CLGS A Program of Pacific School of Religion Sun, 11 Aug 2019 18:42:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet LGBTQ-RAN’s Summer 2019 Interns! Sat, 03 Aug 2019 01:53:49 +0000 Melanie Goulish earned her MLS degree (with a specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts) from Indiana University – Bloomington. She is interested in participatory and post-custodial archives, theological librarianship, and digital humanities projects. Most recently, she created an online exhibition for The Marriage Equality Project at the Kinsey Institute, and she is currently processing a number of the Institute’s audiovisual collections for Indiana University’s Moving Image Archive, where she works as an assistant. This summer she is working with LGBTQ-RAN to create a more permanent display of items from our ~2017 Rolling the Stone Away Conference.

Sam Strain recently earned a Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science from Simmons University, where she served as Dean’s Fellow for Digital Media Outreach. She has also volunteered with the History Project of Boston’s LGBTQ Community Archive, where she served on the Events & Outreach Committee, established the organization’s Instagram presence, and curated historical LGBTQ+ content for social media. She is thrilled to join the LGBTQ-RAN team as a summer intern, focusing on creating a sustainable social media strategy and workflow for sharing LGBTQ-RAN content with the public.

Sincere Thanks to the Five Donors who have underwritten the cost of our Summer Intern Program!

Jewish and Queer Raised: A Retreat for the Next Generation Fri, 02 Aug 2019 20:35:56 +0000 The CLGS Jewish Roundtable is hosting the first-ever gathering for adults who were raised in Jewish and queer families and communities.  Over forty young adults ranging in age from eighteen to late thirties will attend the weekend retreat, 2-3 November 2019 on the Pacific School of Religion campus in Berkeley, California.

“I feel that having a single lesbian rabbi mother was very stable compared to so many of my friends with two straight parents and tons of drama,” says Raffi Greenberg, a union organizer in his twenties who has registered for the conference. “My mom was a wonderful role model in terms of Jewish values.  She would quote bits of Talmud to my siblings and me.  My favorite is: ‘It’s not on you to finish the task, but neither are you free to refrain from doing your bit.’”

The gathering will focus on the intersections between Jewish and queer-raised identities and address the ways in which both Jewish and queer values are transmitted inter-generationally.  The retreat will also look at the ways Jews and LGBTQ people create families and communities.

Participants will spend two days together engaged in singing, prayer, study, discussion and (of course) eating in order to form a second-generation community.

Presentation topics include:

  • Jewdar, Gaydar, and Other Mysteries of the Collective Unconscious
  • Finding my Minyan of Donor Siblings
  • Out of the Box and into the Street
  • Queer and Het, Not a Contradiction
  • Explaining my Six Parents on the First Date
  • Queerspawn Resources

Jewish and Queer Raised is committed to diversity and accessibility.  Jews of Color, Sephardi, and Mizrachi Jews are warmly welcomed.  Signing and childcare available with advance notice.  Generous travel and housing allowances are available for those with need.

This retreat is possible through a grant from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

For more information, contact Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman at

Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman [Coordinator, CLGS Jewish Roundtable]

Register here for the retreat!

Welcoming Our Seventh Annual Trans Seminarian Cohort Fri, 02 Aug 2019 12:28:16 +0000

The Trans Seminarian Cohort, a joint project of CLGS, the Freedom Center for Social Justice, and the National LGBTQ Task Force, enters its seventh year this fall!  Every year, five to six seminary students who identify as transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming are selected to journey together for one academic year.  In this program, students from a variety of seminaries are given the opportunity receive mentoring, participate in community-building, and take advantage of educational programming that helps to shape their present and future as trans-identified religious leaders, activists, and academics. Each year the number of applicants grows.

Many of the Cohort members come from schools where they are one of only a few – if not the only – trans or gender nonconforming students in their program.  Our Trans Cohort experience offers them unique opportunities to hone skills, make connections, and become empowered in their vocations as religious and spiritual leaders.

During the year, Cohort members participate in three face-to-face gatherings, regular phone and video calls with the Cohort faculty, and meetings with a variety of guest speakers.  Particular highlights for this year include an opening fall retreat in Tampa, Florida;  attendance at the Creating Change Conference in January, where the Cohort will lead a workshop; and taking part in the Trans Faith and Action Network Retreat in the North Carolina mountains in August.

