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Kittredge Cherry | Profile

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Biography

Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author, minister and historian who writes regularly about LGBTQ spirituality and the arts at Q Spirit (https://qspirit.net/).  She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches, ministered at MCC San Francisco during the AIDS crisis and advocated for LGBTQ rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches as MCC’s National Ecumenical Officer. 

Kitt was born and raised in Iowa in a mostly secular family. Her mother was an art teacher and her father was a businessman and musician.  She is the oldest of two children, and enjoyed many fun adventures growing up with her brother, Craig.  They loved playing with rubber animal erasers, real live toads and the family dogs.   Kitt met her spouse, Audrey Lockwood, in 1975 when they were both freshmen at the University of Iowa. After earning degrees in journalism and art history, Kitt worked as a daily newspaper reporter covering business and the arts at the Quincy Herald-Whig in Quincy, Illinois, from 1979-82.

She went on to study in Japan on a Rotary International Scholarship for Journalists and lived there for three years.  She studied at International Christian University in Tokyo and Kobe College (Kobe Jogakuin Daigaku).  That experience led to her first book, “Womansword: What Japanese Words Say About Women,” which became a bestseller.  As a freelance writer in Japan, she wrote for the Asian editions of Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, plus many other publications, including Audrey’s “Feminist Forum” magazine.

Her father’s sudden, unexpected death in 1983 led to a spiritual crisis and religious conversion experience.  Kitt was baptized at age 26 at Kobe Union church, an interdenominational church in Kobe, Japan.  In 1985 she and Audrey came out as a lesbian couple, moved to San Francisco and began attending Metropolitan Community Church.  Kitt followed a call to ministry, earning a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.   

Her ministry began at MCC San Francisco during the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s. With Jim Mitulski as her supervising pastor and mentor, she served as program director and organized the church’s first annual women’s retreat. Women’s participation tripled under her leadership.  She co-authored the landmark 1988 article “We are the Church Alive, the Church with AIDS” in Christian Century magazine. (https://www.religion-online.org/article/we-are-the-church-alive-the-church-with-aids/)

In 1991 Kitt became an executive at MCC’s international headquarters in Los Angeles.  She worked closely with MCC founder Troy Perry and Nancy Wilson, who succeeded him as moderator. Kitt was on the forefront of the homosexuality debates at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches as MCC’s National Ecumenical Officer.  In addition she organized dramatic demonstrations for LGBTQ rights in the church, including Hands Around the God-Box at the offices of the National Council of Churches and the take-over of the 1993 NCC meeting when members voted to deny observer status to MCC.  

She handled media relations for The Wedding, a spectacular group blessing of 6,000 lesbian and gay couples at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Rights.  Kitt also made an impact at many other conferences, including Christian Lesbians Out Together (CLOUT) and Re-Imagining: A Global Theological Conference By Women: For Men and Women.  She co-founded a worship service at MCC Los Angeles in the style of Taize, an international ecumenical community known for its meditative chants.  The MCC denominational newsletter “Keeping in Touch” was voted the most valuable MCC program while she was editor.

Kitt turned to online ministry after Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced her into a more contemplative life. She launched JesusInLove.org in 2005 to promote artistic and religious freedom and show God’s love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Since then it has grown to include Qspirit.net, plus a popular blog and newsletter.   Readers call it inspiring, informative and “always fabulous.”  The blog surpassed 3 million page views in its first 15 years.  Her most frequently cited blog posts include her LGBTQ Saints series and the Rainbow Christ Prayer, co-authored with Patrick Cheng.  She started the Santos Queer blog in 2012 to share her work in Spanish.  In 2018-19 she expanded on social media by launching the LGBTQ Saints group on Facebook and became administrator of the Queer Biblical Studies and Theologies group. 

Kitt’s best-known books are Lambda Literary Award finalist Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More (AndroGyne Press, 2007), Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations (co-edited with Zalmon Sherwood; Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995), and The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision (AndroGyne Press, 2014).  Kitt is also the author of Hide and Speak: A Coming Out Guide (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991; AndroGyne Press, 2006), Jesus in Love: A Novel (AndroGyne Press, 2006) and its sequel Jesus in Love: At the Cross (AndroGyne Press, 2008).  The 30th-anniversary edition of Womansword was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2016.   

The New York Times Book Review praised Kitt’s “very graceful, erudite” writing style and her poetry has won several awards.   Her books have been translated into Japanese, Chinese, German, and Polish.  Major translations of her Q Spirit blog articles were published on Russian and Italian websites. 

Kitt and her college sweetheart, Audrey Lockwood, were united in a Holy Union church wedding on April 11, 1987 at MCC San Francisco and legally married on May 4, 2016 at the Beverly Hills Courthouse.   Audrey has worked as an out lesbian in the corporate world since the 1980s.  Kitt and Audrey live in Los Angeles with their animal companions.

(This biographical statement provided by Kittredge Cherry.)

Biography Date: July, 2005, rev June 2021

Additional Resources

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Tags

MCC | Author/editor | Clergy Activist | Online activist | Women and Religion | Cherry, Kittredge

Citation

“Kittredge Cherry | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed October 15, 2021, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/kittredge-cherry.

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