Gay bodybuilding priest goes viral with a simple yet powerful message: ‘You are loved’

A gay bodybuilding priest has gone viral on Instagram, where he has been showered with praise by people who are inspired by his openness. 

Father Ethan Alexander Jewett is based in Pennsylvania and has more than 40,000 followers on Instagram, where his uplifting videos have received millions of views. 

Jewett spoke to PinkNews about the challenges he has faced as a gay priest in the Episcopal Church, as well as about the DMs he has received from people online.

According to its website, the Episcopal Church believes “God loves you – no exceptions.” 

Jewett said his social media life “is a very mixed bag,” with the negative including death threats and people calling him a child molester. 

“But that’s nothing in comparison with all the wonderful direct messages and comments I get from people who say that showing myself to be openly gay, as well as a religious leader, has been so heartening to them because they didn’t think that was possible,” the tattooed priest said.

Bodybuilding is Jewett’s ‘life-long companion’

He had a difficult upbringing, in an abusive household, but at high school he began to lift weights and set goals for himself that were “very empowering and affirming”. 

He went on to say: “Now bodybuilding has been my life-long companion.” 

His first crush was actor Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, before he married a “very affirming” woman, but he broke up with her to follow his true sexuality. 

Speaking on his tattoos, he said: “I have six, all of them related to my journey to becoming a priest.” 

His favourite is one of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, which reminds him of his own relationship with God. 

“My message for everybody is that you are God’s beloved child. God created you the way that you are and God finds nothing deficient or broken about you for being queer, for being gay, for being trans.

“You are loved. Don’t let anybody tell you different.”