Transgender activist forced to resign church position after being featured in documentary

The Rev. Lauren Drain, a transgender activist known for her work with HIRES, was in her dressing room at her church in the Bronx when she discovered that the organization was the subject of a documentary about the struggle transgender individuals face in the Church. At the same time, Drain received a package from HBO. Inside was an inspirational message she felt called to share.

“It was so moving, so beautiful,” she said. “I started thinking about my situation of being honest with my God, all the things that need to be said, how to be a giver and not a taker in my life. I called [the distributor] and asked, ‘Do you think this is a big deal?’ They said, ‘Oh no, no, we really have no feedback.’”

But as an ordained pastor at St. John Baptist Church, Drain had every reason to believe that her appearance in the documentary would be an issue. Although the show never mentioned her, the sermon she preached in response to an upcoming anti-transgender sermon by a certain Aaron Schock was prominently referenced in the film.

Because of the overwhelming responses she received from members of the LGBTQ community and the church, Drain was offered the chance to leave her position at St. John Church. She accepted, and immediately after accepted the job with HIRES.

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