Title: Oral History Interview with Patricia Long, November 14, 1996. Interview G-0215.
Interviewer: Honeycutt, Sherry
Interviewee: Long, Patricia
Subjects: Homosexuality--Religious aspects--Baptists Lesbians--Religious life--North Carolina Long, Patricia Pullen Memorial Baptist Church (Raleigh, N.C.)
Abstract: Patricia Long was raised in Virginia in a religious household. After attending religious schools, Long briefly attended a Baptist seminary before a prolonged illness forced her to withdraw. Long eventually settled in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she became a member of Pullen Baptist Church. It was because of her involvement with Pullen—known for its progressive views on "controversial" issues—that Long finally came to terms with her sexuality in the late 1980s. Long explains that while she had always known she was a lesbian and had had a long-term relationship with a woman, she had been unable to reconcile her faith with her sexuality. During the late 1980s, however, she met Mahan Siler, a progressive minister at Pullen. When Siler began to speak out in support of gay and lesbian rights within the religious community, Long began to come out to people in the church and began to take a more active role in the gay community in Raleigh. In 1991, Pullen Baptist Church made the decision to support holy unions between gay and lesbian couples. Because she was a member of the board, Long is able to offer an insider's perspective on how the church came to this decision and how the congregation responded. While the decision to support and allow holy union resulted in the Southern Baptist Convention's breaking ties with Pullen Baptist Church, Long argues that most people lauded the decision. She concludes by briefly describing her other activities in the gay and lesbian liberation movement and discussing Pullen's reputation for progressive social activism.