“Radiates a genuine concern and belief in progress through slow, personal evolution…[Both sides] will benefit from the modeling of a kinder, more accommodating navigation of this culture war.” — Publishers Weekly

For more than 25 years, Justin Lee has been known for handling divisive issues with thoughtfulness and nuance. He is the author of Talking Across the Divide: How to Communicate with People You Disagree With and Maybe Even Change the World, which is now being used as a textbook in college classrooms to teach students how to navigate areas of disagreement.

Justin began his work in the 90s as a spokesperson for Bridges Across the Divide, an organization fostering dialogue across lines of disagreement about sexual orientation. In 2001, he founded a faith-based nonprofit to adapt these conversations for Christian faith communities, where he became internationally prominent for helping families stay together despite differing views on LGBTQ issues. His first book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, has become one of the most widely read books on that subject, gaining him a reputation as one of the only experts in the field to have a large following among both progressives and conservatives. An updated and expanded edition of Torn was released in 2024.

Today, Justin is a leading voice in navigating difficult issues in a divided culture. He has co-hosted three podcasts, spoken in seven countries, and been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, the Dr. Phil show, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, and NPR’s All Things Considered. He speaks to audiences across the political and ideological spectrum and has been interviewed by hosts ranging from the left-leaning Bill Maher to the right-leaning Laura Ingraham. In addition to his speaking and nonprofit work, Justin continues to address a variety of topics on his YouTube channel and his website at GeekyJustin.com.

Justin's Featured Titles

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

Worthy Books |
Gender & Sexuality in Religious Studies

An evangelical Christian examines the impact of sexuality, the LGBTQ+ movement, and the future of the church in this thoughtful, deeply researched guide to navigating and mending the social and political division in our families and churches.

As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed “God Boy” by his peers, he knew that he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew that he was gay. In this groundbreaking book, Lee recalls the events–his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the “ex-gay” movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible–that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance.

But more than just a memoir, TORN provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members–or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that “in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace,” Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.

Talking Across the Divide: How to Communicate with People You Disagree with and Maybe Even Change the World

Penguin Publishing Group |
Communication & Political Philosophy

A guide to learning how to communicate with people who have diametrically opposed opinions from you, how to empathize with them, and how to (possibly) change their minds

America is more polarized than ever. Whether the issue is Donald Trump, healthcare, abortion, gun control, breastfeeding, or even DC vs Marvel, it feels like you can’t voice an opinion without ruffling someone’s feathers. In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to build walls around yourself. You fill up your Twitter feed with voices that are angry about the same issues and believe as you believe. Before long, you’re isolated in your own personalized echo chamber. And if you ever encounter someone outside of your bubble, you don’t understand how the arguments that resonate so well with your peers can’t get through to anyone else. In a time when every conversation quickly becomes a battlefield, it’s up to us to learn how to talk to each other again.

In Talking Across the Divide, social justice activist Justin Lee explains how to break through the five key barriers that make people resist differing opinions. With a combination of psychological research, pop-culture references, and anecdotes from Justin’s many years of experience mediating contentious conversations, this book will help you understand people on the other side of the argument and give you the tools you need to change their minds–even if they’ve fallen for “fake news.”


Connecting Across Our Divides

As polarization makes our disagreements more divisive than ever, how do we find shared humanity and genuine connection—even with the people we find most frustrating? In this talk, Justin uses humor, pop culture, and personal stories to illustrate simple-but-powerful techniques for working through our differences in any area of life.


“Why Won’t They Listen?!”: Changing Minds in a Polarized World

Connection is one thing, but how do we advance ideas and correct misconceptions in a world that too often seems immune to fact-checking? In this talk, Justin draws on scientific research and real-world examples to show why people are so resistant to correction, why it’s gotten worse in recent years, and how these hurdles can be overcome for our shared future.


Why Labels Matter: Historical Challenges of LGBTQ+ Identity

The history of LGBTQ+ visibility is closely tied to changing identity labels, from scientific uses of “homosexual” in the late 19th century to modern generational divides over the use of the word “queer.” This talk looks at some of the key ways language has been used for and against LGBTQ+ people and what this tells us about the power of language to shape the perception of marginalized communities.


Pray Away the Gay?

In a talk filled with true stories from the people who were there, Justin unpacks the origins, controversies, and lasting impact of the “ex-gay” movement—what it hoped to do, what went wrong, and why it continues to have a major impact on people’s lives and public policy around the world. This is a talk filled with surprising, jaw-hitting-the-floor moments from Justin’s decades of research and personal experience in this area, and it includes an analysis of how these lessons from the past should influence our approach to current debates about both sexual orientation and gender identity.


Torn in Two: Faith and LGBTQ Identity

Justin brings his unique blend of humor and storytelling to the challenging faith/LGBTQ divide, building on his own upbringing as a gay evangelical to invite even the most divided audiences to better understand and empathize with each other. This talk, one of Justin’s most popular, has numerous options for tailoring it to the needs of any given audience, religious or secular.

Justin’s YouTube Channel

Justin’s Blog

Study Guide for Talking Across the Divide

Study Guide for Torn

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Coming Soon!

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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