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    • Rev. Irene Monroe
    • Rev. Irene Monroe is described in O, the Oprah Magazine, as “a phenomenal woman who has succeeded against all odds.” An African-American lesbian feminist public theologian, she is a sought-after speaker and preacher.

      Monroe is a Huffington Post blogger and a syndicated religion columnist. Her columns appear in 43 cities across the country and in the U.K, and Canada. And she writes a weekly column in the Boston home LGBTQ newspaper Baywindows.
      Monroe stated 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.”

      Editorial / Irene Monroe – Bay Windows

      Huffington Post articles:

      In inviting Monroe to speak at The United Nations International School at the UN they wrote “Rev. Monroe, your active role in the fight against homophobia and your written activism for human rights has truly made an impact on this world, as well as your theories on religion and homosexuality in the U.S.”

      As an activist Monroe has received numerous awards: the 2015 Top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England Award by Boston Spirit Magazine; 2013 Bayard Rustin Service Award recipient, and GLAD 2012 Spirit of Justice awardee. She appears in the film For the Bible Tells Me So and was profiled in the Gay Pride episode of In the Life, an Emmy-nominated segment. She received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching several times while serving as head teaching fellow for the Rev. Peter Gomes. Monroe does a weekly Monday segment, “All Revved Up!” on WGBH (89.7 FM), Boston.
      Her papers are at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College's research library on the history of women in America. You can find out more about Monroe at

      Twitter handle: revimonroe

Boston Pride returns to the community

On June 12 was Boston Pop-Up Pride, to the surprise and joy of the throngs of revelers who gathered on Boston Common. When Boston Pride was dismantled last July, a coalition of LGBTQ+ community activists and groups stepped up and got busy.

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Do progressives believe in the resurrection?

Q&A With Rev. Irene Monroe

Do progressives believe in the resurrection? Sometimes, without hope in my sins being forgiven, I don’t think I could have emotionally coped.

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Mixed Reactions to Will Smith’s Slap

Smith may have thought he was defending Jada’s honor, but rather, he desecrated his intentions with his violence. Moreover,  to believe Jada could not defend herself is part and parcel of heteropatriarchy. Violence is merely one of its components. 

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Can I Be Happy To Be Nappy In Massachusetts

How I wear my hair is my business. Ironically, the Commonwealth decided it is now legal for me to do so.

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What was the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross?

Q&A with Rev Irene Monroe

If Jesus did not die on a cross to cover our sin, then what was the purpose of him dying? What was the purpose of his life? Was it to show us how to simply be “good people?”

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Antisemitism in ourselves and society

Antisemitism should be tied to other hate crimes, like racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, to name a few, but understood as having a distinct history and motivations. Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds us of the history.

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Remembering our sister-friend bell hooks

“bell hooks has always been the truth. Now perhaps more than ever, it’s paramount that we lean into her work. On this day of her passing, let us celebrate the rich published legacy she leaves behind.”

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Will Smollett’s hoax affect public perception of hate crimes?

Smollett’s hoax exploited black trauma. Smollett testified that his assailants were white because one purportedly shouted “MAGA country,” then-President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” and both men put a noose around his neck.

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Recent trials reflect white fragility

When a predominately white jury found the McMichaels and Bryan guilty of felony murder among other charges in the Ahmaud Arbery case, many assumed justice was served compared to the Rittenhouse verdict. The juxtaposition of images of the two trial cases conjured hope for change in our two justice systems: Rittenhouse went home, while the McMichaels and Bryan went back to jail.

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Archbishop Carl Bean’s “I Was Born This Way”

Bean was the first black openly gay gospel singer to join Motown. However, his time at Motown was short-lived when he refused to croon heterosexual love songs. Bean eventually left Motown in the 1980s, abandoning his singing career. 

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The Church lacks a compelling LGBTQ+ vision

I wonder if fiddling around on the periphery on the issues of gay and lesbian rights can ever yield what the Church lacks: a compelling vision which, if received and fulfilled, would improve humanity as a whole. Christianity has no unique truth and its claims, like those of all various religions, is that it must rest upon a “Thus saith the Lord.”

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Swimming upstream against bias toward black hair at Olympics

The least of the Olympics’ concerns should be that of swim caps for black hair. However, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) of the IOC said the design of the swim caps does not fit “the natural form of the head,” a statement eerily reminiscent of the Eugenics Movement propaganda to substantiate both black anatomical and intellectual inferiority. 

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After Juneteenth, what does this 4th of July mean?

This July 4th, America will celebrate 245 years of independence from British rule. However, when President Joe Biden signed into law Juneteenth as a  federal holiday, it forces Americans to take a sterner look at what this July 4th means. 

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Should Cops be at Pride Parades?

Over the weekend, the second annual Trans Resistance March (TRM) and Rally took place. Noticeably missing, guiding and participating in the march from Nubian Square in Roxbury to Franklin Park Playstead, was the presence of police and law enforcement. Numerous chants were heard along the route from marchers, revelers, and onlookers, bringing attention to many of the issues the black transgender community confront specifically. One chant was, “No racist police!”

