Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rev. Peter J. Gomes

Openly gay Rev. Peter Gomes, known as "Harvard's Pastor," was regarded as one of America's most distinguished preachers. Although a staunch Republican most of his life, Gomes was an outspoken critic of anti-gay discrimination.

In November 1991, Gomes spoke to a crowd of students gathered to protest a student publication that had condemned homosexuality. The New York Times reported: "I do not know when the quality of life has been more violated," he told a crowd of about 100 as he stood on the steps of Memorial Church, setting off sustained applause when he added, "I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay...Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God."

Gomes was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard's Divinity School and the author of several books, including The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About The Good News? (published 2007). He was 68 years old when he suffered a fatal aneurysm and heart attack earlier this year. Gomes was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, descended from the Fulani, Tikar, and Hausa peoples of West Africa, as well as from Portuguese Jews through his Cape Verdean paternal grandfather. He was baptized as a Roman Catholic, but later became an American Baptist.

Profiled by Robert Boynton in The New Yorker and interviewed by Morley Safer on 60 Minutes, Gomes was included in the premiere issue of Talk magazine as part of its feature article, "The Best Talkers in America: Fifty Big Mouths We Hope Will Never Shut Up." He became an advocate of acceptance of homosexuality in American society, particularly in the area of religion.

Gomes was a registered Republican for most of his life and offered prayers at the inaugurals of US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In August 2006 he switched to the Democratic Party.

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