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Beyond the Shade: A Drag Queen’s Prayer for Love

For Queer folks in the Christian world, experiencing hate, bigotry, and theological oppression is nothing new. In many cases we dwell in a space that is brimming with silence from half allies while simultaneously teaming with fodder from traditional elitists. In pews we are encouraged to mold ourselves into a palatable state of being. In Sunday School, we shrink into our innermost selves. We barricade our minds away from painful tongue lashes of false prophecy: a damnation through orientation.
And yet, we exist. And yet, we persist. And yet we find ways to connect with the God of our common creation. A God who is formless and genderless and shameless. A God who knows us, who moves in us, and who will never leave us.
To my queer siblings who have been reminded, yet again this week, of the pain that comes due to a pursuit of Devotion, I am sorry.
I am sorry that you have ever been told abominable statements aimed to corrode your Divine Image. I am sorry that the wheel of this institution is turning against you. I am sorry that the power within your voice and body and mind and soul has been quenched and degraded.
You are Holy. We are Holy. Together we stand Holy.
No word or deed or thought or trick can separate any of us from the Light which swells from the Cosmic Source of Justice.
As I paint my face each evening, I meditate upon the hope of tomorrow. As I dawn my heels I am raised to a higher plane of intercessory prayer. As I tease my double stacks, apply my press-ons, and tie my corset, I am emboldened to be who I am.
At its best, the church is a place for this. It is a place where we can all be exactly as we are meant to be. At its best, Christianity emboldens our embodied queer-ness, trans-ness, racially diverse-ness, and all other ness-isary and important self-identifiers.
At its worst, Church is toxic. It is racist. It is homophobic. It is classist at every level.
And yet, it can be moved. It can be changed. It can be made better.
The Holy Spirit descends into our vacant buildings when allies lay aside their privilege to beckon change into the present.
The Source of Equity beams when Queer folks stand at the pulpit preaching blessings upon our siblings of humanity.
Christ’s words are manifested when we, White folks, flip tables of oppression and unpack our unconscious and overtly racist roots.
One week ago, I began seeing blogs and threads debating my worthiness due to the intersection of my Drag Persona, Ms. Penny Cost, and Spirituality. It was almost an out of body experience to see thousands of people condemning me at all at once.
But I will not be bullied into silence… into submission… into non-existence.
Too many queer folks have been chased from the hallowed ground of the House of God. I will use my voice and my platforms to declare love at all times. Whether you are closeted or out: know that I see you and that I love you. If you are 95 years old and beginning to debate your orientation, know that I am here for you. If you are a parent or grandparent, a friend or a family member of a queer person and just need a starting point towards LGBTQIA+ theological reconstruction, check out

Hope United Methodist Church’s Resource Page.
Starting the journey towards acceptance is hard and arduous. There are people, here at Progressive Christianity and at the Reconciling Ministries Network and at the Queer Christian Fellowship (just to name a few) who are willing to walk alongside of you.
No matter your gender identity or sexual orientation, you are not alone on your journey towards God.
May the Light of Life validate your existence. May the Parent Almighty embrace your true self. May Christ inspire your next few steps.
I pray this in the name of God the Father, God the Mother, and God the Trans- Identifying Person of Color,


With Love,
Ms. Penny Cost
Isaac Simmons (He/Him/His) is a 23 year old Drag Queen named Ms. Penny Cost (She/Her/Hers). He is a certified candidate for ordination within the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the UMC. Currently, Isaac is the Project Coordinator for Hope United Methodist Church: an anti-racist, fully affirming, and Drag filled congregation. Passionate in the fields of community development and social equity, Isaac is committed to working across lines of difference to enact change at all levels of the community. It was through his process of coming out as a queer man, that he found a deep love for theological discussion and spiritual formation. Isaac hopes that he may help others realize and experience the love and grace of God that dwells inherently within them.

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