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Tulsa Race Massacre reparations would begin the healing

The struggle for Black Tulsan survivors and their descendants to receive reparations has been a century-old controversy, one that is a pox on this country’s unwillingness to redress the human rights violation and the generational loss of accumulated wealth.

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Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s struggle with sexuality mirrors the black church’s

The most significant factor that keeps the Black Church on the down-low are closeted, homophobic ministers. Pastor Donnie McClurkin- a three-time Gospel Grammy winner and the former poster boy for African American ex-gay ministries -is one example.  In a recent episode of TV One’s “Uncensored,” McClurkin talked about his sexual past. 

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Language still matters

I used the n-word, repeating what one of my black friends said. I was told I was wrong for using it. My black friends use it a lot and around us all. Why was I wrong for using it?

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The Challenge of Listening

What can we as a nation learn from the aftermath of George Floyd’s death?

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Harris stands on shoulders of giants

The struggle to get president-elect Joe Biden to the finish line first with 270 electoral college votes was unquestionably an epic battle. However, Joe’s battle wasn’t a century-long one like women finally winning the right to vote in 1920 with the 19th Amendment, hoping a female would one day be elected to one the highest offices in government.

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Is Pope Francis’s support of civil unions lip-service?

Pope Francis has expressed support for civil unions in the Catholic Church. Once again, the pontiff has sent shockwaves across the globe to 1.3 billion of his followers with another LGBTQ- affirming statement. However, this one might very well create talks of a schism in the Catholic Church, as we have seen in Protestant ones.

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Ginsburg bent the moral arc toward justice

Ginsburg leaves a titanic influence on the law, a legacy unmatched by any other jurists. As a feisty octogenarian on the Supreme Court bench, Ginsburg earned the moniker Notorious R.B.G.- a play off the deceased rapper Notorious B.I.G.

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Why do some apologies heal while others fail and even offend?

One of the most healing and humble exchanges between two people is an apology. Saying, “I’m sorry!” can restore feelings of safety, dignity, and respect.

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What, to Black America, is this 4th of July?

This Fourth of July, Americans are being forced to see the nation’s celebration for independence differently. The combination of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black Americans, and the ongoing protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd have brought attention to this nation’s centuries-old history of anti-Black violence. 

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The BLM Movement, and a Privileged White Response

June is Pride Month for LGBTQ+ communities across the country. And while COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines have forced Pride to go virtual this year, our struggle and triumph will not go uncelebrated.

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The challenge with reopening churches

All places of worship are now allowed to conduct religious services.  However, how safe is it to reopen them versus the legal permission to do so during an ongoing pandemic that has not hit its testing target?

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Living apart — and staying close — in the coronavirus pandemic

Alone and together, a married couple navigates the uncertain terrain of an unprecedented moment.

Following another memorial, Monroe said she was feeling “very weepy, very frazzled, and fragile.” She hadn’t shared a hug with James in weeks.

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Funeralizing a community, again

The coronavirus, the virus that causes the deadly illness called COVID-19, eerily reminds me of when I started as a young minister during the AIDS crisis. The enormity of the pain, grief and anxiety expressed by mourners and the volume of deaths reminds me of those early years.

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Warren’s disconnection to her black Cambridge voters

“Warren never reached out to us, seems never to have visited a Black church in Cambridge, never asked for Black support, just took it for granted. All of that would be constructive advice for Elizabeth if she were to consider another presidential run, and for a Senate re-election too,” a Cambridge resident emailed to me wanting to remain anonymous.

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Pressley disrupts Eurocentric aesthetic about hair

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley revealed she has the autoimmune disorder “alopecia areata” that has rendered her hairless. Pressley revealing her bald head publicly opened the troubling conversation about black hair — especially for African American females.

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Loving a church that doesn’t love you

LGBTQ inclusion in the policy and practices of UMC has been a long contentious and exhausting battle- both nationally and globally. The proposed schism to be voted on in May at General Conference in Minneapolis will divide the nation’s third-largest denomination worldwide.

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Jesus’s Treatment of Women

Was Jesus’s treatment of women radical enough to call him a feminist? 

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Who’s free speech protecting these days?

Free speech is one of the cornerstones of American Democracy. However, what are the boundaries of free speech? In the current political milieu, the protection of free speech appears to have an amorphous and wide expanse when it comes to sexist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic rants on many social media platforms and college campuses.

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Whitney Houston comes out posthumously again

For years, rumors dogged superstar Whitney Houston as being a closeted lesbian. Now in a moving memoir, “A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston,” by Robyn Crawford depicts their friendship and love story.

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When whiteness is mirrored back on itself

White liberal Americans want the world to look different and sound different, but do they really want things to be different?” Nathan Malin, who plays Charlie, told the Boston Globe. “The play asks the left to take a look at how committed you really are to this cause.”

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Halloween unmasks our troubled history with race

Halloween is one of America’s favorite yearly activities. Unfortunately, Halloween can be America’s scariest, too – especially for those of us seen as costumes you wear rather than the human beings that we are.

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Rev. Irene Monroe on LGBTQ Issues in Religious Communities

Interview on PBS' Amanpour & Company

Watch Video of Interview of Rev. Irene Monroe on PBS’ Amanpour & Co. discussing LGBTQ Issues in Religious Communities.

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