The following was sent to Cal Catholic by one of our readers on Nov. 21.
Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union consists of eight schools. One of the eight is the Pacific School of Religion, which is home to the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in Religion. The center is funded by the usual homosexualist suspects: the Gill Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, the Evelyn & Walter Haas Foundation, etc. The managing director of the center is a transgender man named Justin Tanis.
Tanis biography, from the center website, reads:
“Justin earned his M.Div. degree at Harvard Divinity School and his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His dissertation was published in 2003 by Pilgrim Press as Transgendered: Ministry, Theology, and Communities of Faith and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary award that year. That book was also the first in the [center’s] book series. He has also contributed chapters to the Queer Bible Commentary and Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible. An artist and photographer, Justin has had a lifelong passion for the arts. His scholarly interests include the theology expressed by LGBT visual artists, which is the focus of his PhD studies here at the GTU.
Justin has served congregations in Boston, Honolulu, and San Francisco and spent nine years as a denominational executive, coordinating leadership and educational programs in twenty-two countries. He has brings with him a long history with grassroots activism, including ACT-UP and Queer Nation in the 1980s and serving as spokesperson and media coordinator for the Hawai’i Equal Rights Marriage Project in the 1990s. Justin’s work also includes advocacy for LGBT rights in national non-profit organizations. He was the community education and outreach manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C. and later served as the director of communication for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, which advocates for equal employment rights for LGBT people.”
This biography contains a significant omission: Tanis’s extensive and ongoing participation at leadership level in the homosexual sado-masochistic subculture. Dozens of websites dedicated to that subculture indicate Tanis’ participation dates back to at least 1995, and continues to the present day. In July of 2014 San Francisco Leatherman’s Discussion Group hosted a Leathersex and Spirituality workshop. Tanis moderated the event. From the event’s Facebook page:
“JUSTIN TANIS (moderator) … has presented at numerous leather events including Leather Leadership Conference, South Plains Leatherfest, the Master/slave Conference, Los Angeles Leather Weekend and Rio Grande Leather….Justin serves as managing director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry in Berkeley and is working on a second doctoral degree.”
From the introduction to a 2003 SCENEprofiles (a sado-masochistic website) interview with Tanis: “justin tanis has been exploring BDSM since he finally convinced someone to tie him up and do wonderfully mean things to him 18 years ago.”
From the program for the 2012 Master/slave Conference (formatting in original), where Tanis gave workshops and served on the three-person education team: “slave justin has been enjoying SM for over 20 years and has served as a slave for almost 14 years; he was honored to have been a member of the Order for Discipline and Service and to have been owned by Master Jack McGeorge. Justin is the editor of The Leather Times, the newsletter of the Leather Archives & Museum, and was the recipient of the 2008 Pantheon of Leather Rocky Mountain Regional Award. He has presented at a wide range of leather events including Leather Leadership Conference, Southplains Leatherfest, the Master/ slave Conference, Los Angeles Leather Weekend and Rio Grande Leather. He works for a national LGBT advocacy organization. ..”
There are a number of connections between the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in Religion and homosexual activist Catholics. Like Tanis, Father Orlando Espin (a regular at L.A.’s Religious Education Conference) sits is on the staff of the center. Like Tanis, according to the center’s webpage, homo-activist Catholic priest Father Jim Schexnayder sits on the national advisory board of the center. Michael Sepidoza Campos, the openly homosexual teacher of religion at San Francisco’s Stuart Hall archdiocesan high school, is one of the Emerging API Queer Religious Scholars listed on the center’s website.San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Church has a number of ties to the center. In 2007, a man named Jim McRae was listed as a member of the center’s Bay Area Advisory Board. In 2007, Jesuit priest Father Donal Godfrey,author of Gays and Grays: The Story of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish, spoke at the center’s Lavender Lunch program.
On December 1, 2010 Rev. Jay Johnson spoke at an Advent Vespers service at Most Holy Redeemer. Johnson is the senior director of Academic Research and Resources at the center. In 2011, the Reverend Roland Stringfellow, the director of Ministerial Outreach at the center, was the scheduled speaker at an Most Holy Redeemer Advent Vespers service until he was disinvited by then-Archbishop George Niederauer. In 2012, Father Godfrey’s friend Patrick Mulcahey, former eucharist minister and past parish council vice-president at Most Holy Redeemer, gave workshops at the Master/slave Conference—the conference at which Tanis was giving workshops.