Reverend Irene Monroe

The Rev. Irene Monroe, founder and member emeritus of the National Black Justice coalition and Week Eight’s chaplain, preaches on “Healing Our Personal ‘isms'” Sunday, August 12, 2018 in the Amphitheater. RILEY ROBINSON /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Rev. Irene Monroe is described in O, the Oprah Magazine, as “a phenomenal woman who has succeeded against all odds.” Rev. Irene Monroe is a nationally acclaimed activist,  ordained minister,  lesbian feminist public theologian, and a sought-after motivational speaker and preacher.  Rev. Monroe does the weekly Monday  segment ALL REV’D UP on WGBH (89.7 FM) of Boston Public Radio, a Boston member station of National Public Radio (NPR), that’s also a podcast. Monroe is a Visiting Scholar in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at  Boston University  School of Theology, and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail. Monroe’s syndicated religion columns appear in Bay Windows, Cambridge Chronicle, Dig Boston, and  in several cities across the country and in the U.K, and Canada. 

“My columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As a religion columnist I try to  inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.” 

As an activist Monroe has received numerous awards: Boston’s 25 Most Influential LGBTQ+ People of Color award (2019); The Cambridge Mayor’s Luminary Award (2017); Top 25 LGBT Power Players of New England Award by Boston Spirit Magazine (2015), the Open Door Award for work with HIV/AIDS, Black Church and LGBTQ community, and in GLAD’s Spirit of Justice Award, to name a few.

Her papers are at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College’s research library on the history of women in America. You can find out more about Monroe at and follower her on Twitter @revimonroe

Meet Irene at the Saturday night red carpet cocktail hour and see her lead the panel discussion at the Saturday night banquet.