Melissa Weisz and Pelayo Alvarez are hosts of the Forbidden Apple Podcast, which creates space for LGBTQ+ people to reclaim their spirituality—whatever that means to them.

Melissa is a former Orthodox Jew. Although she came out as queer, Melissa adores her family and the Hasidic Jewish community in which she was raised. As an actor, producer, and writer, Melissa aims to uplift the voices of marginalized people and communities.

Pelayo is originally from Spain and was raised catholic. He now lives in New York City and works for The United Nations in the field of international relations and global affairs.

Pelayo is passionate about discovering how different people around the world live their spirituality and appreciates what makes each story powerful.  He asks for practical advice and takeaways from different life perspectives and uses them for personal development and growth. Also, Pelayo has a YouTube channel where he curates life-changing ideas with a fun twist.

As hosts of the Forbidden Apple Podcast, Pelayo wants to prove that although people celebrate religion and spirituality in so many ways, at the same time, they share so much in common; Melissa wants the podcast to become a platform that gives people a voice, creates a community, and celebrates queerness.

Topics Discussed:

  • Faith and Identity: Observe other faiths to learn, love, and understand them
  • Spiritual Toolbox: Difference between appropriation versus appreciation
  • Podcast Purpose: Deep conversations about religion, spirituality, and queerness
  • Deconstruction: What’s religion? Faith? Spirituality? Different but same elements
  • Meaningful Blessings: What works and what doesn’t when reclaiming words
  • Spiritual vs. Religious: What’s the separation? Good and right, or bad and wrong
  • Divine Virtue: 81% of queer people in U.S. grow up in some organized religion
  • Discover Why: Do you follow traditional values/morals or free to make your own?

Links and Resources:

Melissa Weisz
Pelayo Alvarez
Pelayo Alvarez’s YouTube Channel
The Forbidden Apple Podcast
Your Spiritual Toolbox
Queer Virtue by Elizabeth Edman
Ross Murray from GLAAD
Made, Known, Loved: Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Youth Ministry by Ross Murray
Find Your Why by Simon Sinek
Rev. Elizabeth Edman on the Inherent Queerness of Christianity
Masterclass: 4 Practices You Can Start Now to Move Beyond Shame
Queerology Podcast on Instagram

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