Pioneering lesbian minister Dorothy McRae-McMahon honoured


Dorothy McRae-McMahon
Image: YouTube

The Uniting Church will name a Sydney retirement and independent living village after pioneering lesbian minister Dorothy McRae-McMahon.

As a young housewife and mother, Dorothy McRae-McMahon became involved in peace activism during the Vietnam War. Her activism extended to women’s liberation, human rights, and anti-apartheid campaigns. Appointed to Sydney’s Pitt Street Church after her ordination in 1982, she gathered a congregation equally committed to activism.

Dorothy later became the first female Moderator of the World Council of Churches. In 1997, she came out as a lesbian. She had ended her marriage a decade before after recognising herself as a lesbian. Her coming out prompted relentless homophobic attacks, including the words ‘lesbian slut’ painted on her front fence.

McRae-McMahon Place

Described as an ‘urban oasis for over 70s’, the Uniting Church’s McRae-McMahon Place is planned for completion in 2023.

The project website pays tribute to Dorothy McRae-McMahon’s pioneering activism.

“Dorothy was an outspoken campaigner against the Vietnam War and Apartheid, and also advocated for the rights of women, Aboriginal people, and LGBTQI+ people.

“Her strong sense of social justice inspired the naming of our retirement and independent living village – she truly embodies the Uniting values of being compassionate, respectful, imaginative and bold.”

The site quotes Dorothy as saying everything she endured was worth it.

“The legacy I would like to leave is hope for change. When I was Minister at Pitt Street Uniting Church, we stood for social change to end racism and anti-gay and lesbian sentiment. I encouraged people to take a stand, even if others punished us. But it was well worth it.”

Folau and Manly Seven

In an interview with the SMH, Dorothy criticised non-inclusive churches and church members including Israel Folau and the Manly players who recently refused to wear a pride jersey.

“I disagree with that and I disagree with the sort of God they represent. We’d say God created us as we are and invited us to be fully alive. The idea of loving somebody, even if it’s the same gender, is a beautiful part of the creation”.

Dorothy McRae-McMahon — ACON Honour Awards

Also: Dorothy McRae-McMahon on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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