An LGBT advocacy organization within one of the nation’s foremost Christian denominations announced its new executive director, Alex McNeill, who, in making history, becomes the first openly transgender leader of a mainline Protestant group.
Within his denomination, McNeill worked to secure ordination equality for Presbyterians and celebrated that success by becoming the first openly transgender ministry candidate from his home presbytery in western North Carolina. In the secular arena, McNeill has campaigned for ballot measures and legislation to promote LGBT rights.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master of divinity from the Harvard Divinity School. At 22, he entered the ordination process and came out transgender to his ordination committee last year.
The feature-length documentary film Out of Order chronicles the lives of three queer Presbyterians, including McNeill, seeking to be ordained ministers in the church.
McNeill sees opportunities with congregations and communities for more conversations and fuller discussions about “what transgender means” and “how we all have our identities and what can happen when we commonly acknowledge” that reality, he said.