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Irene Monroe  

Writer, Theologian & LGBT Activist

The Reverend Monroe is an ordained minister, religion columnist, public theologian, and motivational speaker. As an African American feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible.

Rev. Monroe is the former coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at the Pacific School of Religion, a Huffington Post blogger and a syndicated religion columnist. A native of Brooklyn, Monroe is a graduate of 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 a Ford Fellow. As a syndicated queer religion columnist, Monroe’s columns appear in 43 states across the country and in the UK and Canada. She writes a weekly column in the Boston home LGBTQ newspaper Baywindows.

One of Rev. Monroe's outreach ministries to the public is the several queer religion columns she writes. As a nationally renowned African American lesbian activist, scholar, and public theologian, her writings have appeared in the Huffington Post, 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.

Monroe sat on the advisory boards of several national LGBTQ organizations. As an activist, Monroe has received numerous awards: In 2013 the Cambridge Bayard Rustin Service Award and the James Hardy Legend Award from the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition; in 2012 GLAD's Spirit of Justice Award, and in 2011 the YWCA Outstanding Women Award. Monroe has received the Cambridge Peace and Justice Award, the Boston Certificate of Recognition for continued leadership and dedication to Boston's Gay and Lesbian Community and in 1998 Monroe was the first African American lesbian to be bestowed the honor of being grand marshal in the Boston Pride Celebration.

Due to the esteem she has gained in her field, The United Nations International School at the UN wrote when inviting her to speak at their event, "Rev. Monroe, your active role in the fight against homophobia and your written activism for human rights has truly made an impact on this world, as well as your theories on religion and homosexuality in the U.S."

Rev. Monroe is available to speak and give trainings on a variety of topics, including: diversity training; anti-racism workshops; African American issues; alliance building; moral leadership in the 21st century; the ethical and legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage; the connection between spirituality, sexuality, racism, sexism, and homophobia; racism; spirituality; spirituality and women; theology and social justice; and the LGBT community.

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Speech Topics


The Conceptual Trap of Whiteness

Making the Connection: The Role Religion Plays in Discrimination

Justice Begins in the Bedroom

Debunking the Notion of a Hierarchy of Oppression

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