Summertime is always bittersweet for the Cohort faculty: as we excitedly preparing for a new Cohort to begin, we must also say “goodbye” to the current Cohort in August.  As I reflect on the work of this program, I am especially grateful that each Cohort develops its own unique spirit (and sense of humor), which keeps things lively, for sure!

Thank you for your support of CLGS, which has been an ongoing sponsor of The Trans Seminarian Cohort from the beginning.  This is such a unique program that provides these seminarians – who often live on the margins – an opportunity to feel connected, valued, and deeply understood.  Please stay tuned: we will announce the 7th Trans Seminarian Cohort later this month!

Rev. Jakob Hero-Shaw

Coordinator, CLGS Transgender Roundtable

Faculty Member, The Trans Seminarian Cohort


August 2019

Trans Seminarian Cohort Now Accepting Applications Wed, 22 May 2019 18:52:31 +0000 We Are Now Accepting Applications for the 7th Annual Trans Seminarian Cohort!

The Trans Seminarian Cohort is a joint project of CLGS, The Freedom Center for Social Justice, and the National LGBTQ Task Force.

The Cohort is a year-long opportunity to join with transgender, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer seminary students for theological engagement, mentoring, networking, and activism. We are currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The application deadline is 5 July 2019.  Click here for more information and an application.

Summer Courses in LGBTQ Christian Studies Fri, 12 Apr 2019 17:34:24 +0000

To download a copy, please click here: Summer Session 2019 flyer

For more information please contact Keaton Andreas at, +1 (510) 849-8231

Gay Orthodox Rabbinical Student Refused Ordination Fri, 05 Apr 2019 21:42:39 +0000

Rav Jane Litman

By Jane Litman, Coordinator, Jewish Roundtable

Most people are not aware that even within Orthodox Judaism there are great differences in practice and outlook.  Twenty years ago, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) was founded in opposition to the more socially conservative Yeshivah College, as a haven for Modern (or Open) Orthodox future rabbis.  Since then, YCT has been pushing the boundaries of participation – though not yet ordination – for women; integration of social justice issues; and inclusion of diverse and minority Jews.

Last year, progressive Jews of all denominations were inspired by Rabbi Dov Linzer, now YCT’s president. He said, “’And let it be that we all may know your name and study your Torah.’ Let us make sure that everyone — rich or poor; Orthodox, Reform or unaffiliated; straight or gay; cis- or transgender; those with disabilities and those without; white, black, or brown — that every Jew knows that the Torah is for him or her, and that he or she has a place in our schools, synagogues and communities.”

Queer Jews in particular have been awaiting the ordination of Daniel Atwood, YCT’s first openly gay student.  It is deeply saddening and infuriating that this month, just three month’s short of ordination, YCT has told Daniel that it will not ordain him.  The stated reasons behind this refusal are confused and confusing.  It purports to be because Daniel recently got engaged, and somehow YCT (without telling Daniel) assumed that he would be celibate!

The response of the Jewish queer community has been somewhat mixed.  Some queer Jews are saying that Orthodoxy was never a possible choice, that being Orthodox and queer is a masochistic contradiction in terms, that LGBTQ Jews need to leave the Orthodox world.  However other queer Jews point out that this is price of progress:  this kind of thing happened in the Reform and Reconstructionist movements thirty years ago and in the Conservative movement fifteen years ago.  I lived through that struggle, and my heart goes out to Daniel.

I do not see this painful situation as an indictment of Orthodox Judaism, but rather as an institutional struggle in which some of the leaders at YCT got too far out ahead of key players and donors.  A change in leadership brought a discriminatory change in policy. This happens in all sorts of arenas to those of us who are barrier breakers.  I expect the fight for queer and women’s ordination to continue at YCT, in spite of this huge step backwards.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, the immediate past president of YCT made this public statement, “I’ve never been more disappointed in Modern Orthodoxy and its institutions. We are supposed to stand for an unfearing loyalty to halacha (Jewish Law), and it seems to me that there are so many who are acting out of fear and not who they really believe halachically can be a rabbi. We’re supposed to fear God alone, we’re not supposed to fear what other Jews are going to say about it. So it’s a real shameful moment. I hope that there will be dozens of Orthodox rabbis that step forward and say that we want to give this student semicha (ordination) and not dozens that are cowering behind closed doors.”

