LGBTQ+ and Faith-based Communities: On the Reconciliation of Sexuality and Spirituality
To commemorate Women’s History Month, SAGE highlights the inspiring work of Reverend Elder Darlene Garner and how faith intersects with her LGBTQ+ activism.
By Vera Lukacs
Darlene Garner is the first African-American woman to be elected on the Board of Elders at Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and a fierce LGBTQ+ advocate. She is a co-founder of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays (NCBLG), leads the biannual Conference for People of African Descent (PAD) and was President of the Board of Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. Along with two other LGBTQ+ couples, Reverend Elder Garner and her partner Candy Holmes were the first LGBTQ+ people to be married in Washington, D.C. in 2010 after marriage equality was recognized there.
Garner believes in the intersectionality of faith and LGBTQ+ issues, and MCC is a haven for spiritual LGBTQ+ folks. MCC is an inclusive sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community, the international denomination welcomes people of all gender identities, sexualities, and faith with open arms. In Elder Garner’s words,
“MCC’s pioneering work on the reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality and our theology on the sacredness of the human body are reflected throughout all of our justice efforts and serve to advance women’s issues globally. Whether the issue is women in leadership; a woman’s right to choose whether to give birth, retain custody, or adopt a child; a woman’s right to access to education, water, or health care; a woman’s right to choose whether, when, and who to marry; or a woman’s need for a safe place to be herself, MCC has taken a stand and the people of MCC around the world have been and continue to be actively involved.”
In this powerful speech, Rev. Elder Darlene touches on the intersectionality between the LGBTQ+ and the faith-based communities:
Elder Garner, SAGE thanks you for your extraordinary work in the LGBTQ+ and faith-based communities!