The Metropolitan Community Church has faced prejudice from other Christians and derision from some LGBTQ people. But its message of belonging has stayed constant for 50 years.
Robert W. Fieseler is the author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, winner of the 2019 Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime and finalist for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction. He lives in New Orleans.
32 people were killed when fire engulfed the UpStairs Lounge gay bar in New Orleans in 1973. Black LGBT people say the struggle for respect and visibility in the city is ongoing.