Famous Butch Lesbian Abby Wambach Infiltrates Blonde Christian America

Former USWNT soccer star Abby Wambach has raised a lot of eyebrows this year. Her memoir, Forward, shared the details of a battle with addiction that spanned her adult life and ultimately resulted in her arrest for DUI. The release of her book coincided with the announcement that she and her wife, Sarah Huffman, would be divorcing. She also stepped way out of line by questioning the patriotism of USMNT players who were not born in the United States. “Foreign guys,” she called them. And today, a whole new thing. A whaaaat in an entirely different direction. It turns out Abby Wambach has infiltrated blonde Christian America. Yesterday, Christian blogger and memoirist Glennon Doyle Melton announced via Twitter and Facebook that she and Wambach are in love.

It’s a really remarkable and shocking announcement. The white evangelical Christian community has been grappling with their position on gay people for a long time, and this recent election cycle saw the divide grow even wider. Famous writers and speakers like Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, and Katelyn Beaty broke with the official positions of their mega churches and spoke out against Trump, with Hatmaker pushing it far enough to offer unconditional support to LGBTQ people. LifeWay Bookstores (the Barnes & Noble of white evangelical Christianity) pulled all of her products from their shelves in response. And while there’s a growing push among younger evangelicals and a growing number of evangelical women to shift the focus of their community to social justice issues, the bigotry and hatred of the Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons of the world still reigns supreme.

Christian musician Jennifer Knapp came out in 2010, but that was seven years after she left the industry to grapple with her sexuality. Glennon Doyle Melton is the first woman in that circle of writers and speakers to go public with a same-sex relationship while remaining an active and beloved part of the community.

I don’t know as much about Glennon Doyle Melton as I do about the Beth Moores of the world because I’d already bolted from church by the time she rose to prominence, but I read a few posts on her blog, Momastery, yesterday and she seems like a warm and open human being who’s just trying to figure out how to love hard and whole in this hard, dark world. In fact, one of her books is called Love Warrior, and it was a New York Times bestseller and also an Oprah’s Book Club selection this year. The world needs more love warriors, that’s a thing I know for sure. Also, apparently, she has a gay pastor and has been outspoken about gay issues for a while now.

This is from her coming out Facebook post:

Now we are entering a new time which calls for a different type of leadership. And now it is my job as a leader not to concern myself too deeply about what you think and feel about me- about the way I live my life. That is what I want to model now, because that is what I want for YOU: I want you to grow so comfortable in your own being, your own skin, your own knowing – that you become more interested in your own joy and freedom and integrity than in what others think about you. That you remember that you only live once, that this is not a dress rehearsal and so you must BE who you are. I want you to refuse to betray yourself. Not just for you. For ALL OF US. Because what the world needs — in order to grow, in order to relax, in order to find peace, in order to become brave — is to watch one woman at a time live her truth without asking for permission or offering explanation.

The most revolutionary thing a woman can do is not explain herself.

The real lesson here, of course, is that it’s time for us to all go out and infiltrate the communities that have historically oppressed us and make the people inside them gay. Those are your new marching orders. Fingers crossed Glennon Doyle Melton’s next book is GAY Love Warrior.

This post has been updated with more information about Glennon Doyle Melton. The title is really, truly just a joke. The idea that gay people could go into a community that has historically oppressed us and make them love us by making them love us. 


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

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60 Comments

  1. 0

    I’m surprised by the description of Glennon Doyle Melton as evangelical, or at least as a Christian blogger first and foremost. Her book and then recently her coming out helped me feel included and validated, and it’s possible I’m being defensive because I got so much out of her book. She has a lot in common with Brené Brown. As far as I know she’s part of a really liberal non-evangelical congregation and she’s been outspoken about progressive causes, as well as critical of harmful messages she got from conservative Christianity in her life. I’ve seen several articles putting her in with evangelical Christianity, but it doesn’t match what I know of her story. Thoughts?

    • 0

      Yeah, Glennon is part of a progressive, mainline Christian congregation (I’m an out, ordained minister in the same denomination). She has been lumped in with conservative and evangelical Christian bloggers in a way that seems odd to me, having followed her work. It’s hardly infiltration if we’re already here.

