Eliel Cruz is a speaker and writer on religion and sexuality with five years of faith organizing experience on the intersections of faith, sexuality, and gender. He's the co-founder and former president of Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition, an organization that advocates for safe spaces for LGBT students at Seventh-day Adventist colleges. His work has also been published in Religion News Service, Upworthy, NBC News, OUT, DETAILS magazine, Daily Dot, The Advocate, Mic, The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Washington Post, Quartz, and Rolling Stone.   

He has a BBA & BA in International Business and French Studies from Andrews University.  

Posts By This Author

What’s Next for LGBTQ Christians?

by Eliel Cruz 08-02-2017
Justin Lee on His Exit from the Gay Christian Network and Reaching Across Divides

Sixteen years ago as a college student at Wake Forest University, Justin Lee created a website for LGBT Christians with the goal of creating a small online community. Now, the Gay Christian Network is a cornerstone organization in the LGBT Christian community. Its annual conference is credited as the largest gathering of LGBT Christians, many of whom have found a home within the community the organization has fostered. On July 20, the organization and Lee parted ways, saying in a joint statement that they “have come to realize they have differing perspectives on the operational needs of the ministry."

How Fear of Losing Funding Keeps LGBTQ-Affirming Pastors Quiet

by Eliel Cruz 05-11-2017

Image via ep_jhu/Flickr

“I just wish we could have had more conversation before funds got dropped from 20-plus backing churches and organizations,” Hale told Sojourners. “Rather than the conversation, we went straight to protocol. And that’s a sad reality of the way big business and denomination operates.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Complicated History with the LGBT Community

by Eliel Cruz 01-14-2016
The Roots of Ben Carson’s LGBT Comments Can Be Found in His Faith Tradition

Ben Carson speaks at CPAC Aug. 8, 2014 at National Harbor, Md. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon, has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia. He even suggested segregating bathrooms for the transgender population since it was unfair to make non-trans individuals uncomfortable. And this week, Carson referred to trans individuals as “abnormal” and said they should not be given “extra rights.” His comments on the LGBT community may seem outrageous to many — even to those in evangelical and mainline faith traditions who have left the “being gay is a choice” rhetoric in the past. Yet Carson, perhaps the most visibly religious presidential candidate, holds onto many of his anti-LGBT views.

If Carson’s faith affects his politics, it’s important to contextualize his conservative LGBT views with his church affiliation. Indeed, the Seventh-day Adventist Church espouses many similar views, which stem from a long, complicated history with the LGBT community.

When Christian Schools Make Campuses Less Safe

by Eliel Cruz 01-05-2016
A Flood of Title IX Waivers Are Creating Hostile Campuses for LGBT Students

Image via /Shutterstock.com

An influx of requests from Christian universities for the right to discriminate on the basis of gender identity have flooded the Department of Education. As many as sixty Christian schools have submitted requests for Title IX waivers since 2014, when the Department of Education announced their protections were inclusive of transgender students. Before this clarification, only a handful of universities had asked for such waivers in the 40-plus years since Title IX was established in 1972. But the decision to extend protections to transgender students has prompted dozens of Christian schools request these waivers.

Why I Hate to Go to Church

by Eliel Cruz 07-20-2015
seanbear / Shutterstock.com

Photo via seanbear / Shutterstock.com

I have to force myself to go to church.

Saturday mornings, when Seventh-day Adventists like me observe Sabbath, I lie in bed extra-long. Sometimes, I roll over and shut my eyes. Other times, I have to physically force myself to get up and prepare, both mentally and physically, to go.

It didn’t use to be this way. I remember waking up extra early as a preteen when I was excited to go to church. More than likely, I would be singing at both services, either in a choir or in special music. I would stay long hours after the service for evening vespers.

That all changed when I came out as bisexual. I no longer felt welcome at worship.

Why Franklin Graham’s Effort to Blacklist LGBT-Friendly Companies Won't Work

by Eliel Cruz 06-09-2015
Photo via REUTERS / Allison Shelley / RNS

Franklin Graham. Photo via REUTERS / Allison Shelley / RNS

If Graham is looking for national companies that have a zero rating, that’s going to be close to impossible. For companies that oppose LGBT equality, he’ll have to look at mom-and-pop shops in the 33 states that currently allow discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identity.

Soon, Graham might have to stash his cash under his mattress, send smoke signals, and grow his own food.