Pioneering gay priest Malcolm Boyd dies aged 91

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Malcolm Boyd, a priest and early gay rights pioneer, has died aged 91.

Reverend Boyd, who was active within the civil rights movement in the 1960s, was one of the first Episcopal priests to come out as gay in 1977.

He spent a large portion of his life championing LGBT rights, helping to organise one of the first Christian masses for people with AIDS, and more recently served in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The gay rights pioneer passed away on Friday, aged 91, following severe complications from pneumonia.

He is survived by his partner of 31 years, Mark Thompson, who he entered into a civil marriage with in 2013.

Reverend Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles said: “Malcolm lives on in our hearts and minds through the wise words and courageous example he has shared with us through the years.

“We pray in thanksgiving for Malcolm’s life and ministry, for his tireless advocacy for civil rights, and for his faithful devotion to Jesus who now welcomes him to eternal life and comforts us in our sense of loss.”

Even in his last years, Reverend Boyd continued to fight for gay rights – challenging the Pope to have a conversation with him.

He wrote to the Pontiff in HuffPo in October: “I am not asking for a world of gay people. However, I earnestly yearn for a world that allows me honest identity, spares me persecution, and blesses the emergence of hope in our corporate life. Our wedding movingly brought new friends together.


I’d like to spend a reflective evening with you, send out for a pizza from a great place near the Vatican, open a bottle of Chianti, put our feet up, relax, and share thoughts and aspirations.”