Avery Belyeu, a lover of beloved community and brave spaces, is a trans-femme and queer educator, activist, and student pastor and theologian. A native of St. Augustine, Florida she was born and raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She gave her first public sermon at 8 years old, was appointed as a Ministerial Servant at 18, and began giving Sunday sermons in her congregation and as a traveling preacher soon thereafter. After coming out as queer at age 23. Avery was removed from her appointed church positions, rejected by her church community and disowned by her family.
After some time struggling with how to reconcile her identity and her faith, Avery found her way to an Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina where she was attending graduate school. During her time there she was baptized and confirmed into the Episcopal Church, USA.
From 2011-2014 Avery worked at the New York City office of The Trevor Project where she held several different positions including serving as the Education Director. She continues to work in suicide prevention for a federally funded agency and works at the intersections of suicide prevention, faith, and LGBTQIA identities. In addition she serves on the Advisory Board for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center, and the Advisory Board of Trans Lifeline, a suicide prevention lifeline serving the United States and Canada.
She speaks across the United States on the topics of hope, belonging, and resilience with the specific goal of acknowledging and celebrating the resilience and courage of LGBTQ survivors of religious trauma and family and community rejection.
In 2015, Avery moved from Boston to Fort Worth to begin studying at Brite Divinity School where she currently is a Haggard Legacy Fellow and 3rd year Master in Divinity Student. In 2016, Avery was selected as one of 25 Millennial Leaders by Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Her writing and research focus on queer and transgender theologies with a special interest in developing pastoral care approaches to polyamorous people of faith. Starting this fall she will serve as a student pastor at the New Church, United Church of Christ (UCC) in Dallas Texas.
Avery lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her partner Nathaniel, and their two mischievous cats Lilo and Percy.
(This biographical statement provided by Avery Belyeu.)
Episcopal Church | United Church of Christ/Congregational Church | Conversion Therapy | Queer/non-conforming | Theology | Transgender activism