Elijah C. Nealy
1958 - 2021
Elijah C. Nealy, BA, MDiv, LCSW, PhD, died peacefully at his home in West Hartford, Connecticut after a difficult 18-month journey with cancer. In the loving company of his family, he took his last breath on Thursday, September 23, 2021.

Based on his experiences as a therapist and former deputy executive director of New York City's LGBT Community Center, and himself a trans man, Reverend Dr. Nealy authored the highly acclaimed, first-ever comprehensive guide to understanding, supporting, and welcoming trans kids: Transgender Children and Youth – Cultivating Pride and Joy with Families in Transition (2017).

According to the International Journal of Transgenderism, in writing his book, Reverend Dr. Nealy accomplished a huge and valuable feat that will foster the healthy development of transgender and gender non-conforming youth, the acceptance and well-being of families, and the ability of therapists to improve their skills with youth and families. The book was the culmination of his life's work, and the social contribution will live on.

For 30 years, Reverend Dr. Nealy worked extensively with LGBTQ adolescents and adults in both pastoral and social service capacities. A long-time New York City resident, Reverend Dr. Nealy received his doctorate from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. He was a full-time lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work and ended his career as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice at the University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT.

Widely regarded as a dynamic speaker, Reverend Dr. Nealy was a familiar presence in health and mental healthcare settings and clinical consultation around work with transgender and gender diverse children, youth, and adults. Ordained with the Metropolitan Community Church, he also preached and provided workshops for faith communities and other organizations.

Elijah married the love of his life, Alexandra Soiseth, in May 2011 and adopted their daughter, Kaj, early in 2021. A few weeks later, Elijah himself was legally adopted by his mother, Nancy Lila Radclyffe, and adopted in spirit by her wife Janet Hardy -- making formal the family that had long been held together by loving relationships. The family, all together, during the last few days of Elijah's life brought that strange and beautiful mix of sorrow and sweetness that so often marks such experiences.

Elijah was held closely by a wide circle of friends, who also grieve this untimely loss. Gratitude abounds, as this community has been a source of great support and kindness to Elijah, Alexandra and Kaj.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00pm on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at the Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT, 06105.

Tributes can be added to Reverend Dr. Nealy's page on Caring Bridge www.caringbridge.org/visit/elijahnealy

To make a contribution to the family as they transition to a life without their husband and father, please go to https://gofund.me/11d2b428
Published by New York Times from Sep. 25 to Sep. 26, 2021.
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6 Entries
I only read his books and wished for a therapist as knowledgeable as him for my trans kid. I feel a great sense of loss for the LGBTQ community but I am hopeful that his wisdom and kindness will live on in those who knew him and learned from him. The world will miss a most needed human.
Than Martel
January 2, 2022
Deepest sympathy to Eli´s family. Eli was an incredible social worker, author, and teacher. His spirit will be greatly missed.
Gary Mallon
September 28, 2021
The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center mourns the passing of Reverend Dr. Elijah C. Nealy, a great leader, advocate, and healer to our community. We also celebrate his many incredible accomplishments.
The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center, Westchester, NY
September 27, 2021
In 1985 Elijah brought me back into the love of Christ and I can never be more time for that. Pleasant journey home Elijah.
Robert Schneider
September 27, 2021
Dear Alexandra and Kaj, I am grateful to have known Eli for the short time I did. I could see the love and harmony in your home and relationships with each other. My best wishes for the continued blossoming of the family life sowed and tended by you all. All my best, Mary Ellen
Mary Ellen Crociata, RN
September 27, 2021
Alexandra and Kaj, we are sorry for your loss. We send thoughts and prayers and love for your comfort.
Ray and Carol Carpenter
September 25, 2021
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