Pastor fired for appearing in drag in HBO documentary

The pastor dressed in drag to show his support for the LGBT+ community and for his pansexual daughter

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 07 December 2021 21:30 GMT
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An Indiana pastor has allegedly been fired after he appeared in drag in HBO's "We're Here" documentary series.

The story was first reported at Queerty.

During the episode he is featured in, pastor Craig Duke dressed in drag to show support for queer and non-binary people, including his pansexual daughter.

People sympathetic to the pastor in his home of Evansville, Indiana, have organised a GoFundMe to help him while he searches for a new job.

"Unfortunately, Craig's participation in this show caused much turmoil in the church that he was serving at the time and ultimately lead to him being 'relieved of pastoral duties' at that church," a statement on the GoFundMe page said.

According to the GoFundMe page, Mr Duke will continue working with a "significantly" reduced salary until 28 February, after which he will be terminated from his job.

The GoFundMe page described Mr Duke as "a man of faith, a father, a husband, a social justice advocate, and ally for the LGBTQIA+ community." According to the fundraiser site, he has "fought for a fully inclusive church that is welcoming to people of all races, all genders, and all sexual orientations."

Several stars of the documentary publicly reacted to the news of Mr Duke's firing.

Eureka!, one of the show's central drag queens, issued a tweet supporting Mr Duke.

"Craig is an amazing person and deserves the same love that he shares with everyone around him," the tweet said.

Another star, Shangela, posted a video on Instagram on Monday voicing support for Mr Duke.

Shangela wrote that Mr Duke "has been bullied by a large portion of his church congregation out of his role because of his showcase of love for the LGBTQ+ community. Let's take a stand."

PEOPLE spoke with the show's co-creator, Stephen Warren, who said that they "expected resistance" to their show, but "we didn't expect this to happen to Craig."

Mr Duke's church, Newburgh United Methodist Church, has not directly responded to a request to comment, but the church did send PEOPLE the letter it sent to its membership, and suggested that the information being reported about Mr Duke "has been less than completely accurate”.

"No single resolution will be satisfactory to all. I've received numerous calls and emails that are highly critical of Craig's actions, and I've received numerous messages of support for him. In such a polarized climate, our main intent is to foster an environment in which both NUMC and the Duke family can move forward in grace," the church's statement said.

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