How Does a Presbyterian LGBTQ Advocate Work?

Alex McNeill discusses the intersection of faith, policy, and education in changing times.

Alex McNeill
Alex McNeill.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by More Light Presbyterian.

This season on Working, we’re taking a look at some LGBTQ-specific jobs.

Our guest on this week’s episode, which you can listen to via the player above, is Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterian. For almost 40 years, More Light has been working to promote LGBTQ inclusion within the Presbyterian Church (USA). On one hand, that’s meant trying to change policies like those that once kept gays and lesbians from serving as clergy in the church. On the other, it involves helping to educate congregants about questions of diversity and inclusion.


For McNeill, who assumed his current role in 2013, working with More Light is deeply personal, partly because he is the first openly trans individual to run a mainline denominational organization in the United States. In this episode of Working, he talks about what informs his ongoing contributions to the organization. As he explains, his religious commitments have shaped his approach to LGBTQ advocacy in far-reaching ways. But he also goes into the more quotidian details of running an organization like More Light Presbyterian.

Then, in a Slate Plus extra, McNeill shares some Scripture passages that resonate with his work. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview transcripts from Working, plus other great podcast exclusives. Start your two-week free trial at

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Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.