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Irene Monroe
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A native of Brooklyn, Irene is a graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as Ford Fellow. She writes The Religion Thang, for In Newsweekly, now called New England Blade, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper in the New England, Faith Matters for The Advocate Magazine, The Bilerico Project, Black Commentator, and Queer Take, for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal, and Black Commentator.

As a nationally renowned African-American lesbian activist, scholar and public theologian, her writings have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Bay State Banner, Cambridge Chronicle, and Metro News. Her award-winning essay "Louis Farrakhan's Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia" was greeted with critical acclaim. She has also been profiled in O, Oprah Magazine, and recently CNNs Paula Zahn Now, and "CNN Headline News."

She was profiled in the Gay Pride Episode of “In the Life TV,” and the segment on her was nominated for an educational Emmy. She has received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching while being the head teaching fellow of the Rev. Peter Gomes, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard who is the author of the best seller, The Good Book. She is in the film For The Bible Tells Me So, an exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community, and she is profiled in CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America that wasreleased in September 2008.

Her website is www.irenemonroe.com.

Entries by Irene Monroe

Black Children Are Beloved and Beaten

(1) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 4:34 PM

"Beloved and beaten." African American children -- past and present -- are loved fiercely, and disciplined that way, too.

This authoritative style of African American parenting is too often passed along generationally -- and uncritically.

When Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on allegations of child abuse, he...

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Back-to-School Not Welcoming to All LGBTQ-Students in Massachusetts

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 2:21 PM

It's back-to-school season for most and stepping back into the scene isn't easy for a lot of students -- especially LGBTQ students.

LGBTQ-phobias abound in the hallowed halls of higher learning and, unfortunately, we have to confront them here in Massachusetts, an A+ queer-friendly state.

I pray for LGBTQ freshman...

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The Real Superheroes of P'Town Carnival

(0) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 12:31 PM

The best week to be in Provincetown is the week of Carnival. The parade is its signature extravaganza.

While many would contest that any week in P'Town during the summer months is a carnival, the official date is always week thirty-three -- this year it was from August 17th -...

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Is Celibacy the New Ex-Gay Ministry?

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 11:41 AM

Embracing celibacy as an appropriate religious duty for God-abiding LGBTQ Christians is now on the rise.

No joke.

Progress has been made on federal and state levels concerning LGBTQ civil rights, but many churches, especially in certain conservative religious circles, are far behind.

For those heterosexual Christians who...

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African-American Sisters Aging With HIV and Co-Morbidities

(3) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 12:28 AM

Imani* was 32 when she contracted HIV. Having watched many of her sister-friends die as a result of the virus, Imani did not expect to reach middle age. Now in her fifth decade of life, Imani has multiple new challenges. She self-manages her HIV -- along with her diabetes...

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Boston LGBTQ Communities Divided on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

(2) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 11:23 AM

As Secretary of State John F. Kerry finishes his week in the Middle East, where he attempted to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the tensions of this conflict have divided the LGBTQ communities of Boston.

At a recent protest rally on the streets of Boston, just one of...

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In 2014, Still Not Independence Day for Women

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:58 PM

This month we celebrate the Fourth of July with rounds of festivities marking America's 238 years of independence.

People will be singing the "The Star Spangled Banner" or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or reenacting the Continental Congress of 1776 or simply watching reproductions of the "rocket's...

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Presbyterian Church Crawling Toward Marriage Equality

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2014 | 6:16 PM

Many Presbyterians jubilantly proclaimed that the Holy Spirit had unquestionably descended upon the Presbyterian Church USA's 221st General Assembly when commissioners voted to amend the definition of "marriage" in the Book of Order, the PCUSA's constitution, from a union of "a man and a woman" to a union of...

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Desecrating Dr. Maya Angelou's Funeral

(136) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 7:02 PM

When news circulated that the notorious Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, was planning to protest the "home-going" service of our nation's most beloved citizen, poet, author, civil-rights activist, and sister sage to us all, Dr. Maya Angelou, there was a collective gasp of disbelief.

Rev. Fred Phelps' legacy,...

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Racial Divide in LGBTQ Communities Could Have Derailed Marriage Debate in Massachusetts

(2) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 5:58 PM

Marriage equality in Massachusetts hits its 10-year anniversary on May 17. As we reflect on this momentous occasion, I'm proud of the indefatigable energy and genius that made it possible.

But I didn't always feel that way, and my opinions, and those of LGBTQ communities of color nationwide, were...

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Military's Ban on Nappy Hair

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 12:30 PM

African American female servicemembers comprise the highest percentage of women in the military. And with these sister servicewomen enlisting in the military at higher rates than their white, Asian and Latina sisters to serve and die for our country, the last thing the military should be squawking about...

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Mother Teresa's Canonization Dissed

(22) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 3:00 PM

Pope Francis is not only a good pontiff as pastor, he is also a good pontiff as church politician.

In canonizing two popes -- Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II -- who each represent the progressive and conservative wings, respectively, of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has...

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Jesus' Sex Life on the 'Down Low'

(122) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 8:28 PM

While many biblical scholars have ignored non-canonical texts like the gnostic and apocryphal gospels that suggested that Jesus had a wife, they are no longer ignoring the 2012 discovery of an ancient, faded fragment of papyrus that makes just such a suggestion. According to this month's New York Times article...

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America Cleans Up Its Homophobic Lexicon

(6) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 6:34 PM

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.

In last month's New York Times' article "The Decline of the 'H' Word," Jeremy Peters wrote...

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Katy Perry's Blasphemous Act of Free Speech

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 2:00 PM

"Dark Horse" Video Offends Some Muslims

For centuries now, free speech versus protecting religious sensibilities have been warring enemies. And both not only need protection from each other, but also need protection from censorship.

The ongoing debate between of what constitutes an artistic expression of free speech versus religious protection...

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Nigeria's Anti-LGBTQ Law

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 7:44 PM

When Nigeria's "yan daudu" population no longer walked freely and publicly in their communities, it was a clear and ominous sign to everyone of what was coming down the legislative pike: a new draconian anti-gay law.

For more than a century, the "yan daudu" (shorthand for "men who...

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Que(e)rying Michael Sam's Coming-Out Timing

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 5:28 PM

When NBA center Jason Collins came out last year, it was the moment that the professional sports world had been waiting for: a male athlete currently playing in a major sports league coming out publicly as gay. What many may not have known is that the professional sports world...

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Robin Roberts Loosens the Grip of Black Homophobia

(4) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 9:22 AM

While I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn't have a patent on homophobia, it does, however, have a problem with it.

Black homophobia still has a deadly hold on African American life. And while I would like to say its oppressive grip only impacts lesbian,...

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Mandela's LGBTQ Advocacy Has Fallen on Deaf Ears in Africa and African Diasporic Communities

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 5:18 PM

As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela -- who was oftentimes affectionately referred to by his Xhosa clan name "Madiba," or as "Tata" ("Father") -- I, too, like so many LGBTQ activists across the globe, give thanks for his unwavering support on behalf of our civil rights.

During...

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The LGBTQ Community's Response to Alec Baldwin's Anti-Gay Slurs: A Race-Based Double Standard?

(17) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 3:10 PM

Alec Baldwin has done it again: He's been caught on camera hurling anti-gay epithets in a cussing tirade against the vulturous paparazzi on his heels. This time Baldwin is accused of spewing out the slur "c*ksucking f*ggot."

Baldwin doesn't deny using the word "c*ksucking." Some argue that this particular admission...

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