Why Ross Murray Became Involved
Ross Murray, Director of Religion, Faith & Values at GLAAD
I never intended to be a professional gay, but was called to work at the intersection of LGBT life and religion. My background is in youth ministry, but found out early on that there was a gap in ministry for LGBT youth. Because of that gap, I worked with two friend to develop The Naming Project. At the same time, I began producing conferences for LGBT Christians. I envisioned what I did as a direct ministry to LGBT people, but I recognized that there was more needed to change structures. I worked to change the LGBT policies of my own denomination (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and then have worked to apply those principles to wider society, which eventually led into my work at GLAAD.
I do the work that I do because I deeply love my faith, and I see my work as being good for the church that I love. I tend to look beyond legal/policy arguments and take a moral/theological argument. I both work to articulate the worldview of LGBT inclusion myself, and lift up voices that can talk to their particular contexts.
I have taught adjunct courses at Augsburg College in general studies, critical thinking, and developmental education. In my LGBT professional life, I've been a trainer and community organizer. I have led trainings and workshops on public narrative, community organizing, LGBT welcome, and ministry with LGBT youth. I've also trained people to be media spokespeople, and prepared them to speak or write on LGBT issues in the media.
Research, Public Policy, and Creative Endeavors
Much of my work is intended to continue to keep public opinion on the side of LGBT equality. I have written and spoken on numerous media outlets, such as CNN, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Religion News Service. Through GLAAD, I published 'Missing Voices', which analyzes messages presented in national news outlets by religious voices about issues affecting the LGBT community. The research, a three year study of 316 news stories about LGBT issues, using 1,387 different religious sources on national television and print news media, shows a disproportionate reliance on anti-LGBT religious voices commenting on LGBT people and issues. The bulk of my writing is for the GLAAD blog, which comments and critiques on LGBT issues and religion in the media.