Tina Richerson grew up off the grid (without electricity or running water) in a part-member LDS home in rural Washington state, where her mother taught her faithfulness, charity, and to follow Jesus Christ. At age 13, while praying, Tina received a spiritual confirmation that, just like her uncle Michael, she too was gay.|
Tina is classically trained in saxophone performance. Two years after receiving a Masters degree in Music from the University of Washington, she joined The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet and Drums. The group is named after jazz musician Billy Tipton, who lived and worked as a man. Upon his death in 1988, paramedics discovered, to the shock of his 3 adopted sons, that Tipton was female. When Tina is not touring with the Tiptons, she can be found playing with her own jazz quartet in New York City.
In addition to her LDS upbringing, Tina’s life has been enriched by experiences in other religious traditions. In college she accompanied a girlfriend to a Pentecostal church, where she was received with open arms and felt God’s unconditional grace. Later she found a new spiritual path as she explored Zen Buddhism and began practicing daily sessions of meditation.
Eventually, Tina read the writings of a Buddhist monk who affirms that one cannot simply convert to Buddhism and leave one’s religious roots behind—that there must be a union of Buddhist practice and what one was raised to believe. “When I read this, I knew it to be true.” Tina says, “I knew that eventually I would have to return to the [LDS] church.”
Tina is now active in her local LDS ward, where she’s out as a lesbian woman, and with the New York chapter of Affirmation, which she co-chairs. Last March she spoke at the Relief Society of her Park Slope Brooklyn Ward as part of their “Women in Faith” lecture series, where she shared the story of her life.
“I have learned that God’s will is not what I thought,” Tina told her Relief Society sisters. “I didn’t need to spend years trying to make myself straight. I just needed to ask for the guidance and courage to become who He created me to be, and He has given it to me, and continues to give it to me.”
Tina concluded her lecture by quoting 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”
To hear Tina play the saxophone, visit her official website or the band’s website at www.tiptonssaxquartet.com.