Best Local Boy Made Good St. Louis 2013 - Father Gary Meier
Father Gary Meier was never in the closet. But he did keep the fact that he is a gay man under the radar while he was an active priest. However, as the anti-gay rhetoric of the Catholic Church ramped up in the years following the pedophilia scandals, Meier became increasingly uncomfortable with the "don't ask, don't tell" approach to his parish. By 2011 that frustration led him to publish the book Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest under the pen name "Anonymous." In the work, Meier tried to offer words of encouragement for gay Catholics, especially teenagers, and for those who support them. Eventually, he decided that wasn't enough. He stepped out of the shadows and claimed ownership of the book, and of his sexuality, in May of this year. Overnight, the news went viral. That's not surprising, given it's possible to count the number of openly gay priests on one hand. Meier has become something of a de facto spokesperson for the gay clergy, and with the number of suicides attributed to young people struggling with their sexuality, it's not a stretch to say that his actions may save lives.