10 People To Take #Pride In
I love telling people "I'm proud of you!"
But I've noticed that this saying can come across in a manner different than my intent. It can feel like the proud soccer coach patting the head of his 10 year old striker.
Which is NOT how I think of it.
Instead, I use it at an eye-to-eye peer level. I want you to know that I see you and I'm proud of the work you are doing. Not because I'm above you, not because you owe anything to me, but simply because I acknowledge that we are both humans doing our best in this world and YOU ARE DOING IT and I'm proud of you!
So in that vein--and because June is #PrideMonth--I want to share with you 10 LGBTQ individuals that are crushing it. These people are making a difference and the world is better because of them.
Please follow and/or check these folks out.
I'm so damn proud of them and the work they are doing!
Darren is a gift to the local church. He helps facilitate those challenging—but super needed—conversations in the church around matters related both to LGBTQ inclusion and racial reconciliation. He has a special gift to navigate those waters with grace and honesty. Darren is also a fabulous musician and worship leader. I’ve had the privilege of being led by his group, The Many, and it’s a gorgeous worship experience. Check them out at themanyarehere.com, and learn more about Darren at darrencalhoun.com
Alicia is the powerful voice we need to hear. She refuses to accept the status quo and she refuses to settle. I love the way that she speaks so clearly and prophetically to power, and, simultaneously creates amazingly safe spaces for people on the margins. Alicia started The Center for Inclusivity in Chicago who’s fantastic mission is, “To foster healing communities among people of all faiths, genders, and sexual orientations with an ethic of inclusion that is locally embodied, sacredly held and widely replicable.”
Kevin is a gem of a human. He can make you smile and feel all warm inside just by standing next to you, as his contagious love for life spills out of everything he does. Which is a lot. He does a lot. And it’s awesome. He’s a gifted musician and worship leader. He writes prolifically at his website. He hosts a fantastic podcast called A Tiny Revolution. He creates super dope clothing called Queerly Beloved. And he makes fantastic Youtube videos. I’m in awe of his artistic eye, his heart for people, and his zest for life.
Austen is a voice the world needs to hear right now…especially in the church. He just released his first book, Transforming, and it comes at a crucial time as our culture needs to expand our understanding, awareness of, and embrace of Transgender individuals. He’s also creating fantastic content on his YouTube channel, Transgender and Christian, which seeks to understand, interpret, and share parts of the Bible that relate to gender identity and the lives of transgender individuals. Check out Austen and his work at austenhartke.com
Matthias is almost single-handedly ensuring that the LGBTQ Christian voice is not just elevated but HEARD. His podcast, Queerology, is a weekly conversation with beautiful movers and shakers. He has a gift for helping LBTQ christians and allies live confidently, insisting that everyone is a part of God’s family. If you know me, you know that’s a drum I love beating! Follow Matthias--and his prolific content creation--at matthiasroberts.com
Amber is one of my heroes. She was born and raised in a family that lived and breathed (and worked for) Focus on the Family, which caused all sorts of problems when Amber finally came to peace with her sexual orientation. Her recent book, “Refocusing My Family,” is an incredible and heartbreaking read about how her family turned their back on her once she came out. But Amber’s bravery and huge-heart is what impresses me most as she continues to insist that God is good and full of love. Follow her at ambercantorna.com
Candice is saving lives, and I love her for it. Years ago she started an online counseling service called The Christian Closet so that she could provide Skype counseling to LGBTQ individuals as they navigate the journey of coming out. Her specific focus on the intersection of faith and sexuality means that she is doing work that I know, first hand, is saving people’s lives. I’ve referred so many people to Candice because I believe in her and what she’s doing with all my heart.
Girlboy is the band you didn’t know you needed in your life. When Girl (who raps) meets boy (who sings soul) come together, you get Soul-Hop & Solidarity. Haley Hill is the dynamic and whip-smart artist who brings the fresh rhymes, and Matthew Blake is the ridiculously talented musician who plays guitar, keys, and sings you to bliss. Their music prophetically calls people out: for justice, for love, and for having a damn good time. Check out Girlboy’s website to get their original music and hear some sick ass covers.
Meredith is a bright light to lead us all. As a straight ally, one of my main roles is to listen. To hear the stories of LGBTQ individuals and learn from them. Meredith’s new book, Unseen, is an incredible—if not heartbreaking—testament to what it’s like being LGBTQ and Christian. Her story is important for how it can bring insight to non-LGBTQ individuals and for how it can bring empathy and solidarity for those who have walked similar roads as Meredith. Learn more about and follow Meredith at meredithjade.com
paula stone williams
Paula is a force to be reckoned with. Spend just 10 minutes with her and she’ll change your life. She is fierce in her belief that all people are here for a purpose, and she won’t hesitate to push you toward your calling. Full of love and wisdom, Paula joined two others and the three of them co-pastor Left Hand Church just outside of Denver, a progressive Christian church they launched this year. Her recent TED talk, “I’ve lived as a man & a woman—here’s what I learned,” has been viewed almost 800,000 times. Follow her at paulastonewilliams.com, you can thank me later.