This month, April, Jews celebrate the holiday of Passover.  In the Passover liturgy we read that each person must understand themself as having personally left slavery for liberation. Daniel Atwood says, “I have always been fully committed to living my life according to Orthodox halacha. At the same time, I refuse to live anything but a dignified life, something I was always transparent about, including not being closeted or secret about my Torah, my identity, my beliefs, or my relationship.”  Let us – and all people of good will – honor Daniel for his Passover message.

Grieving with LGBTQ and Allied United Methodists Fri, 01 Mar 2019 19:09:47 +0000

Update: Please join us on Tuesday, April 23 at Pacific School of Religion as Rev. Israel Alvaran of Reconciling Ministries Network speaks on “Moving Forward: LGBTQ People in the United Methodist Church.” 

CLGS grieves with our United Methodist kin following the General Conference’s decision to strengthen its anti-LGBTQ stance this week. This action would continue to ban LGBTQ clergy from serving openly and deny all clergy the right to bless same-gender weddings.  It sadly restricts people of faith within the Methodist communion from following their God-given vocations, their own voices of conscience, and their commitment to a faith that welcomes all.

We recognize the deep pain that this action has caused LGBTQ people, our families, and allies. The Christian scriptures tell us, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy.” (I Corinthians 12:26) The injustice and exclusion experienced within the United Methodist church this week causes suffering to all of us and is contrary to Christian values. Our hearts are breaking as we read the testimonies of those who were present in St. Louis or following the conference from afar. To those who feel unseen, unheard, unloved, and invalidated by this action, we hear your cries of pain and are in solidarity with you. At the same time, we celebrate what a tremendous gift you are to the church and to the world. We affirm that you are deeply beloved by God and by your community. We honor your commitment to your church and your religious heritage.

At CLGS a significant part of our work is the preservation and celebration of LGBTQ religious history. Our archives bear testimony to the staggering human toll that these “debates” on issues of sexuality have taken over the years within Protestant denominations. So many have been hurt by churches that ignore the realities of human sexuality and gender. Fortunately, many religious traditions now embrace LGBTQ persons and our families, and we had hoped that the United Methodist Church would join with other communities of faith in welcoming and affirming all that LGBTQ people and our families bring to the world. That day has not yet come but we have faith that it will.

CLGS is deeply committed to our mission to promote public discourse on faith and LGBTQ issues. This week’s actions clearly reveal the ongoing need to educate our communities and strive for more informed and compassionate discourse on sexuality and gender. Let us continue to work together to build God’s beloved community in which people of all sexual orientations and gender identities gather in faith, affirmation, love, and hope.

Dr. K. Mohrman Receives LGBTQ Religious History Award Tue, 26 Feb 2019 20:33:45 +0000 photograph of K Mohrman

K Mohrman

The LGBTQ Religious Archives Network (LGBTQ-RAN) honors Dr. K. Mohrman with the 2018-19 LGBTQ Religious History Award. The review jury selected Dr. Mohrman’s “Becoming White: Theologizing Heteronormativity in Mormonism, 1890-1945” from among eight papers submitted for the award this year.

Dr. K. Mohrman is currently an instructor at the University of Colorado Denver where she teaches courses in Ethnic Studies, English, and Interdisciplinary Studies as well as History and Religious Studies. She was the 2017-2018 Postdoctoral Fellow in Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia and was the recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Steven J. Schochet Endowment’s 2016-2017 Interdisciplinary Dissertation Fellowship in Queer, Trans, and Sexuality Studies. She received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota in American Studies with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies, her master’s degree from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought, and her bachelor’s degree in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. Her areas of specialty include critical gender and sexuality studies; feminist and queer theory; critical race theory; American and critical Mormon studies; US history; and popular and visual culture.

Mohrman’s award-winner paper is part of her book project, Exceptionally Queer: Mormon Peculiarity and US Exceptionalism, which argues that contestations over Mormonism in popular and political culture have played a central role in shaping national identity and ideology, particularly through the production of sexual normativity and racial hierarchy. More specifically, the project highlights how Mormonism has been used as a foil against which “Americanness” has been defined as white, heteronormative, capitalist, and Protestant thereby justifying and facilitating many of the exclusionary and imperialist policies and practices of the US nation-state. The “Becoming White: Theologizing Heteronormativity in Mormonism, 1890-1945” paper is the basis for her book’s fourth chapter, “Mormonism in Transition: Biopolitics and the Resignification of Mormon Peculiarity, 1890-1945.” Original research for this paper drew on both official and unofficial publications of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including Woman’s Exponent, Young Woman’s Journal, Improvement Era, and The Contributor and was first conducted for her dissertation.