    • 0

      Agreed. I align her more with Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert (who is also dating a woman) than evangelical Christian authors. I’ve watched and listened to so many of her interviews and she is nothing if not very inclusive. I’m looking forward to digging into her new book. So happy for her and Abby!

    • 0

      Someone below posted that she’s UCC – which I explains where the Evangelical label came from. The UCC is a merger of several smaller mainline denominations and one of them had Evangelical in their name.

      According to Wikipedia – “The UCC often uses four words to describe itself: “Christian, Reformed, Congregational and Evangelical”. While the UCC refers to its evangelical characteristics, it springs from (and is considered part of) mainline Protestantism as opposed to Evangelicalism. The word evangelical in this case more closely corresponds with the original Lutheran origins meaning “of the gospel” as opposed to the Evangelical use of the word. “

  2. 0

    This is very off-topic, but the right group might be coming to this page to answer it.

    I’m not religious, but I’m desperate to spend some time with some people who are actively moral after this election. I don’t want to necessarily stay in my demographic bubble either. I don’t think it’s good that the only way I interact with people that aren’t either yuppies or gay is through the internet. Is it okay to crash services? There’s a Friends meeting near me that seems the chillest of chill, but I still don’t want to be rude.

    • 0

      I second Kelly’s suggestions – I’m non-relgious and I just started attending a Unitarian Church in Brooklyn. I’ve really enjoyed it so far – they have a rainbow flag in the entry way as well as behind the alter, and a sign outside supporting Black Lives Matter. The Unitarian Church was originally a liberal branch of Christianity, but many congregations are now open to people of all faith traditions, atheists included.

    • 0

      Active agnostic UU here. You can absolutely crash services; not only is it allowed, it is encouraged. It does my heart a lot of good to come together on a regular basis with a group of people who care deeply about love and justice and are dedicated to living out those values in the world. And it is major for me that there’s no “you have to believe x” component. Very much come as you are. I hope you go and that it’s good for you. <3

    • 0

      If you can’t find a convenient Unitarian parish, here’s the low down on some other mainline Protestant denominations.

      In general, the code word to look for a queer friendly parish is Affirming.

      The Methodist church isn’t officially that queer friendly but reconciling Methodist parishes are specifically gay friendly.

      Episcopalians are officially very welcoming – the Episcopal church (American branch of the Anglican Church) was censured by the Anglican Communion (world assoc of Anglican churches) for performing gay marriages and ordaining gay people. Some individual parishes are more liberal or conservatives than others.

      And for any church, you absolutely can just show up at a Sunday service and be welcome.

      • 0

        I second this. The episcopal minister for the church in my uni town was always a vocal LGBT rights advocate and was a civil rights activist back in his college days in Mississippi.

        I’ve read his blog off and on for years and decided to check out video of the church’s Wednesday sermon and it was really comforting to watch people back home talking about how their efforts to sponsor a refugee family are moving forward and how they were sending support to Standing Rock.

        I know a lot of us have a lot of feelings about the Catholic church, but some of the best responses to the election I’ve read yet have been from Jesuit priests who consider moral obligation to work against injustice and support the marginalized to be the cornerstone of their faith.

        But otherwise, what everyone has already said about UU for sure. Malinda Lo just wrote about her election feelings and how she was moved to attend a UU service even though she is Buddhist and it gave me all the feels.

        http://www.malindalo.com/2016/11/moving-forward-toward-justice/

    • 0

      You can absolutely “crash” services! Churches want visitors (sometimes desperately depending on the size of the congregation). I’m a Unitarian Universalist (in seminary actually) and bisexual. The faith is indeed open and affirming. It’s a non-creed religion, with means that there is no statement of faith/one thing everyone has to believe. The faith draws from 6 official sources (Wisdom from world traditions, Christianity, Judaism, Earth based faiths, Humanism, direct experience/words and deeds from prophetic men and women) and there are 7 principles we agree to live by in community. If you want more info or to find a congregation: uua.org

    • 0

      Also! The Metropolitan Community Church specifically ministers to the LGBTQIA community and they have a radical social justice history and mission – they were on the front lines of caring for people during the AIDS epidemic. In general they’re non-denominational since their members often come from various backgrounds. They started in the US and have spread worldwide (I attend one in Australia). I’m sure you’ll find a great place!

