Thursday, November 01, 2012

All Saints Day 2012: Queer and LGBT saints honored

“37 Santos” (37 Saints) by Tony De Carlo (

All Saints Day is celebrated today with the addition of 13 new profiles to the LGBTQ Saints page at

Jemima Wilkinson
The most popular new saint is a little-known historical figure: Jemima Wilkinson, a queer American Quaker preacher reborn in 1776 as “Publick Universal Friend.”

New saints on the list also include Biblical characters such as the gay centurion plus more recent writers, theologians and activists. Traditional Christian saints are joining the list too.  For example, Saint Valentine is presented as a role model for marriage equality. Two popular figures, Saint Francis of Assisi and Blessed John Henry Newman, received totally new profiles that explore their same-sex love relationships in depth.

LGBT Saints page
With these new saints, the LGBT Saints page grows to 55 profiles. They include 31 traditional Christian and 24 alternative figures. Along with official saints, there are martyrs, prophets, mystics, witnesses, holy people, deities and religious figures of special interest to LGBTQ people and our allies.

Queer and LGBT saints are important because people are searching for alternative ways to lead loving lives. Churches have tried to control people by burying queer history. The LGBTQ saints show us not only their place in history, but also our own place -- because we are all saints who are meant to embody love. We can tap into the energy of our ancestors in faith. For some they become friends, helpers and miracle-workers. I created the LGBT Saints page to give people an easy way to find the spiritual resources that they seek.

The 13 new profiles were all published over the past year in the LGBT Saints series by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry. The Saints page provides a user-friendly list of links to these resources at the Jesus in Love Blog. Almost every profile on the page has been updated and expanded this year.

The following new saints are welcomed to the LGBT Saints page today. Visit the page at


Jesus heals
a gay centurion's lover
Gay centurion: Jesus heals a soldier’s boyfriend in the Bible

Esther and Vashti: Biblical queens inspire LGBT writers

Ethiopian eunuch: A black gay man was the world’s first convert to Christianity

Christina Rossetti: Queer writer of Christmas carols and lesbian poetry

Jemima Wilkinson: Queer preacher reborn in 1776 as “Publick Universal Friend”

20th-21st century

Pauli Murray
Marcella Althaus-Reid: Queer theology pioneer

FannyAnn Eddy: Lesbian martyr in Africa

Peter Gomes: Gay black Harvard minister preached “scandalous gospel”

Pauli Murray: Episcopal church votes on queer saint / activist for civil rights and gender equality

Henri Nouwen: Priest and author who struggled with his homosexuality

Adrienne Rich: Lesbian feminist poet of the soul (1929-2012)

Traditional Christian

John Henry Newman
New additions:
Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos: Mystical same-sex marriage with Jesus

Saint Valentine: Marriage equality role model

Total rewrites:
Francis of Assisi’s queer side revealed by historical evidence

Cardinal Newman and Ambrose St. John: Gay saint and his “earthly light” share romantic friendship

This article is illustrated with “37 Santos” (37 Saints) by artist Tony De Carlo. He affirms the holiness of gay love with colorful, festive paintings of gay saints, Adam and Steve, same-sex marriage and more. For more info, see my interview with him.

Let us be inspired by the LGBT saints who surround us as a “great cloud of witnesses” and commit ourselves to our own queer paths toward sainthood.
Related links:

LGBT Saints list at

Why we need LGBT saints by Kittredge Cherry

A queer theology of sainthood emerges (99 Brattle blog of Episcopal Divinity School)

Feminism leads to a queer theology of sainthood (Feminism and Religion Blog)

Who are the "Queer Saints and Martyrs"? by Terence Weldon (Queering the Church)

LGBT-friendly memorial for All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead

Santos Queer (LGBT Saints by Kittredge Cherry in Spanish / en español) (innovative icons, including some LGBT saints)

Sanctity And Male Desire: A Gay Reading Of Saints by Donald Boisvert

Passionate Holiness: Marginalized Christian Devotions for Distinctive People by Dennis O’Neill

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts


Trudie said...

What a wonderful summary! This really does put it into perspective in an extremely valuable way!

Joseph said...

It's really wonderful and refreshing to know that I am constantly surrounded by a cloud of queer witnesses. The injustice of sanctioning sanctity for those who have been defined as subscribers of decency and heteronormativity is balanced out and mitigated by this new litany, which recognises the sacred in the unlikeliest, queerest, subversive places. Keep up the good work! Joseph

Kittredge Cherry said...

There’s so much talk these days about the Internet being a “cloud” where the info is stored online.
Trudie and Joseph, sometimes I feel that you and my other readers join over the Internet with each other and the departed saints to become a great cloud of queer witness who bring support and inspiration. Thank you!