Carl Bean (May 26, 1944 – September 7, 2021) was an American singer and activist who was the founding prelate of the Unity Fellowship Church Movement,[1] a liberal protestant denomination that is particularly welcoming of lesbians, gay and bisexual African Americans. Before founding the first church of the denomination, the Unity Fellowship Church, Los Angeles, in 1975, Bean was a Motown and disco singer, noted particularly for his version of the early gay liberation song "I Was Born This Way". He was openly gay.[2]

In 1982, Bean became an activist, working on behalf of people with AIDS.

Bean's autobiography, I Was Born This Way, came out in 2010. He died at the age of 77 in 2021.[3]


  1. ^ Rapp, Linda (2004), "Bean, Carl",, archived from the original on March 18, 2010, retrieved April 23, 2010
  2. ^ "Lady Gaga celebrates 10 years of 'Born This Way' and the gay Black preacher who inspired it".
  3. ^ Archbishop Carl Bean has passed away