“I am always at that intersection of faith, education, and justice.”
Rev. Jia Starr Brown knows who she is, what she loves, and what she needs to share with the world. She is captivating and intentional with her messages, and when she speaks, those around her believe what she is sharing. But, when it comes to her own life this wasn’t always the case.
OutFront sat down with Rev. Starr Brown as she retold her own experience coming to terms with loving another woman, coming out to her congregation, what she lost, and what she ultimately gained within the Christian church.
Stories like Rev. Starr Brown’s are not uncommon for queer people. Many LBGTQ+ adults see major religious institutions as unfriendly toward them. About three-in-ten LGBTQ+ adults (29%) say they personally have been made to feel unwelcome in a church or religious organization.
Many Christian denominations are at a reckoning moment in their welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ+ people. The United Church or Christ was the first Christian denomination to ordain an openly queer person in 1972. Today, the question of ordination of LGBTQIA2S+ clergy is splitting denominations and driving people out of the pews. Many faithful people are calling for radical transformation of the church to see that the Christian doctrine of the “image of God” also includes queer people.
Rev. Jia Starr Brown’s story tells us that queer people are everywhere and belong everywhere- even in the pulpits of our churches.
“We all need to come together and value each other,” Rev. Starr Brown said. “I’m pushing for those things, because that is the world I want my children to grow up in.
If you are a queer person searching for a welcoming and affirming congregation, OutFront’s community page features a vetted list to help you on your journey.