Jackie Hill Perry (born June 21, 1989) is an American poet, writer, and hip-hop artist from St. Louis, Missouri. Hill-Perry rose to prominence after performing spoken word pieces at the Passion 4 Christ Movement, including “My Life as a Stud,” “A Poem About Weed,” and “Jig-a-Boo” (P4CM). She has written about Christianity and homosexuality for numerous Christian ministry organizations, including The Resurgence and John Piper’s Desiring God. In January 2014, she signed with Humble Beast, a Christian hip hop company located in Portland, Oregon, and on November 4, 2014, she published her debut album, which was accessible both commercially and for free. Hill married Preston Perry, another spoken word performer, in March 2014, and they have four children together. She stated that she is expecting a second child in 2021.
Hill-Perry recognized she was a lesbian at the age of seventeen after a childhood incident with sexual abuse contributed to her doubt about her gender identity. Until her conversion to Christianity in 2008, she lived a life of sexual promiscuity and struggled with drug and pornography addiction.
HCFA Invites ‘Ex-Gay’ Speaker, Which Provokes Protest
Students and staff gathered in Emerson Hall Friday night with rainbow-colored posters and pride flags to protest Jackie Hill-Perry, a speaker invited by the Christian group Harvard College Faith and Action who has been an outspoken critic of homosexuality.
Hill-Perry has repeatedly talked publicly about her sexual inclinations, claiming on her website that she was “saved from a lifestyle of homosexual depravity and the like.” She states that God guided her to see that continuing to be in a gay relationship was against Christian principles. Some students condemned HCFA for inviting Hill-Perry to school, accusing her of being homophobic and claiming she supports conversion therapy, a controversial treatment that aims to change a person’s sexual identity or orientation.
Hill-Perry was invited to campus as part of HCFA’s weekly Doxa meeting, a weekly gathering in which members worship, exchange testimony, and listen to the week’s featured speaker. In an interview on Thursday, HCFA co-presidents Scott C. Ely ’18 and Molly L. Richmond ’18 said they invited Hill-Perry because of her “compelling tale.”
Ppl please watch the video. The snippet quoted was about what the white man thinks the black man can do. Start at 6:20… heck watch the entire video, might make more sense.#JackieHillPerryhttps://t.co/aE0Cui28PL pic.twitter.com/HC8vqCRNoC
— SOSAved (@GrissetOfficial) May 25, 2022
“It was never our desire to stir up trouble,” Richmond stated. “We didn’t intend for this dialogue to be exclusively internal, and we didn’t expect it to reach such a big audience.”
Regardless, Both Indicated Protesters Were Welcome to Attend the Event
“Everyone who wants to come and be a part of the celebration is welcome,” Ely stated. “Doxa has always been a place where we aspire to commune, confront, and transform; our group’s objective for Doxa is to do just that,” Hill-Perry advised homosexual Christians to forego same-sex relationships out of a feeling of obligation to God in her speech on Friday. She addressed a large gathering in Emerson 105, a lecture hall with a capacity of roughly 300 persons.
“The Christian’s example for how we are to deny ourselves, whether it applies to our greed or our lust, self-denial is not optional,” she stated. Those who pursue same-sex inclinations, she argues, are “broken.” “There is no such thing as being born queer,” Hill-Perry added, “but there is such a thing as being born shattered, broken by sin.”
Approximately two dozen students and faculty members attended the gathering to protest Hill-speech Perry in silence. Demonstrators gathered in the lecture hall’s back row, brandishing placards that read “One Queer Harvard” and “Gay—in It’s My DNA.”
Liam F. Keohane ’19, an HCFA member who said he helped organize the demonstration, stated his purpose in protesting Hill Perry was to raise awareness “among the larger Harvard community” about her “problematic views on homosexuality.”
“People were astonished,” he explained, “since generally Doxa brings in outside speakers, occasionally contentious speakers, but not particularly provocative speakers.” “Certainly not someone on a speaking tour preaching suppressing the sexual desire for the sake of Jesus.”
Some of the professors who attended the protest on Friday night expressed their disagreement with Hill-views Perry on sexuality. “This speaker’s past and the things she continues to promote are things that basically exclude and threaten the survival of queer people on campus,” said Ahmed Ragab, a Divinity School professor. “I believe having a speaker who supports this type of talk is a concern.”
Other faculty members stated they joined the rally to show support for Harvard’s gay students. Sophia Roosth, a history of science professor, said she went because she wanted queer-identifying Harvard undergraduate and graduate students to know that they may live “a life that is both queer and religiously meaningful.”
As word of Hill-visit Perry’s went throughout campus via social media earlier this week, some students—including some HCFA members—began circulating a petition asking the religious group to revoke the invitation. To date, the petition has received over 200 signatures.
“Ms. Hill-Perry, a self-described Christian activist, has built a career on bigotry and ignorance while claiming to be on a faith journey,” the petition states. “We are extremely concerned that HCFA is providing Ms. Hill-Perry with such a prominent platform to express her damaging and racist opinions.”