RACHEL GLEASON

Poet. Performer.
Motivational Speaker.

“I want to scream like Joshua screamed.
I want to be red-faced and holy.
I want to scream until the walls I have built,
unimaginably high, inconceivably thick,
that mortar and brick, begins to crumble split by the
force of my sound.”
-The Other Side of Jericho

BIO

As a poet, performer, and motivational speaker, Rachel Gleason’s sharp tongue and soulful heart, educate, encourage, and inspire.

Raised in a controlling and abusive fundamentalist church, Gleason’s voice as an artist over the last decade has been a backlash against rigid structures of sexuality, gender, and spirituality.

Their coming out story was highlighted on NPR in a series about identity, acceptance and forgiveness in West Michigan’s LGBTQ community and they have spoken and performed at LGBTQ events and universities across the country.

Today, their work can be seen as coming full circle, often speaking at churches, colleges and more, sharing poems that find God in hidden places, telling stories of personal struggles and triumphs, and calling people of all denominations and creeds to live their highest purpose.

Gleason is also the Director of Education of The Diatribe, a nonprofit organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan dedicated to uniting and inspiring the youth through poetry.

“Rachel Gleason’s poetry is insightful and powerful. Her public presentations are an inspiration to people of all ages. She is a model for everyone to speak their truth.”

– Leslie Newman
Event Coordinator,
C3 Inclusive Spiritual Connection

PERFORMANCES

UPCOMING EVENTS

Rachel regularly performs and speaks all over West Michigan. 

Along with The Diatribe and The Drunken Retort, also brings poets and speakers from all over the US right here to Grand Rapids.

To see all upcoming events, visit the Facebook page.

HEARTSIDE

PRIDE

“Grand Rapids spoken word poet Rachel Gleason performed with ferocity as she told her life story through poems, songs and conversation. Using a prominent theme of strength through vulnerability in her poetry, the poet left a mark on Central Michigan University students who attended the performance.” -CMU Life Magazine

“Rachel Gleason has been a guest teacher at Open Circle on several occasions. She is a uniquely gifted communicator who generously and vulnerably offers her poems, stories, and wisdom – and most importantly – her presence to everyone she encounters. The world needs more Rachel Gleason.” – Matt Laidlaw, Spiritual Director, Author

BOOK

A NEW KIND OF REBELLION

Including poems that pull back the curtain on growing up LGBTQ in an evangelical home, “New Kind of Rebellion” is as refreshing as it is intimate.

Since she was a child, Gleason was never taught to see the strength in herself as a woman — something many women struggle with. Her message as an artist is now one of strength through vulnerability.

At just under forty pages, “New Kind of Rebellion” is literally a light summer read, but is also an image-driven journey into the depth of one woman’s resolve against societal and religious norms.

“Her words are true, raw, emotional and inspirational. Rachel shines a light on issues that often stay in the dark. Her words are powerful. This book is empowering. It stirs the spirit and awakens the soul. Her words are of great value. Rachel thank you for your bravery. Thank you for the gift of your words.”
– Sarah P.

“Maybe I should apologize
to all of the small things
that I broke
in order to feel powerful:
Every crayon in the pencil box
when I was three years old
just because I could
and it felt good.
The countless sticks
I cracked against the trunks of towering
silver maples when I wanted to feel
as free as the dancing leaves.
My mother’s heart
when I was nineteen
and I just wanted to be me.”
-On Breaking Clouds

CONTACT

Contact Rachel to inquire about speaking engagements, book performances and connect with one of West Michigan’s most engaging, inspiring activists.

EMAIL RACHEL

Rachel Gleason LGBTQ Motivational Speaker, Performer and Poet - RachelGleason.com

Poet. Performer. Motivational Speaker.

“When I grow up I wanna be a bad boy
I wanna be taken away kicking and screaming. I wanna be on a chopper and leaning into the curve of a new kind of rebellion” – Bad Boy

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