On July 1, 2019, Rev. Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis joined United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities as assistant professor for social transformation and director for the social transformation programs.
Recently the director of communications at the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion, Sabia-Tanis is an expert in religion, gender and sexuality, and queer studies. His Ph.D. dissertation, "Queer Bodies, Sacred Subject" explores the ways contemporary artists from different countries use spiritual themes to convey radical inclusion and sacred sexuality.
Over the course of his career, Sabia-Tanis has held leadership roles in academic, religious and LGBTQ organizations, including as director of leadership development for Metropolitan Community Churches in Los Angeles, director of communications for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates in San Francisco, managing director of the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion, and research fellow at Protestantse Theologische Universiteit, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He is author of Transgender: Ministry, Theology and Communities of Faithand coauthor of Injustice at Every Turn: The Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
Sabia-Tanis also brings an artistic background to United. His work has been on display in several venues, including the San Francisco Public Library, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and the O'Hanlon Center for the Arts. Because United has been a groundbreaking seminary in areas of social justice as well as one of only a handful of seminaries to offer a degree in theology and the arts, United's leaders were pleased to add someone with Sabia-Tanis' background and broad range of interests to the seminary's faculty. Justin's hire reflects a continuation of the legacy of United Christian Ethics professor James B. Nelson (1930-2015), author of the widely influential book Embodiment: an Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology, a work on sexuality and social justice said to be 40 years ahead of its time.
He has a PhD in interdisciplinary studies from Graduate Theological Union, a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.