Mohrman is the tenth recipient of the LGBTQ Religious History Award that was initiated by the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network in 2005. It is the only award given for outstanding scholarship in this field of study. Jury members Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown, Dr. Heather Rachelle White and Dr. Bernard Schlager described Mohrman’s work as offering a “detailed, nuanced analysis of a self-defined religious group–the LDS church–with attention to how dominant discourses about religion as a cultural category inflected the church’s changing social and political status. The author also insightfully analyzes interlocking dynamics of race and racialization with normative sexuality and religious/moral authority. The author uses sources well and constructs a very convincing argument of how Mormonism gained entry into the American religious mainstream in an entwined process of becoming racially white and sexually normal. This process, in short, is the invention of Mormon heteronormativity, a process that secured both religious toleration and white racial status.”

Submissions for next year’s LGBTQ Religious History Award must be postmarked or received electronically by December 1, 2019. Complete information on submission guidelines for the award can be found at:

The LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, a project of the Center for LGBTQ & Gender Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion, is a ground-breaking venture to preserve the history of LGBTQ religious movements around the world. It has two primary purposes: a) to assist LGBTQ religious groups and leaders in preserving their records in appropriate repositories; and b) providing an electronic information clearinghouse on LGBTQ religious collections and other historical source materials on its web site: https://lgbtqreligiousarchive

LGBTQ Pastoral Care Book Updated Tue, 26 Feb 2019 19:23:45 +0000 book coverA second edition of the LGBTQ pastoral care resource, Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk, by Bernard Schlager and David Kundtz is back in print.

Bernie Schlager, executive director of CLGS, comments, “My contributions to this co-authored book – both the first and now the second editions –  reflect my work of almost 20 years at PSR’s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS).  More specifically, what I have written in this practical handbook for pastoral care is based on my own ministry with the Center’s Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations and also comes from my work as Director of the CLGS OutFront Workshops, a 2-year project that brought weekend trainings on LGBTQ pastoral care to congregations and college campuses across the country.

In this book my co-author David Kundtz and I write from the conviction that there is still very much an urgent need for compassionate and reality-based pastoral care for the many LGBTQ people who strive to embrace their gender identity, their sexual orientation, and their commitment to a spiritual life in a faith community—all in equal measure. No longer content to hide in the shadows of church or synagogue life, we queer people of faith are standing up in increasing numbers and claiming our rightful place as children of God who are called to full membership in our communities of faith.

This book is very much the product of what I have learned as a faculty member at PSR and as a staff member of CLGS.  It has been a privilege for me to be a co-author of this revised and updated second edition!”

Moving Forward with Fairness and Equality–An Update on the Work of CLGS’s African-American Roundtable Fri, 08 Feb 2019 23:12:08 +0000

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow

By Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Coordinator of the African-American Roundtable

After severe weather, the intensifying of Muller’s investigation and the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history (no telling when the next one could be coming), 2019 has started off with a bang! It is hard to catch one’s breath with all the news stories that has us questioning whether the nation is moving backwards with fairness and equality.

CLGS’s African-American Roundtable (AART) continues to move forward in its work for justice in Michigan and nationally. On January 7, faith leaders in Michigan praised the newly elected Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer for issuing an executive directive which aims to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people. Whitmer’s executive order provides nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ Michiganders who serve as state employees, state contractors or provide public services to the state of Michigan.

In its national partnership with Freedom For All Americans, AART is scheduling meetings with religious leaders and federal policymakers about the harms caused by discrimination and the need for a federal response to anti-LGBTQ discrimination. We are supporting members of Congress in their effort to call attention to this important issue, like Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th District, in a public forum scheduled for later this month. You can participate this national sign-on campaign that is gaining momentum by clicking here.

Using the Umoja and Liberating Religious Liberty curriculums, AART will ensure that each religious leader who meets with a representative from the US Congress can concisely speak to the importance of nondiscrimination protections and the reasons why onerous religious freedom exemptions are unnecessary. As religious leaders, we are all called to work toward unity and peace in our communities, which includes protecting LGBTQ people from the scourge of discrimination. This is the vision for fairness and equality we have for this year and beyond as we are encouraged by the work of dedicated people both near and far.