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From the Archive: An Episcopal Priest On Coming Out

Daniel Hautzinger
Malcolm Boyd on Callaway Interviews.

With LGBTQ Pride Month in full swing and Chicago's Pride Parade happening on June 25, take a look back at this 1978 interview with one of the first American clergymen to publicly come out of the closet. Malcolm Boyd was an Episcopal priest with a public profile as a result of his activism in the Civil Rights Movement as a Freedom Rider and in the protests against the Vietnam War. He had also been associated with the LGBTQ movement and had spoken at Chicago's Pride Parade. In 1977 he came out of the closet, and the next year published the book Take Off the Masks about his experience. 

In this Callaway Interviews, he and WTTW's John Callaway discuss the "misuse" of religion in condemning sexuality, identity politics, consciousness-raising, and the importance of accepting difference and minorities while avoiding stereotypes. "We mustn't have some fundamentalists of any stripe somehow selling us on the idea that there is some kind of middle-American-majority morality, and that if one doesn't subscribe to it one will be flogged or burned or imprisoned or forced into closets," he says. "The majority loses its rights the moment it doesn't recognize the rights of minorities, because then one doesn't have a great society."