OUTstanding Virginians 2009

Mel White & Gary Nixon

Founders of Lynchburg-based Soulforce

After a career of writing for right-wing religious zealots including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham, Mel White accepted and embraced his status as a gay man in 1994. He wrote a book about the experience titled, Stranger at the Gate.  Mel and his partner, Gary Nixon, formed Souforce, based in Lynchburg. Soulforce is a social justice and civil rights organization resisting political and religious oppression of LGBT people through dialogue and non-violent direct action. Mel has received the ACLU’s National Civil Liberties Award. He is also a minister with Metropolitan Community Church.