On March 3, 2018, Xorje Olivares interviewed Jay Malsky, a drag performer and “leader” of the LGBTQ+ ministry at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in New York City. The interview appeared on the LGBT on-line platform “them.” Malsky has been in charge of the parish’s Gay Straight Catholic Alliance for the past five years. The article accompanies a video, also from them., entitled “Can You Be Queer And Religious?” The video profiles three gay individuals, including Malsky, who share their experiences about being “queer” and religious. In the video, Malsky appears inside St. Francis de Sales Church. Masky stated:
I would not have come-out as a gay man, if it weren’t for my church. I would not go walking through the streets in make-up and in drag if it weren’t for my faith in Jesus.
He is then seen putting on a long red wig in front of the sanctuary.
In the video, Malsky also said:
I believe that Jesus loves me because I am gay, not in spite of my sexuality.
He described his family as “very supportive.” But continued: “It can be tough because I am a little bit more outspoken and because I am doing this interview with nail polish on.”
Concerning his Catholic upbringing, he said:
I was raised Catholic…I felt fortunate enough to grow up in a church that was much more about lifting myself and others around me up.
Lastly, Malsky stated:
Religion is an institution and the study of human sexuality is so small in comparison to the history of the Church. But I recognize that it’s not gonna catch up in my lifetime to where I am at as a gay man. But who knows, maybe the world will surprise me.
In the video, Malsky is shown serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.
Earlier this year, on March 16, 2018, Olivares interviewed Malsky for them. Malsky, according to the article, stated that a priest helped him come to terms with his sexuality: “Malsky says the clergyman reassured him that God made him gay and loved him regardless. It wasn’t too surprising considering the pastor ran the school’s gay support group.” When he lived in Florida, Malsky was asked to join The Knights of Columbus, but he refused; in the interview, he said: “Being around older men might be sort of a dream now…” In his article about Malsky, Olivares mocked Catholics who have criticized the idea of a “drag performer” leading a Catholic LGBT ministry:
A few “devout” conservatives have even written about Malsky online and criticized him for his professional persona, referring to him as “a homosexual drag queen performer who openly celebrates sodomy in obscenity-laden posts on his Twitter feed.” (If that doesn’t convince you Malsky is fun to hang with, I don’t know what will.)
When asked: “Do you find greater joy in your sexuality or spirituality?”
I think all of that joy is the same; it’s all interconnected. Being a drag performer, that’s me being as godly as I can, because I’m being true to myself. Leading the LGBTQ+ group is an extension of godliness. I also sing in the choir at church, and so for to me, it’s all part of one beautiful experience. If I’m pushing myself to be as true as I want to be, then I’m doing what God wants me to do in this world. That’s joyful to me.
On August 6, 2017, Malsky posted a crude drawing of an erect penis to his Facebook timeline and included this message:
This is my boyfriend’s fat di*k. Ever since I was in middle school, kids teased me about loving fat di*k but I’m like whatever what I do with these fat di*ks is my biz not yours. #bodypositive #sexpositive
On February 13, 2018, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish, celebrated Mardi Gras with “an evening of comedy” hosted by Jay Malsky. Malsky once headlined his own production “Jay Malsky Slept with My Boyfriend;” in a still from the performance, Malsky is pictured holding a large dildo. According to a description for the show:
“Jay Malsky has slept with a number of straight men. Some of their girlfriends have found out! Now they are putting Jay through his own Salem Witch Trial.”
St. Francis de Sales is a diocesan parish staffed by priests of the Archdiocese of New York. The current Pastor is Philip J. Kelly.
Xorje Olivares is a New York City based writer, blogger and radio host, Olivares is featured in both the “Owning Our Faith” documentary and in an extended interview produced by the Out at St. Paul LGBT ministry hosted by the Paulist Fathers at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New York City. Olivares recently interviewed James Martin for Vice.com, was featured along with Martin in a segment of ABC’s “Nightline,” and he interviewed Martin at St. Paul the Apostle.
In “Owning Our Faith,” Olivares said:
It’s what God wanted me to be. I’ve always felt that way. I’ve always felt that if God had wanted me to be straight then I would have been straight. If God wanted me to be gay then He chose for me to be gay.
I’m not necessarily frustrated with the Catholic Church in terms of what they are saying with regards to LGBT people or just gay marriage as a whole because I think we as LGBT people need to understand that this is [a] several thousand year old institution and change is coming…We should ask other LGBT Catholics to understand that it’s just an education process. Once we tell that Church that we’re here then maybe conversation will be different…It’s a two-way street.
Writing about St. Paul the Apostle Parish, in an interview with Martin, Olivares wrote:
Thankfully, New York City affords my church gays and me the opportunity to live and pray as freely as we wish. And while we’re blessed to have a way of expressing our sexuality and spirituality, you’ll find no shortage of queer Catholics nationwide who fear persecution from their clergymen and congregations.
I never felt this call to be celibate. I was surrounded by straight people and all the good kids were going to church, but you knew they were having sex anyway. So why do they get a pass but people like me don’t? I thought, well if he said God created me this way, then what issue would be taken with however way I choose to express myself? Now that I’ve become part of the particular church group that I’m in, this conversation about how unrealistic it is for LGBTQ+ people to be called to the celibate life when no one else is adhering to that. Straight people within the church are trying to control our lives because they want to be able to control it and make our sexuality more palatable for them, but more difficult for us to actually live it.
In a 2016 article for Vice.com titled “How to Be Gay in the Catholic Church,” Olivares wrote:
Lord knows that I love dick… and He has for quite some time. In fact, it’s been His will for roughly 29 years that I should solely find members of my sex attractive, and engage in physical (and often deeply spiritual) relationships with them in hopes of finding love. Who am I, a God-fearing Catholic, to question that? Jesus said to love my neighbor, and I can’t help that Grindr says the nearest one is 264 feet away.
Grindr is a geosocial networking app catering to “gay” men designed to facilitate sexual encounters with other men in their area.
Please contact the Archdiocese of New York:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
1011 First Ave
New York, NY 10022