Wednesday, 27 July 2011

July 27th: Troy Perry, MCC Founder

b. July 27, 1940

"God did not create gays and lesbians so He could have something to hate."

Troy Perry is the founder of the United Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), a Protestant denomination ministering to the gay community. UFMCC reflects Perry’s commitment to provide a safe space for gays and lesbians to celebrate their faith.

Perry was born in Tallahassee, Florida. He was drawn to the church at an early age and delivered his first sermon when he was 13. At the age of 15, he was licensed as a Baptist minister. In 1959, Perry married a woman and had two sons. The couple separated in 1964 and later divorced.

Perry overcame hardships on his journey to becoming the founder of the UFMCC. He was stripped of a religious position because of his homosexuality, became estranged from his two sons and attempted suicide. He lost hope that he could reconcile his homosexuality with his faith. The seemingly homophobic arrest of a friend convinced Perry to start a church providing spiritual support to the gay community.

In October 1968, Perry launched UFMCC with a service for 12 people in his living room. UFMCC has grown to include more than 40,000 members with churches around the world. In 1969, he performed the first same-sex wedding. In the next year, he filed the first lawsuit seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Perry and his partner, Philip Ray DeBlieck, have been together since 1985. In 2003, they married at a UFMCC church in Toronto, Canada. The newlyweds sued the state of California for legal recognition of their marriage. They were among the plaintiffs in the May 2008 California Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

Perry has been awarded honorary doctorates from Episcopal Divinity School, Samaritan College and Sierra University. He received Humanitarian Awards from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Gay Press Association.


Rapp, Linda.  “Perry, Troy.” GLBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Culture. August 17, 2005

Rev. Troy Perry.” The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archives Network. March 1, 2004

“Rev. Troy D. Perry Biography.” June 9, 2008


The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay: The Autobiography of the Reverend Troy D. Perry

Don't Be Afraid Anymore: The Story of Reverend Troy Perry and the Metropolitan Community Churches

Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage (Stonewall Inn Editions)

10 Spiritual Truths for Gays and Lesbians* (*and everyone else!) (2003)

Other Resources

Call Me Troy (2007)

Metropolitan Community Churches


Official Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry Website

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

July 26: Mel White, Minister of Religion

b. July 26, 1940

"I'm perfectly happy going on TV now and saying I'm a gay man. I'm happy and proud to say that."
Mel White is an ordained minister who left his career as an adviser to prominent Christian evangelists when he came out during the mid 1990’s. White has dedicated his life to gaining acceptance for GLBT Christians.
In 1962, White graduated from Warner Pacific College. He received a master's degree in communications from the University of Portland and a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he was also a professor.
Early in his career, White served as a speechwriter for evangelical leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He married a woman with whom he had one son. When he realized he was attracted to men, he tried to “cure” his homosexuality with therapy and exorcism.  Acknowledging that nothing could alter his sexual orientation, White attempted suicide.
White ultimately accepted his sexuality and amicably divorced his wife. In 1993, he publicly acknowledged that he was gay when he was named dean of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope of the Universal Fellowship at Metropolitan Community Churches. Two years later, he published “Stranger at the Gate,” a book that chronicles his struggles as a gay Christian.
In the early 1990’s, White shifted his focus to GLBT advocacy, both within and outside of the church. In 1996, White led a two-week fast on the steps of Congress as the Senate considered and ultimately passed the Defense of Marriage Act. He moved the fast to the White House, where he was arrested. "How can we stand by in silent acceptance while the president and the Congress sacrifice lesbian and gay Americans for some ‘greater political good’?” he asked.
In 1998, White and his partner of more than 25 years, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, an organization whose mission is to "seek freedom from religious and political oppression" for GLBT people. Its name comes from "satyagraha," a term meaning "soul force" used by Gandhi in to describe his civil rights struggle.
White is the author of nearly 20 books, including "Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right" (2009). His story is featured in "Friends of God" (2007), a documentary film about evangelical Christians.
In 2008, White and Nixon were legally married in California. In 2009, White and his son, Mike, were a team on the 14th season of "The Amazing Race."

Alston, Joshua. "The Amazing Race's Mike and Mel White." Newsweek. 7 Feb. 2009.
Avery, Dan. "Grace Under Pressure." Advocate. 10 Feb. 2009.
McDowell, Wendy. "White makes case for gay marriage." Harvard Gazette. 22 Apr. 2004.
"Mel's Bio." Mel White. 28 May 2010.
Parsons, Dana. "Mel's Miracle: a Falwell Who Tolerates Gays." The Los Angeles Times. 10 Nov. 1999.
Schwartz, Deb. "The Odd Couple." Oct. 1999.