    • 0

      I honestly don’t understand Quakerism in America because somehow you manage to have conservative Quakerism which to me is beyond oxymoronic, but in the UK Quakers are the ultimate in chill. Our testimonies are simplicity, equality, truth, peace and sustainability. They are not remotely prescriptive with regards to your beliefs and are generally very welcoming. We are the type to go to all the Peace marches, to perform same sex marriage before it’s legal, and to go to Israeli/Palestinian border in an Ecumenical Accompianment programme. I hope Friends in the US are similarly welcoming.

  3. 0

    Her pastor, Dawson Taylor, who is a gay man, wrote the following message of support for her today, “So proud of the courage of dear friend and Naples UCC member Glennon Doyle Melton and the Melton family. I’m also kinda excited about my new bestie, Abby Wambach as we welcome her to Naples!
    #LoveWins #LoveIsLoveIsLove #DoNotEvenThinkAboutMessingWithOneOfMyChurchMembers
    #TraditionalChurchProgressivePeople”

  4. 0

    Her pastor, Dawson Taylor (who is a gay man), wrote this note of support for Glennon and Abby today: “So proud of the courage of dear friend and Naples UCC member Glennon Doyle Melton and the Melton family. I’m also kinda excited about my new bestie, Abby Wambach as we welcome her to Naples!
    #LoveWins #LoveIsLoveIsLove #DoNotEvenThinkAboutMessingWithOneOfMyChurchMembers
    #TraditionalChurchProgressivePeople”

    • 0

      She’s UCC. Now I get where the Evangelical label came from.

      According to Wikipedia – “The UCC often uses four words to describe itself: “Christian, Reformed, Congregational and Evangelical”.While the UCC refers to its evangelical characteristics, it springs from (and is considered part of) mainline Protestantism as opposed to Evangelicalism. The word evangelical in this case more closely corresponds with the original Lutheran origins meaning “of the gospel” as opposed to the Evangelical use of the word. “

      • 0

        I’m UCC (out, ordained), and that wikipedia description is mostly accurate.One of our predecessor denominations was the “Evangelical and Reformed Church,” which was itself a union of two German immigrant denominational traditions, German Reformed and German Evangelical, which has minimal to do with the “evangelicalism” as we understand it today. In other parts of the world in Christian traditions evangelical often just means not Catholic.

        My UCC polity teacher would be proud.

    • 0

      Glennon might consider herself evangelical. I know some UCC folks who use the term, though it isn’t common, despite the history of it’s use in our predecessor denomination. The people who I know use the term with the hope of reclaiming the it from fundamentalists. And, she seems to be friends when some self- avowed evangelical Christian bloggers. Maybe that’s why she’s called evangelical. But she has long voiced support for LGBTQ folks and has been criticized for on-line. She’s not new to progressive religious circles.

  5. 0

    So this makes me very unhappy, mostly because I’m not even through Stage One of my plan to woo Abby (yes I know about the problematic-ness, but the heart wants what the heart wants…). But also a little bit because evangelical Christianity makes me unhappy? Oh well. That /is/ a fantastic smile. Hopefully this is the beginning of a good chapter for her.

  6. 0

    Abby is still in the grips of her addiction and hasn’t yet learned how to live a sober life and be comfortable in her own skin in an identity other than “famous pro soccer player”. Don’t sobriety counselors recommend figuring out yourself and how to be on your own as a sober person before getting into a relationship?

    Glennon seems like a superficial person who is always hustling, always trying to sucker someone into buying a load of [email protected]

    They are the definition of Disfunction Junction. 🙁

    • 0

      I got into a relationship with my wife while still battling my addiction. I struggled to stay clean but she supported me and it made all the difference in the world. Going through the process of figuring yourself out is hard when you lack proper coping mechanisms and support. If you have someone that is willing to be there and help you grow, you can stay sober. You don’t always have to learn how to be sober on your own. I am sure they recommend that so that addicts can actually hold themselves accountable for their own actions instead of blaming someone else for their relapse or inability to remain clean.

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