Radio #3: Jason & Cath – Breaking Free
Podcast – Sunday 27 April, 1pm, JOY 94.9 Melbourne
Jason grew up in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and was baptised at the age of 12 at Thornbury Church of Christ. In his early 20s he completed a five-year degree in biblical literature at an evangelical seminary in Missouri, USA. Upon returning to Australia, he worked as a Churches of Christ minister in Melbourne’s east until he came out at age 28 and was removed from his ministry role. He chose not to participate in ex-gay programs and subsequently lost most of his church friends, though many people he knew did enter various types of ex-gay therapy.
Jason has been a leading voice in the GLBTIQ community for over a decade. As one of the founding members of the Australian Marriage Equality movement, Jason and his husband first challenged Australian marriage laws in 2004 after celebrating their own marriage in Canada. Since then Jason has maintained a high public profile, appearing on television and featuring in various gay and mainstream print media where he has advocated strongly for the rights of the GLBTIQ community.
After many years of fighting from the sidelines, he decided it was time to create a political party to give the GLBTIQ community a real voice in mainstream politics. This has led to the recent launch of the Australian Equality Party, a centrist party that aims to have one elected federal upper house member elected in the next federal election.
Jason has lived in Brunswick with his partner Adrian, whom he married legally in Canada in 2004, and his son Ruben for the last 14 years. Jason has also studied teaching and psychology and worked as a business manager, researcher, educator and counsellor. He is currently a respected marriage celebrant who has presided over the unions of many heterosexual and same-sex couples. Jason is a passionate Essendon supporter and is one of Australia’s biggest ABBA fans(!)
Pastor Cathryn McKinney
Cath is a pastor at St Martin’s Community Church, Collingwood, and is currently on leave to complete her PhD at the University of Divinity. She lives and works in Melbourne with her family Michael, Rory, Noah and Matilda and their dog Freya, who was treated cruelly as a puppy so need to be reminded every day that life can be kind and that she is loved. This dog has helped to clarify Cath’s purpose in life; to be kind, and to love and to be loved. Cath is a chaplain for Freedom2b, supporting LGBTI people pastorally and spiritually and is currently a candidate for ministry in the Uniting Church.
Though Jason is now a prominent LGBTI activist, he was once a theology student and evangelical church minister. While many of his gay friends chose to suppress their homosexuality, Jason chose to leave ministry behind and embrace a committed long term relationship with his now husband of 14 years. Unfortunately, he feels his many gifts of Christian leadership are not wanted in the church. Though having had a wildly different journey, Cath McKinney is a church minister who has experienced the suffering and rejection known by Jason in her interaction with many of Melbourne’s ex-gay survivors and LGBTI Christian leaders. She is a close friend to many evangelical leaders who are not ready to come forward with their LGBTI-affirming views and was a close friend to Damien Christie – an ex-gay survivor who took his life in 2013.
Despite the differing stories, both Cath and Jason have experienced a profound common truth – that being stuck in a place of confusion about sexuality in the midst of an exclusive Christian world can be a deadly thing.
It’s a raw and honest look at life as a gay person of faith in Australia.