The Journey of Mashaun Simon, a Black, Gay, Southern, Pastor. After he turned his back on all organized religion, Simon finally discovered that love, true love, isn’t constrained by the boundaries of religion, sexual orientation, or race. The esteemed writer, podcast host, pastor, and antiracism activist shares his inspiring story with us.

Finding Home: The Journey of a Black, Gay, Southern, Pastor

With Featured Guest

Mashaun Simon


Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • Find a community that supports and nurtures you and then stay there!
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own choices, even when it’s uncomfortable.
  • Sharing your wins is a great way to motivate and inspire others, especially those who look up to you and support you.
  • Your family history does not define you. You have the power to define yourself!

A Little Black Boy from Georgia

“I’ve done some pretty impressive things in my life, written for some impressive publications, gone to some impressive schools, but I’m still just a little black boy from Decatur Georgia.”

These are the words of a same-gender-loving (his words, not mine) preacher from the South.

Mashaun grew up in a family that always placed a premium on education. As a result, he’s become a well-educated man with several scholarly achievements. Mashaun Simon is a prolific writer whose bylines have appeared on new outlets likes NBC News and CNN. He also has decades of experience in theological and social disciplines. 

Crediting his natural curiosity and his background, Mashaun is humble about his accomplishments. We would like to brag about him a bit though because he truly deserves it.

This is how Mashaun Simon found “home.”

It’s the Journey of a Black, Gay, Southern, Pastor.

The road to self-discovery

While it may seem crazy to some, Mashaun admits he discovered his sexuality in kindergarten. He just knew. Sometimes it happens that way (and sometimes, like in our host, Heather Vickery’s case, it doesn’t). He recalls that he preferred to take naps next to two of his playmates, John and Chucky. Those relationships with male friends always felt more comfortable and aligned for Mashaun.

Unsurprisingly and like many members of the LGBTQ community, Mashaun kept his sexual orientation secret for a while.

The first time he opened up about his sexuality was to a very close friend in the fifth-grade. He was skeptical about how his friend would respond, but luckily, this friend had cousins who identified as gay, thus his reaction was like “yeah, whatever.” 

Unfortunately, this was a false positive because not everyone had the same response.

Rough roads ahead

While writing for a local newspaper, Mashaun unintentionally, publically,  revealed his sexuality. Proud of the writing being published, he shared these articles and their photos on social media.   

 His family didn’t take the news well at all, due to his traditionally conservative background,

This rejection continued throughout Mashaun’s adult life. Even when he got married his parents refused to attend. Only his sisters and a few of his close friends showed up for the celebration of love. Mashaun still maintains a close relationship with those who have continued to love and support him, especially his sisters.


Finding a community

After revealing his sexuality, Mashaun became confused by the reaction of his family and the church. This is when he turned his back on everything that had been familiar to him and left the church.

Mashaun says that just like Hagar in the bible, he left familiar territory and went away from what was safe and secure.

Much later, a friend convinced him to try a new church. Here Mashaun found a community that was accepting of his sexuality and his faith. The Unity Fellowship Church Atlanta, where Mashaun found his new Church Home, is what is known as an inclusive and an affirming church that openly welcomed same-gender-loving people to worship.

He has since settled in that community and is committed to serving and helping as many people as he can.

You can follow Mashaun on Twitter and LinkedIn and learn more about him on his website. He also hosts the B4NINE Podcast.

Mashaun Simon is a writer and ordained preacher based in Atlanta whose work centers on race awareness, equity, and fairness.

Some of his featured articles are linked below.

The Dignity Museum shares stories of people living in poverty

A church without walls offers unconditional acceptance to people who are homeless

Spelman College Becomes Second Women's Only HBCU to Admit Transgender Students

Giving is Good

AID Atlanta is a non-profit organization committed to reacting, responding to, and eradicating HIV and AIDS from our global society.

Since Mashaun lost his brother to complications arising from HIV/AIDS, he has become committed to finding and creating ways to be an advocate for the community of people who are living with AIDS. He’s proud of the work of this non-profit and is a huge supporter. His aim is to be a support system for those living with the disease.

"I used to struggle with being the center of attention, so sharing [my story] was difficult but I'm learning to share because it motivates and inspires others."

- Mashaun Simon

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

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