidence of a proud and participatory “democracy in action.”

Que(e)rying Michael Sam’s Timing to Come Out

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Michael Sam Coming Out — His coming out will be the true litmus test if the league is indeed open and accepting of its gay players.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman Kept a LGBTQ Presence in Films

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Thought not a public advocate for LGBTQ rights, but his many gay-themed roles portraying of us indeed helped our cause.

Where’s ENDA in Obama’s “Year of Action”?

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ENDA in 2014 — Even in 2014 ENDA has absolutely no change of passing in an unabashedly anti-Obama GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Robin Roberts Loosens Grip of Black Homophobia

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Robin Roberts Comes Out — Black celebs’s public coming out events correct and heal a community’s irrational and persistent fear.

Mandela’s LGBTQ Advocacy Fell on Deaf Ears in Africa and African Diasporic Communities

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Mandela LGBTQ Advocacy — Mandela neither tamped down nor stemmed anti-gay rhetoric, murderous acts or homophobic witch-hunting.

How Media and Research Institutions Contribute to HIV/AIDs in Black Communities

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Rev. Irene Monroe: AIDS is the leading cause of death among African American women between the ages of 25-34 and African American men between the ages of 35-44.

Why Does Alec Baldwin Get So Many Passes?

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Irene Monroe: While we have to credit Baldwin for his staunch support of marriage equality, gay civil rights, and of also having a bevy of LGBTQ friends, Alec Baldwin has finally maxed out with mea culpas to the community.

United Methodist Church Still Wrong-Headed on Same-Sex Marriages

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Rev. Irene Monroe: the UMC is not in lockstep with the changing societal tide toward LGBTQ acceptance; it is also not in lockstep with its own more progressive arm of “reconciling and inclusive” congregations.

Monogamous: To Be or Not to Be?

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Rev. Irene Monroe: While many religious conservatives might argue that the legalization of same-gender marriage and shows like HBO’s “Big Love,” we have to ask ourselves is monogamy a natural instinct in us or is it a social construct which was obviously devised to protect and to regulate the institution of heterosexual marriage?

The Matthew Shepard We Don’t Know

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Rev. Irene Monroe: This truth shatters a revered icon for LGBTQ rights, one deliberately chosen because of race, gender and economic background.

Domestic Violence: Breaking the Silence among LGBTQ Communities of Color

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Irene Monroe: October is Domestic Awareness Month, and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities of color, not enough attention, education, intervention and advocacy is given to this issue.

What Pope Francis Has Known about Gay Priests

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Rev. Irene Monroe: As quietly as the Church has tried to keep it, the Catholic Church is a gay institution. And that is not a bad thing!

Complex Factors Fuel Jamaica’s Violent Homophobia

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Rev. Irene Monroe: But in a country with no federal hate crime bill, police enforcement and church to protect LGBTQ Jamaicans, solutions can’t be found.

Complex Factors Fuel Jamaica’s Violent Homophobia

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Rev. Irene Monroe: Intense homophobia in Jamaica is so unchallenged that people simply speculate about peoples’ sexual orientation or gender identity then plot to kill them.

Harlem Wrestles with Homophobia

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Rev. Irene Monroe: Harlem still remains as both a complicated open and closeted queer social hot spot. Harlem’s transgender community wrestles more than any of us LGBQs with Harlem’s homophobia.

Pastor McClurkin’s Homophobic Past Comes Back to Haunt Him

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Rev. Irene Monroe: McClurkin, a three-time Grammy winner and revered judge on BET’s “Sunday Best,” a reality TV-gospel singing competition show, doesn’t get it that he’s a polarizing figure.

The Queer Politics of Writing on Race

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Rev. Irene Monroe: Civil rights struggles in this country, unfortunately, have primarily been understood and demonstrated as tribal and unconnected rather than intersectional and interdependent.

A Perceptually Progressive Pope

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Rev. Irene Monroe: Pope Francis’ remarks are still sending global shock waves. And they are the most LGBTQ affirmative remarks the world has ever heard.

Matthew Shepard and Trayvon Martin: Bigotry Knows No Boundaries

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Rev. Irene Monroe: A young man has become the symbol of the horrific result of such stereotyping, and is fast becoming the symbol for a movement. Just as Matthew Shepard’s death galvanized a nation, Trayvon Martin’s death is doing the same.

Black, Gay, and Living in a Voting Rights, NO! Gay Marriage, YES! World

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Irene Monroe: Many note how far the LGBTQ community has traveled—from a disenfranchised group on the fringe of America’s mainstream to a community now on the verge of full equality. But not all members of our community have crossed the finish line.

Rattled with PTSD: Post Traumatic Snake Disorder

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Irene Monroe: In our first and never again face-to-face encounter, the boa poked its head up greeting me with a hiss, and I responded with a blood-curdling scream.

Who Can Trust an Ex-Gay Apology?

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Rev. Irene Monroe: With more and more ex-gay ministries not only losing potential clients and political leverage, but also losing monies reparative therapies generate, there is a gradually shift from “curing” one’s LGBTQ sexual orientation to abstinence from it.

Black Pride: Distinct and Emblematic

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Irene Monroe: Mainstream Prides have themes focused on marriage equality for the larger community where Prides organized by and for LGBTQ people of African descent have focused not only on HIV/AIDS but also unemployment, housing, gang violence, and LGBTQ youth homelessness.

Remembering Sakia Gunn: Keeping News Coverage on the Down Low

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Rev. Irene Monroe: Not enough is ever accurately reported about hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people of color, and how issues of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation trigger the type of violence against them. Nor are the reasons for the silence around such violence often explored.

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