3 Questions for MCC’s Rev. Elder Troy Perry
The Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry has led an epic American life. The Florida native began preaching at age 15 and worked his way through opposite-sex marriage, parenthood, divorce, ouster from his church, military service, and a suicide attempt before finding his voice as a gay minister and founding the first gay-centric church in 1968. Since then the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) have grown to embrace 222 congregations in 37 countries. Perry, now 80, stepped down as MCC’s Moderator in 2005, but not before presiding over the first same-sex union in 1969, suing for legal recognition of same-sex marriages in 1970, and helping to organize the first Gay Pride parade that same year. MCC began ordaining women in 1972; both of Perry’s successors have been women. Perry is a jovial man whose inner toughness and powerful faith do not prevent him from radiating warmth and kindness — a great example of embodying the change you wish to see in the world. His books include The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay (1972) and Don’t Be Afraid Anymore (1990). He married his husband Phillip DeBlieck in 2003, under Canadian law, and they live in Los Angeles.
You have been invited to the White House a total of five times by presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama. If you were invited today, what would you have to say to President Trump?
First, let’s be real. Mr. Trump is not going to invite me to the White House. He is a narcissist and doesn’t want anybody else in the room with him who might disagree with his views about anything. And disagree with him I would. I would respectfully tell him I would like to talk to him about the most oppressed of all the GLBTQ family. It would be a one-sided conversation about the transgender members of my community which he has so viciously maligned. By not standing up for their rights, he has declared open season on them to bigots who wish to murder, maim, and assault members of the trans community on the streets of America. He and any lawmakers who attempt to leverage anti-transgender stigma to score cheap political points should be voted out of office. That would be my message to President Trump.
I get enraged when I see people on the street not wearing masks or with masks pulled down off their noses. How can I deal with these issues — the problem, and my reaction to it?
Well, the problem is I can die because of their actions. Because of pre-existing conditions, my husband of over 35 years, Phillip, and I fall into the category of those most likely to die if we came down with coronavirus. I have learned the most I can do is carry an extra mask and offer it to the person in a tone of voice that says, it’s free and maybe you don’t have the money to buy one. Hopefully it will not come off as fighting words and they will accept the mask, or go buy one of their own.
A lot of us are staying home during the Covid-19 crisis, and the older we are, the more necessary that is. What have you been reading, watching, or otherwise occupying your time with during this scary and challenging time?
We have been watching a lot of television, reading a lot of books, and ordering in lots of food from our favorite neighborhood restaurants. We are both news freaks. I subscribe digitally to the Los Angeles Times as well as the New York Times. I watch cable news several times a day. We enjoy a good movie, and have watched a lot of foreign films from the UK, France, Poland, Germany, Spain, Mexico, and Africa. I love and have read lots of books within varied genres from religion to sci-fi and everything in between. We love to eat a good pizza, taco, or plate of pad see ew noodles!