The Rev. Elder Dr. Troy D. Perry founded Metropolitan Community Churches with 12 people in his living room in Los Angeles on October 6, 1968. Since that time, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) grew under his leadership to to 44,000+ people in over 300 congregations in 21 countries around the world. He has guided MCC's growth into one of the world's largest LGBT organizations.
Troy and his mother It has not always been an easy journey. In his autobiography, The Lord is My Shepherd and Knows I’m Gay, Rev. Perry recalls realizing his vocation in Florida at the age of 13 and being licensed as a Baptist minister two years later. Rev. Perry describes in frank, sometimes heartbreaking detail, the discovery and disclosure of his sexual orientation, divorce, estrangement from his wife and children, loss of his license as a minister, a failed suicide attempt and the "rediscovery" of his vocation and ministry, leading to the founding of UFMCC. The 2007 documentary film titled Call Me Troy is the story of his life and legacy, including the founding of MCC and his struggles as a civil rights leader in the gay community.
Rev. Perry’s ministry and activism have taken many turns, including positions on a number of boards of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations. His theology has been described as conservative, but social action was a high priority from the beginning of the establishment of the denomination. He always preached Christian salvation, Christian community, and Christian social action.
Troy Co-Founder of Christopher Street West
On June 28, 1970, Troy, with two friends, Mr. Morris Kight and Rev. Bob Humphries, founded Christopher Street West to hold an annual Pride Parade. It is the oldest gay pride parade in the world.
Rev. Elder Troy Perry - Prophet and PriestIn 1984, Rev. Perry completed a one-hour video on the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, titled "God Gays & The Gospel: This Is Our Story" which is available for broadcast on local public access stations.
Virtually every major magazine and newspaper in the world has covered the story of the founding and successful ministry of this unique Fellowship. Rev. Perry and Lay and Clergy Leaders of UFMCC have spoken on issues of gay/lesbian spirituality and the g/l/b/t civil rights movement on numerous local television/radio shows. At a national level UFMCC has been represented on virtually every major network news program, including 60 Minutes, Nightline, PBS presentations, Dateline, and many others in the USA, and in a wide range of world media as well: the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, and CNBC.
In 1978, The UFMCC founder was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter with its Humanitarian Award. He holds honorary doctorates from Episcopal Divinity School in Boston, Samaritan College (Los Angeles), and Sierra University in Santa Monica, California. He was recently lauded by the Gay Press Association with its Humanitarian Award for his work in civil rights.
Troy Perry at Union and 2ndRev. Perry has been invited to the White House on five occasions:
- in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to discuss the whole spectrum of g/l/b/t rights;
- in 1993 by President Bill Clinton as a participant in the first White House Conference on AIDS;
- in 1997 invited by President Clinton as a participant in the White House Conference on Hate Crimes;
- in 1997 again as a guest of President Clinton as an "honoree" at a White House breakfast with the President honoring 100 national spiritual leaders in the USA.
- in 2009, along with his partner Phillip, by President Barack Obama on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.
Rev. Perry, along with Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, led the movement for MCC’s membership in the National Council of churches starting in September, 1981. The UFMCC was given Official Observer status to the 7th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which was held in Canberra, Australia, in February, 1991.
Troy Perry Preaching at the Mother ChurchOn Valentine's Day 2004 he spoke to a crowd of gay newlyweds at the Marriage Equality Rally at the California State Capitol. He retired as Moderator of the MCC in 2005, and the Reverend Elder Nancy Wilson succeeded him at an installation service on 29 October 2005.
In March 2017, Rev. Perry became the first American citizen honored with Cuba's CENESEX award at the 10th Cuban Gala Against Homophobia and Transphobia. He was given the award for his long history of working for human rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community worldwide.
In June 2019, Rev. Perry was named to the Stonewall 50 Wall of Honor made up of 18 community leaders.
Perry was a featured speaker at all of the LGBT Marches in Washington: 1979, 1987, 1993, 2000 and 2009. He conducted "The Wedding"--a demonstration for marriage equality at two of the marches--in 1993 at the IRS building and in 2000 at the Lincoln Memorial.
Troy and Philip Just MarriedRev. Troy Perry has devoted his life to help others discover the loving and caring God to whom he has committed his life. Rev. Perry also completed a sequel to his first book entitled Don’t Be Afraid Anymore, published by St. Martin’s Press. He is a contributing editor for the book Is Gay Good? and the subject of another book, Our God Too. He also authored the book "10 Spiritual Truths For Gays and Lesbians* (*and everyone else!)."
While Rev. Perry realizes the oppression still facing gays and lesbians, he stands at the vanguard of the movement, telling his flock - and the rest of the world - "We’re Not Afraid Anymore" and "God loves you. God doesn't have stepsons and stepdaughters."
Rev. Elder Perry resides with his lover of 28 years, Mr. Phillip Ray DeBlieck, in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles, Calif.
Troy Perry at the Resist March 2017. Photo by Mark S. Hahn
Smithsonian Institution Archives
October 6, 2019, on the 51st anniversary of his founding the Metropolitan Community Churches, The Smithsonian Institute, asked for and received a collection of items from Rev. Perry to be housed in the National Museum of American History, celebrating his work as both a religious and Human rights leader. It consists of personal items used by Rev. Troy Perry in the founding of MCC, historical Items from members and friends concerning MCC as well as Items that detail the work of the church and Perry in their struggle for equal and civil rights.
Read more about “Troy Perry and MCC Artifacts Donated to Smithsonian”.
(This biographical statement provided by Troy Perry and updated by Rev. Colleen Darraugh and Irene Renaldy from the online sources listed below.)
Biography Date: October 2002; rev October 2022
“Rev. Elder Troy Perry | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed June 02, 2023, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/troy-perry.