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Irene Monroe
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

Entries by Irene Monroe

Obama's Send-Off at Last White House Correspondents' Dinner Ends with the N-Word

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 11:26 AM

What was expected to be a friendly and light-hearted skewering of political and media elites at the White House correspondents' dinner by Larry Wilmore, comedian and host of Comedy Central's The Nightly Show, turned into a night of off-color remarks, edgy jabs where you heard moans and groans.


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A feminist takeover remembered

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 4:01 PM

Most days when the weather permits my morning constitutional is a two mile walking loop around the Charles River. From my house I walk south toward Memorial Drive via Western Avenue. At the intersection of Western Avenue and Memorial Drive I turn right in the direction toward Harvard Square. Exactly...

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Beyoncé Does Justice to New Orleans's Rich Queer Culture

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 11:42 AM

"Formation" celebrates identities that once sparked shame but now inspire pride.

Beyoncé's new song "Formation" released over the weekend and performed at Super Bowl 50, is a masterpiece of black protest art and social commentary.

Using footage from the 2013 New Orleans documentary That...

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The Love That Now Can Speak Its Name

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 11:10 AM

Valentine's Day is for lovers -- including LGBTQ Americans.

Until last June's historic Supreme Court ruling -- Obergefell v. Hodge -- that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, "the love that dare not speak its name," which publicly outed Oscar Wilde at his gross indecency trial (

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Why Homophobic Harlem Church Building Should Become LGBT Homeless Youth Shelter

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2016 | 5:04 PM

In the past several years, Harlem's empty lots and burned-out buildings have sprung up luxury condos, upscale restaurants, boutique shops, hotels, B&Bs and unimaginable improved services in an area the city had long forgotten.

And the resentment of this shift has targeted both Harlem's recent and life-long LGBTQ communities....

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Bathroom Laws Policing Our Genitals

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 3:08 PM

Conservatives have always been a demographic group obsessed with policing this nation's genitals.

They feel comfortable with ordinances that mandate, what they do, how we use them, what body orifices they enter, and -- now with transgender bathroom bills up for debate across the country -- where we take them...

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Where Would MLK Have Stood on Marriage Equality?

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 2:10 PM

This MLK holiday reminds me how Alabama has always been a troubling state when it comes to upholding the civil rights of its denizens.

Martin Luther King's civil rights activism began in the unwelcoming Heart of Dixie in 1955 when on a cold December evening Rosa Parks...

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On World AIDS Day report on black community still grim

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 10:46 AM

Dec. 1 was World AIDS Day!

And international theme for 2015 is "Getting to zero; end Aids by 2030." The national theme for this year is "The time to act is now."

In 2012, the United Nations stated that it's possible to eradicate the disease by 2015 --...

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The Refugees Who Came for Thanksgiving

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 8:45 AM

As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded of the autumnal harvest time's spiritual significance. As a time of connectedness, I pause to acknowledge what I have to be thankful for. But I also reflect on the holiday as a time of remembrance - present and historical.


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Where's Log Cabin Republican Activism This Campaign Season?

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 2:40 PM

With four GOP debates now aired where all the presidential hopefuls are clearly either conservative or ultra-conservative on social issues, one has to wonder -- where are the Log Cabin Republicans in pushing forth LGBTQ concerns this campaign season?

While I am not a Republican, and I don't expect...

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What Should White LGBTQ Organizations Do Post-Marriage Equality?

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 4:30 PM

With this June's historic Supreme Court ruling -- Obergefell v. Hodge -- that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states many white LGBTQ organizations nationwide have been questioning what to do next.

Last month the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Gender & Sexuality Caucus picked up the gauntlet...

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Hurricane Katrina's Struggling Black Gay Community

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 11:06 AM

It has been over a decade now since Hurricane Katrina barreled through New Orleans (NO). Today, much of the Big Easy has gotten its groove back. But the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, the largest of seventeen wards of New Orleans--and predominately African American--has not. The demographic group...

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The Atticus We Don't Want to Know

(3) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 11:56 AM

The literary world rejoiced when news disclosed that reclusive author Harper Lee was soon to release her second book Go Set A Watchman, after 55 years since the 1960 publication of To Kill A Mockingbird.

As one of the most lauded novels in American history--and arguably as...

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The Welcome Challenges of Marriage Equality

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 5:58 PM

For some time now, my spouse and I have been bickering over where we should live in our retirement years. She, being a child from the South, and me, being from the North, well, we have our tensions. I have jokingly dubbed them our "Mason-Dixon line feud." We are...

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The Transparency of a "Incog-Negro"

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 12:04 PM

In trying to make sense of Rachel Dolezal, the self-identified "black" woman of two white parents, and the thought-provoking queries now raised about transracialsim and transethnicity Boston Globe cartoonist Dan Wasserman provided me with an answer:

"How does a confused Caucasian woman come to define the...

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Is Caitlyn Jenner the Right Poster Girl for Trans Equality?

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 5:02 PM

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, has once again captured the world's attention. And this time not as America's beloved 1976 Olympic gold medal decathlete or patriarch in the TV reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

This time Jenner captures the world's eye, applauses and...

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Astraea Honoring Boston's Heroines

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 1:02 PM

J. Bob Alotta (center) with Honorees Daunasia Yancey (left) and Elyse Cherry (right). Photo courtesy of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

The evening of May 12th at the South End's wildly popular Bohemian hip spot "The Beehive" was a night to remember.

"It was...

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Discrimination in the Name of Religious Freedom

(4) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 10:48 AM

A movement is afoot in state legislatures across the country to disenfranchise LGBTQ Americans.

There are a surprisingly high number of bills being introduced in state legislative sessions which outrightly sanction and enforce LGBTQ discrimination. These bills are called "Religious Freedom Restoration Acts" (RFRA), but don't be fooled. These...

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Boston's Forgotten Role in the Women's Movement

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 5:57 PM

March is Women's History Month and Mary Dore's documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry helps us celebrate, remember and cheer one of our most vilified sheroes of the last century -- the women's movement.

Zooming in on the years 1966 to 1971, Dore excavated the archival images of...

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Historic Black LGBTQ Intergenerational Discussion on Selma

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 9:15 AM

If Bayard Rustin were alive today he certainly would have been proud on Monday as the LGBTQ communities held discussions on the film Selma.

Flashback Sunday, a social group for LGBTQ Elders of Color and their friends, and the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition convened "an honest and open dialogue"...

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