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Louie Crew

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Louie Clay
Ernest (l) & Louie (r) at civil marriage, 8/22/13
Born(1936-12-09)December 9, 1936
DiedNovember 27, 2019(2019-11-27) (aged 82)
Alma materBaylor University, Auburn University, University of Alabama
Occupation(s)Writer; emeritus professor; church politician
Years active1959-2019
Known forLGBT activism, publications

Erman Louie Clay (né Erman Louie Crew Jr.) (1936–2019) was an American professor emeritus of English at Rutgers University. He was best known for his long and increasingly successful campaign for the acceptance of gay and lesbian people by Christians in general, and the Episcopal Church in particular.[1]


Louie Crew was born December 9, 1936, in Anniston, Alabama. He has written about "Growing Up Gay in Dixie"[2]

Crew graduated from The McCallie School (1954), and received a B.A. from Baylor University (1958) a M.A. from Auburn University (1959) and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (1971).

Crew taught at Auburn University, Darlington School, St. Andrew's School (Delaware), Penge Secondary Modern School, London, University of Alabama, Experiment in International Living, Claflin University, Fort Valley State University, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, Beijing International Studies University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Rutgers University.

Louie Crew Clay died on November 27, 2019, 12 days shy of his 83rd birthday.


While teaching at Fort Valley State University, Crew founded Integrity USA, a gay-acceptance group within the Episcopal Church (1974).[3] With Julia Penelope, Crew co-founded the LGBT caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (1975). He served on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 1976 to 1978. After he moved to Wisconsin, he served on the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues in 1983.[1]

When Crew first began working for the inclusion of LGBT people in the Episcopal church, he was widely denounced and dismissed, but today the Episcopal Church has come to agree with many of his views, while some churches and dioceses are strongly opposed.[4]

Crew sat on the Episcopal Church's executive council (2000–2006). He was elected by the Episcopal Diocese of Newark to serve as a deputy to six triennial national General Conventions (1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009). He was a devoted Anglo-Catholic and for many years a member of Grace Church in Newark.[5]

Crew maintained a comprehensive Web site with information about the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.[6] Professor Ed Rodman at the Episcopal Divinity School says that Crew's first and foremost contribution was that "he brought internet literacy to the church".[7]


Louie Crew married Flora Mae Friedrich on May 25, 1968. She was his freshman English student in the spring of 1967. The marriage ended 5 years later in divorce.

Louie Crew married Ernest Clay on February 2, 1974,[8] although at the time their marriage had no legal standing. They married legally on August 22, 2013 and Crew took on his husband's last name.[1] The two are featured together in "Not That Kind of Christian", an 80-minute documentary film by Andrew Grossman, which premiered at the Breckenridge Film Festival in 2007.[9]

Queer Poet and Writer[edit]

Editors have published more than 2,638 of Crew's manuscripts, including his most recent book Letters from Samaria: The Prose & Poetry of Louie Crew Clay edited by Max Niedzwiecki (Morehouse, New York, 2015) plus four poetry volumes: Sunspots (Lotus Press, Detroit, 1976) Midnight Lessons (Samisdat, 1987), Lutibelle's Pew (Dragon Disks, 1990), and Queers! for Christ's Sake! (Dragon Disks, 2003) [10] Crew sometimes uses the noms de plume Li Min Hua, Quean Lutibelle, and Dr. Ddungo. YouTube has numerous videos of Crew reading his own poems.[11]

Crew wrote the first openly LGBT materials ever published by Christianity & Crisis, Change Magazine Chronicle of Higher Education, FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation), The Living Church and Southern Exposure. With Rictor Norton, Crew co-edited a special issue of College English on "The Homosexual Imagination" (November 1974). He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Homosexuality (1978–83; 1989-2012). He edited the 1978 book The Gay Academic, the book Telling Our Stories and the book 101 Reasons to Be Episcopalian.

Crew's papers are deposited in The Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan.



  1. ^ a b c "LGBT Religious Archives Network". Lgbtran.org. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  2. ^ "Southern Exposure 5.1 (1978)". Andromeda.rutgers.edu. 1996-02-14. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  3. ^ "IntegrityUSA.org". IntegrityUSA.org. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2003". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 2003-10-08. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  5. ^ "Pioneering LGBT Activist Louie Crew Clay Dies at 82". The Living Church. 2019-11-29. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  6. ^ Louie Clay. "The Anglican Pages of Louie Crew". Newark.rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  7. ^ "Meg Anderson Wagner's video "Dr. Louie Crew: The Episcopal Church"". Youtube.com. 2013-02-10. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  8. ^ "Two Grooms". Andromeda.rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  9. ^ "Not That Kind of Christian". Ntkoc.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  10. ^ "A complete list of Crew's publications". Rci.rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  11. ^ "Crew reading his own poems on Youtube". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.

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