In 1962, White graduated from Warner Pacific College. That same year, he married his wife Lyla. They had two children, one of whom is the actor/comedian and screenwriter Mike White.
After receiving his BA from Warner Pacific College, then graduating with an MA in communications from the University of Portland, White followed with graduate work in communications and film at University of Southern California, UCLA, and Harvard. He received his Doctorate of Ministry from, and was a professor of communications and preaching for over a decade at, Fuller Theological Seminary. During this time he also worked as an evangelical pastor.
©Andrew Wilds Photography, Courtesy of Mel White. Mel White kissing Gary Nixon on their 30th anniversary (©15)
Mel White is an American clergyman and author. After years of writing for the Christian right, he came out as gay in 1994. Since 1982 he is in a relationship with Gary Nixon. Mel and Gary met and fell in love at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena where Mel served on the vestry and Gary sang baritone in the Coventry Choir. When the California Supreme Court made same sex marriages legal for a brief period, Mel and Gary returned to All Saints Church where they were married, June 18, 2008.
After their marriage, White admitted to his wife that he had always been attracted to men. He embarked on a long process of attempted cures for his homosexuality, including psychotherapy, prayer, electroconvulsive therapy, and exorcism. None of these techniques changed his attraction to men, and after he attempted suicide, he and his wife agreed to an amicable divorce.
In 1984, White began dating Gary Nixon. In 1994, White wrote his autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America, which detailed his former career in the Religious Right and his struggle coming to terms with his sexuality. His ex-wife wrote the foreword to this book. His latest book, Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells To Deny Gay Equality was released in hardback as Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right.
After coming out, White transferred his clergy credentials to the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church.
In 1997, White was awarded the American Civil Liberties Union's National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities. He founded Soulfource, a gay advocacy group, in 1998.
He produced, wrote, and directed 53 documentary films and television specials on spirituality. He is also an author; among his 16 books (nine bestsellers), he wrote about the Philippines' Ninoy and Corazon Aquino (Aquino), the Jonestown tragedy (Deceived), David Rothenber (a child burned by his father) (David), Lust the Other Side of Love, and talk-show host/producer Mike Douglas (When the Going Gets Tough).
0n June 18, 2008 White and Nixon were the first same-sex couple legally married at All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, California) following the May 16, 2008 action of the Supreme Court of California overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. They currently reside in Long Beach, California.
In 2009 White appeared on the fourteenth season of The Amazing Race along with his son Mike. The two lasted for seven legs of the race before being eliminated in sixth place in Phuket, Thailand. The team competed once again in The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business, an edition featuring eleven returning teams. They were the second team eliminated and finish in 10th place in Yokosuka, Japan at the end of the third leg. Mel and Mike were eliminated after being hospitalized with hypothermia.
White is also a contributor to the popular DVD program Living the Questions, an introduction to Progressive Christianity. Dr. White is also featured in the popular documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So."
The Cambodian NGO New Future for Children is supported by White.
White ghostwrote several books for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham (Approaching Hoofbeats), Pat Robertson (America's Date with Destiny), and Jerry Falwell (Strength for the Journey and If I Should Die Before I Wake).
Since 1993, he has devoted himself full-time to minister to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people, working on their behalf in the media, in the political process, and with fellow religious leaders.
White's autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America (1994), is still being read widely, especially by LGBTQ people, their families and friends struggling to reconcile faith with sexual orientation. White's latest book, Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers from the Christian Right (2007), is called "A consciousness-raising, must-read book" by Bishop John Shelby Spong. It was reissued later in revised form with the title Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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