Reverend Troy Perry deserves and is owed credit for establishing inclusive Christianity dedicated to LGBTQ rights. In October 1968, he founded the Metropolitan Community Church. The “MCC,” without question, is the most important LGBTQ church both historically and presently. Its impact was immediate. After six weeks, the church moved out of Reverend Troy Perry’s living room into a theater that housed 600 people, and, by 1971, the MCC bought its own church with room for over 1,000 people. Now, the MCC has over 400,000 members and 222 member congregations in 37 countries in every continent but Antarctica.
Reverend Troy Perry was raised in Florida and grew up a Southern Baptist. He experienced the radicalization of Christian fundamentalists in his young life. When he was 13 years old, he was pushed into a snake-handling, Christian religion during an altar call. In 2019, when he reflected on the experience, he said, “I thought, if I've got to pick up a snake to go to Heaven, I'm going to bust Hell wide open because I am not going to handle snakes.” While he was ordained a minister at 15 years old, he knew once he left his home that he was onto something greater, something that would forever change Christianity.
Reverend Troy Perry was also an early celebrator of lesbian and gay marriages. The first one he officiated was in 1969. In 1970, he filed a lawsuit seeking legal validity for his illegal marriages. That wasn’t the only lawsuit. The last was in 2003 when he married his longtime partner, Phillip, in Canada and returned to Los Angeles. He sued the state of California and won. The fruits of civil rights are inseparable from its trunk and roots.
Episode Two of the QueerCore Podcast is the story of a holy man who overcame his persecution to create the spiritual change Christianity had lacked since its advent 2,000 years prior. Episode Two confirms that you can be a Christian and a gay activist.
READ THE PODCAST INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT AT THE LGBTQ HISTORY PROJECT