The mission of Canyonwalker Connections, founded in 2011 by Executive Director Kathy Baldock, is to repair the division existing between social and Christian conservatives and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community through education, training, encouragement, and dialogue in both secular and religious environments.
Canyonwalker Connections: uncovers and explores long-standing influences which have led to the discrimination of the LGBT community; increases and facilitates civil conversations and solutions for broader inclusion of the historically marginalized LGBT community.
In 2001, Baldock, well insulated in the conservative Christian church and social spheres with no gay friends, strongly believed one could not be both gay and Christian. After befriending a fellow hiker – a gay, lesbian, agnostic, Native American woman, Netto Montoya – on the trails near her home in the Sierra Nevada, Baldock’s deeply entrenched cultural attitudes toward the gay community were challenged. Since none of her new gay friends openly identified as Christian, Baldock was able to maintain the wall between the two words “gay” and “Christian.”
After reading an article in the New York Times about gay Christians in 2007, Baldock became the first straight Christian advocate to attend the Gay Christian Network (GCN) annual conference. The intention was simple: to witness expressions of faith in the LGBT community. The relationships established at the conference set Baldock on a path to becoming an ally, and eventually a strong advocate for LGBT people of faith in conservative Christian communities and beyond.
Baldock has been blogging and speaking for equality and inclusion in churches and at national conferences since 2009. Baldock left her job as a successful sales person in the tech industry hoping to make significant impact for justice in conservative faith communities.
Baldock has become a prominent female voice for inclusion of the LGBT community in conservative churches. In 2014 she published Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community and is one of the foremost experts on the history of the cultural and religious discrimination of the LGBT community in America.