Important Figures: Past and Present

This portion of the display is dedicated to important figures, both historic and current. Learn more about these advocates, both lay and ordained, queer and allies, who have been and are working for the welcome and inclusion of LGBTQ folks in the Catholic Church. They are authors, journalists, spiritual directors, and speakers. All are trailblazers in their own right.


Sister Luisa Derouen
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sr. Luisa, a Dominican Sister of Peace, began quietly serving as a spiritual companion to transgender people in 1999, and she remains a mentor for other religious sisters in this ministry. When she began to publicly write about her ministry in 2014, she did so under the pseudonym ‘Sister Monica,’ but in 2018 was able to share her story freely under her own name.

Bishop John Stowe
Order of Friars Minor Conventual

Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington and outspoken advocate for LGBTQ young people among the US Bishops, often placing him at odds with statements from the USCCB. Notably, he endorsed the Equality Act and was a signatory of a letter of support for trans and non-binary Catholics.

Fr. James Martin
Society of Jesus

Fr. James Martin is a bestselling author of many books on spirituality, and his book urging greater respect, compassion, and sensitivity between the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ community, Building a Bridge, was published in 2017. He continues to speak to parishes and schools about how they can grow their ministry to greater include LGBTQ people.

Sr. Jeannine Gramick
Sister of Loretto

Sr. Jeannine is a cofounder of New Ways Ministry, author, and still vigorous LGBTQ advocate in the Catholic Church. Known for her defiance of a 1999 Vatican CDF letter prohibiting her from ministering to the community, Sr. Jeannine brings a steady and prophetic presence to her work.

Margie Winters

Margie Winters, M. Div., currently serves as the Service Learning Coordinator of The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA. After working in Catholic education for 18 years, teaching Theology and English, and serving as Campus Minister, Margie was terminated from her position because of her marriage to her partner, Andrea Vettori. Since that time, Andrea and Margie have been publicly advocating for LGBTQ inclusion in the Catholic Church. Margie and Andrea’s story was highlighted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) prior to the Papal visit to the United States in 2015. They were guests of the HRC at the White House welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis.

Michael J. O’Loughlin

Michael O’Loughlin is a gay Catholic journalist working at America Media who frequently writes about LGBTQ Catholics and other social issues. He is the host of the award-winning Plague podcast covering the intersection of the AIDS crisis and the Catholic Church in the United States, as well as investigating how others reconcile their gay and Catholic identities.

Marianne Duddy-Burke

A lifelong Catholic, Marianne is the first woman to serve as executive director of Dignity USA. A Weston Jesuit alum, Marianne and her wife, Becky, have become guiding figures of resilience and perseverance for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States and across the world.

Orlando Espín

A queer Catholic, Orlando Espin is among the most accomplished and well respected theologians in American Catholicism. A systematic and practical theologian, he co-founded the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS) in 1988. His notable publications include The Faith of the People: Theological Reflections on Popular Catholicism (1997) and Idol and Grace: On Traditioning and Subversive Hope (2014). In June 2016, Espin received the John Courtney Murray Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America. Orlando is married to his longtime partner.

Fr. Bryan Massingale

Fr. Bryan Massingale is the author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church and current professor of Christian Ethics at Fordham University. He speaks and writes on the integration of his Black and gay identities and the obligation of the Church to respond to the urgent needs of both communities. Massingale has worked with New Ways Ministry to direct retreats for gay priests.

Fr. William Hart McNichols

Fr. Bill McNichols, a gay priest and Weston Jesuit alum, ministered to AIDS victims in the epicenter of lower Manhattan during the height of the epidemic in the United States. He is also an artist who created such works as ‘The Passion of Matthew Shepard’ and ‘The Stations of the Cross of a Person With AIDS.’ When the Society of Jesus would no longer sanction his ministry, he left the Jesuits, but now serves as a diocesan priest in New Mexico.

John Boswell

John Boswell became the world’s foremost scholar of medieval sexual-religious history, rediscovering and sharing compelling evidence of
ancient Christian celebrations of queer love and relationships
. A true savant, Boswell knew 17 languages and employed them as he dusted off manuscripts in research for his signature books Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, and Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Boswell, a native Bostonian, Catholic convert, and Yale professor, died of AIDS in 1994.

Jacob and Patrick Flores

Jacob and Patrick Flores are a married couple and two of the team behind the affirming queer Catholic community Vine & Fig. The virtual space seeks to build community, elevate the lives of queer Catholics, and find beauty and power at the intersections of faith, gender, and sexuality.


Fr. Gregory Greiten

Fr. Gregory Greiten is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an act of vulnerability and trust, Fr. Greg came out to the parish he serves in 2017. Here he shares his witness and support for members of the queer community as an openly gay priest.

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