article placeholder

Faith & Religion: LGBT Atlantans who won fights to remain in their denominations

Rev. Erin Swenson and Pastor Bradley Schmeling

Rev. Erin Swenson

In 1973, Rev. Eric Karl Swenson was ordained by the Presbytery of Atlanta. But some 20 years later, Eric Swenson knew he was continuing to live a lie that he struggled with since early childhood. And so he began his transition from male to female and in 1996, Rev. Erin Swenson, after a few years of hard work, was able to keep her ordination. She made national news as the first known mainstream Protestant minister to keep her job during a gender transition.

Today, Swenson continues her work in the Presbyterian Church as well as advocacy for transgender people throughout the country. While the Presbyterian Church is currently struggling with gay and lesbian clergy being able to openly serve, Swenson continues to also work for the day when openly transgender clergy can also become ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church.