Rev. Irene Monroe


The Rev. Irene Monroe is an ordained minister, motivational speaker and she speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible.

Monroe does a weekly Monday segment, “All Revved Up!” on WGBH (89.7 FM), a Boston member station of National Public Radio (NPR), that is now  a podcast,   and a weekly Friday commentator  on New England Channel NEWS (NECN). She’s  a Huffington Post blogger and a syndicated religion columnist. Her columns appear in 23 cities across the country and in the U.K, Ireland, Canada.  And she writes a weekly column in the Boston home LGBTQ newspaper Baywindows, Cambridge Chronicle,  and Opinion pieces for the Boston Globe.

Monroe stated that her "columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to  inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”

Monroe is the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail.  https://www.detour.com/boston/black-women-abolitionists

The invitation to Monroe to speak at The United Nations International School at the UN stated: "Rev. Monroe, your active role in the fight against homophobia and your written activism for human rights has truly made an impact on this world, as well as your theories on religion and homosexuality in the U.S."

Monroe is a founder and now member emeritus of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). She is also one of the founders of Equal Partners of Faith, the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry (RCFM) and Christian Lesbians Out (CLOUT). 

Monroe sat on the advisory boards of several national LGBTQ organizations. Monroe served on the Religious Advisory Committee of HRC, NBJC and LGTF. Monroe was a board member of the Cambridge Family YMCA, and a Cambridge LGBTQ Commissioner.

Monroe was chosen in October 2009 by MSNBC as "10 Black women you should know." Monroe has been profiled in O, Oprah Magazine. She was also profiled in the Gay Pride Episode of ""In the Life" TV" where the segment on her was nominated for an educational Emmy. 

A native of Brooklyn, New York Monroe graduated from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church in New Jersey before coming to Harvard Divinity School to do her doctorate. She has received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching several times while being the head teaching fellow of the Rev. Peter Gomes, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard who is the author of the best seller, THE GOOD BOOK. She is in the film, "For the Bible Tells Me So," an exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community. Her coming out story is  profiled in "CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America" and in "Youth in Crisis." In 1997 Boston Magazine cited Monroe as one of Boston's 50 Most Intriguing Women. She was profiled twice in the Boston Globe, in the Living Arts and The Spiritual Life sections for her LGBT activism. 

As an activist Monroe has received numerous awards: in 2015 the Top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England Award by Boston Spirit Magazine and the Open Door Award for work with HIV/AIDS, Black Church and LGBTQ community. In 2013 the Cambridge Bayard Rustin Service Award and the James Hardy Legend Award from the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition. In 2012 GLAD’s Spirit of Justice Award and in 2011 theYWCA Outstanding Women Award. Monroe has also received the Cambridge Peace and Justice Award, the Boston Certificate of Recognition for continued leadership and dedication to Boston's Gay and Lesbian Community.  In 1998 Monroe was the first African American lesbian to be bestowed the honor of being grand marshal in the Boston Pride Celebration. Monroe has also received the Unitarian Universalist Feminist Theology Award for her project on an African American Queer community, a commendation from Cambridge Councilor Brain Murphy for receiving the Sistah Summit Gay Pride Spirituality Award

Her papers are at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College's research library on the history of women in America. 

(This biographical statement provided by Irene Monroe.)

Biography Date: August, 2002

Additional Resources

Archival Collections:


CLOUT (Christian Lesbians OUT) | Equal Partners in Faith | Black | Author/editor | Marriage Equality | Racism | Theology | Boston | Massachusetts | Monroe, Irene


“Rev. Irene Monroe | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 29, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/irene-monroe.


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