Biography

For seven years I studied philosophy and theology in preparation for ordination to priesthood at the African Missions College twenty-six miles from Belfast. This happened during the inception of the troubles in Northern Ireland. After ordination in 1971 I worked with the Bemba people for two years in North Central Zambia before going to the U.S.A.

I have an interdisciplinary doctorate in counselling psychology and theology from Fordham University and New York Theological Seminary. For fifteen successive years I was Theological Consultant to the Board of Directors of Dignity New York - an organization for Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered and Bisexual Catholics and their friends - and founded the AIDS/HIV Ministry of Dignity New York in 1982, which continues its work to the present day.

For over ten years I was a member of the Mayor of New York's voluntary Task Force on HIV/AIDS, and was the only Roman Catholic priest to testify before the City Council for the successful passage of Civil Rights legislation for the LGBTQI+ community in 1986. I continued my work with HIV/AIDS in London until 2011. Presently I am available on an advisory capacity for HIV/AIDS work.

I have been profiled three times on Channel Four.

In February 1993 my book, 'A Priest on Trial' was published by Bloomsbury Press. Since then I have published articles on Spirituality and Sexuality in different magazines, as well as participating in TV and Radio programmes on similar subjects. I have been interviewed many times by Sky News and the BBC. I participated in Protest the Pope (You Tube Father Bernard Lynch). My book 'If It Wasn't Love, Sex, Death and God' was published by Circle Books in 2012. In 2013, Zeinab Badawi interviewed me for HARDTALK for the BBC World Service.

I continue to work as priest and psychotherapist especially in areas of social justice and oppression. For ten years I chaired Camden LGBT Forum. In 2015 I became the first representative of the Irish LGBT community to City Hall for the London Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

I participated in the Irish Marriage Referendum by augmenting the 'Take the Boat to Vote' in London. I participated in organising the victory party to celebrate a world first in LGBTQI+ equality by the Irish people on May 22nd 2015.

January 2017 brought the culmination of a Life Dream when I married my husband Billy Desmond on the Wild Atlantic Coast near where I was born. The occasion was honoured by the President of Ireland giving us a private audience. New York City Council honoured my Life Work by presenting me with a Proclamation on January 27th the day of our wedding.

In November 2019 I received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad from President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin.

In October 2020 I was made an Icon of the Equality Forum's U.S.A. LGBT History Month.