Rev. M Barclay

Rev. M Barclay
Location: Iowa City, Iowa Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Faith/Religion, LGBTQ+ Health, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: Adults (21-64 years), Faith-Based Groups, LGBTQ+ Communities, Older Adults (65+)
Executive Director

The impact of religion on both individual and collective life is filled with complexities. Its relation to power, specifically through the Christian tradition, makes it particularly influential in shaping policies, culture, and identity in ways that can work for or against equity and health. My work focuses on spirituality from the margins—queering religion, thinking about God through a transgender lens, and channeling faith in the direction of an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-misogynist reimagining of possibilities for sustainable life on this aching planet. Striking at the roots of questions about how we understand ourselves, each other, and our places in relation to the larger environment, my goal is to invite others into ways of being together that empower, liberate, and heal.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Health & Spiritual Wellbeing for LGBTQIA People, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, Women & People with Disabilities Through Christian-adjacent Communities
The largest strands of Christianity in the U.S.—Catholicism, Evangelicals, and mainline Protestants—are majority white, cisgender, and heterosexual, with middle- to upper-class men in the overwhelming majority of positions of leadership. This dynamic has shaped policy and culture in ways that are damaging to the spiritual and material health of individuals and communities, especially among marginalized populations. My strategic initiative will create a sustainable infrastructure for Christian-adjacent communities to disrupt destructive elements and impact of Christianity and facilitate spiritual resources that nourish the work of collective liberation. We will contribute to the health and spiritual wellbeing of those healing from anti-LGBTQIA, sexist, racist, and Christian supremacist religious experiences and contribute to cultural and structural changes that are vital to creating a Culture of Health for LGBTQIA people, BIPOC, women, people with disabilities, and the planet.

As a bisexual and non-binary trans clergy person, the role of religion in M’s life has been one of being wielded like a weapon against them and their communities, as well as a means of deep transformation and tools of liberation. In the work of building a culture of health, M brings experience and depth of knowledge about the impacts of faiths and their function in collective life.

Click here to watch M’s Legacy Project video.