As February draws to a close, so do Black History Month in the US and LGBT History Month in the UK. It seems, then, an appropriate point to introduce readers to the Revd Augustine Tanner-Ihm.

Born to a Jehovah’s Witness family and brought up in an impoverished black neighbourhood of Chicago, Augustine was a teenager when he realised he was gay. He knew from his cultural and religious background, however, as well as his recently found evangelical faith, that being a ‘practising homosexual’ was not an option. A book given him by a mentor was his introduction to the idea that with enough effort, he could change his sexuality.

Life took him to Liverpool, England, where he found a church home and, looking for support in his struggle with his orientation, he joined a group he soon realised was practising a form of conversion therapy, where “very much the goal was for you to be able to marry the opposite sex.” Vulnerable in what he has described as an oppressive atmosphere, he felt duty-bound to remain because his visa was essentially in the church’s control.

He describes his experience in news articles for the Manchester Evening News and The Independent. Now the Reverend Dr Augustine Tanner-Ihm, he is an ordained priest in the Church of England and curate of St James and Emmanuel, Manchester – an evangelical parish whose journey to becoming LGBTQ+ affirming is told in the short documentary below (TW: suicide):

Find out more about Augustine, including his work as an educator and academic, at, or follow @augustineihm on Twitter/X.

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