Reverend Dr. Cheri DiNovo, C.M.

Qu(e)erying Evangelism

Qu(e)erying Evangelism chronicles Cheri DiNovo’s attempts as a minister to expand the membership of a rapidly shrinking congregation in a poor, inner city Toronto neighborhood. As a result, DiNovo discovers that, in her congregation’s decision to evangelize among the marginalized and “queer” in their neighborhood, church members are radically changed by realizing how “queer” or different they are themselves.

Qu(e)erying Evangelism asks: How do we understand evangelism biblically and in a completely new way? How does one be a queer theologian in a traditional pastorate and not only be faithful to a queer Christ but grow a congregation with all sorts of differences of opinion? How does the presence of the transgendered/transsexual—or indeed everyone perceived as different—challenge both the theology and praxis of a mainline denomination?

Winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Spirituality & Religion

Praise for Qu(e)erying Evangelism

"DiNovo states clearly that the time has come for same gender loving people to embrace the responsibility to use the lessons learned on the margins to effect positive change in the mainline church. What a great example of evolutionary grace!"​
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder​
Senior Pastor, City of Refuge United Church of Christ​
"For DiNovo, evangelism is not about marketing strategies and counting numbers; it is about re-energizing the church to the call of Christ and Christ's extravagant welcome, a call that both questions and 'queers' who is the real evangelist, who is the church, and who are actually the outsiders."​
Dr. Mary Ann Tolbert​
Executive Director, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Pacific School of Religion​

The Queer Evangelist

Cheri DiNovo went from living on the streets as a teenager to performing the first legal same-sex marriage registered in Canada in 2001 as a United Church minister. This story of one queer kid will hopefully inspire other young people (queer and not) to resist the system and change it.

In The Queer Evangelist, Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo (CM) tells her story, from her roots as a young socialist activist in the 1960s to ordained minister in the ‘90s to member of provincial parliament. As the New Democratic member representing Parkdale-High Park in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2006 to 2017, DiNovo passed more LGBTQ bills than anyone in Canadian history. She describes the behind-the-scenes details of major changes to the law, including Toby’s Law, the first Transgender Rights legislation in North America in a major jurisdiction. She also passed bills banning conversion therapy, proclaiming parent equality for LGBTQ parents, and for enshrining in Ontario law the Trans Day of Remembrance. On this day in the legislature, the provincial government is mandated to observe a minute of silence while Trans murders and suicides are detailed.

Interspersed with her political work DiNovo describes her conversion to religious life, her theological work, and her ongoing struggle with the Christian Right. Cheri DiNovo’s story shows how queers can be both people of faith and critics of religion, illustrating how one can resist and change the repressive systems from within. Her book is the story of queer justice realized and a story of hope for queer (and other) kids everywhere.


“Cheri DiNovo, a queer activist, minister and former politician, has had a life and career making space for LGBTQ people both in church and state. Ordained in the United Church, she offered a place for two spirit and LGBTQ people at Emmanuel Howard Park United Church and made history performing Canada’s first same sex marriage before it was formally legalized. Later, she moved to Queen’s Park as a member of provincial parliament (MPP) and championed queer issues like conversion therapy and LGBTQ parent equality, eventually pushing through more LGTBQ legislation than any politician in Canadian history. DiNovo documents it all in her memoir “The Queer Evangelist.””
-Brian Bradley, Toronto Star