Books by Mel White
Lust: The Other Side of Love (1978)
Deceived (1979)
Tested by Fire (1979)
Margaret of Molokai (1981)
Mike Douglas: When the Going Gets Tough (1983)
Aquino (1989)
Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America (1995)
Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right (2006)

The Amazing Race

Films by Mel White
He Restoreth My Soul

Videos of Mel White
The Gift of Homosexuality – Mel White
Mel White Interview on “Anderson Cooper 360”

Mel White Official Website
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Monday, 25 July 2011

July 25: Nancy Mahon, Philanthropy Advocate

In public health, sometimes the farthest distance is the one that is most important to travel.
b. July 25, 1964

After graduating magna cum laude from Yale University in 1986, Nancy Mahon attended New York University's School of Law, where she served as editor of the Law Review. She developed an interest in criminal law and became a leading criminal justice expert.

Friday, 22 July 2011

July 22: Rufus Wainwright, Singer/Songwriter

b. July 22, 1973
"It’s important for famous people to be an example for gay teens."

Known for his unique style and daring artistic endeavors, Rufus Wainwright is one of the most accomplished singer/songwriters of his generation. He has produced six albums and is the recipient of two Juno Awards and five GLAAD Media Awards.
Wainwright’s musical talent was shaped by his folksinger parents, Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. He was born in Rhinebeck, New York, and holds dual United States and Canadian citizenship. After his parents divorced, he spent most of his youth with his mother in Montreal.
At age 14, Wainwright broke into the entertainment world with a song he composed and sang in the film "Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller," earning him a Juno Award nomination for "Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year." That same year, he was sexually assaulted by a man he met at a bar. Deeply disturbed by the attack, he remained celibate for seven years.
In 1998, following the release of his first album, Wainwright was named "Best New Artist" by Rolling Stone. He composes music for theater, dance and opera, and has contributed to numerous film soundtracks, including "Moulin Rouge" and "Brokeback Mountain." Additionally, he has acted in "The Aviator" and "Heights," among other films.
As a collaborator, Wainwright has worked on albums with music greats Rosanne Cash and Elton John. John hailed him as "the greatest songwriter on the planet." His first opera, "Prima Donna," premiered in 2009 at the Manchester International Festival and was the subject of a documentary film that premiered on Bravo! in 2010.
Despite fame and success, Wainwright struggled with crystal meth addiction, a habit he eventually recovered from in 2002. With two decades of performing under his belt, Wainwright assures his fans that he won’t be retiring any time soon: “I am a self-sustaining, vibrant, long-term artist, and I’m not going away!” 

"About Rufus Wainwright.” The Official Community of Rufus Wainwright. 20 May 2010.
"Kitty Empire talks to Rufus Wainwright." The Guardian. 21 May 2010.
Brown, Lane. "The Inquisition: Rufus Wainwright.” Spin Magazine Online. 19 May 2010.
Ganz, Caryn. "Rufus Wainwright.” Interview Magazine. 19 May 2010.
"Rufus Wainwright Biography.” 19 May 2010.
"Rufus Wainwright Biography.” 19 May 2010.

Music by Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright Albums
“Moulin Rouge” Soundtrack
“Brokeback Mountain” Soundtrack

Video of Rufus Wainwright
All I Want: A Portrait of Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright on MySpace
Rufus Wainwright: NPR

Rufus Wainwright’s Social Network
Rufus Wainwright’s Facebook Fan Page
Rufus Wainwright’s Twitter Page 
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Sunday, 10 July 2011

David Hockney (1937 - ), British. Artist

b. 9th July, 1937
"David Hockney, who immigrated permanently to America in 1963, painted lyrical portraits of gay couples and individuals. Both in depictions of incidents from everyday life (such as Domestic Scene, Los Angeles, 1963), in portraits of friends such as Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, and in commissioned portraits (such as The Conversation, showing Henry Geldzahler and Raymond Foy, 1980), Hockney subtly revealed the intimacies and complexities of committed relationships. In these works, the (homo)sexuality of the subjects is evident, but it is not emphasized."

The Conversation – Jasmine Gauthier
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy

Domestic Scene, Los Angeles, 1963

Peter Getting Out Of Nick's Pool

Saturday, 9 July 2011

9 July: David Hockney, Painter

b. July 9, 1937

It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work.

Initially famous for popularizing British pop art in the 1960s, David Hockney grew more influential as he showcased exceptional artistic flexibility. From oil paintings to lithography, photomontage to computer sketch, Hockney demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt his creative talents to various media. The Hockney exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery in London from October 2006 to January 2007 was one of the Gallery's most successful exhibitions.