Grammy Award winning gospel singer and evangelist Donnie McClurkin will headline the City of Boston's Tenth Annual GospelFest on July 18, reports The Boston Phoenix. The free concert will be produced with taxpayer funds and will take place at City Hall Plaza.
The infamously "ex-gay"—or perhaps "re-closeted"—gospel singer delivered an incendiary rant against gay youth and recently out gospel singer Tonex at the Church of God in Christ's Holy Convocation Youth Service last November in Memphis. McClurkin's hateful rant went viral across the internet. McClurkin compared LGBT youth to "vampires" and added: "I see feminine men, feminine boys, everywhere I go. These young girls are just as bad as the boys ... there are some evil young hard butch girls."
Mayor Tom Menino's office claims they were unaware of McClurkin's record, reports The Phoenix.
"Clearly, though, the choice of the Grammy-winning McClurkin for the free concert puts Menino in a bind, says local activist and Bay Windows columnist Reverend Irene Monroe. 'Our mayor is pro-gay and pro-same-sex marriage,' she says. Yet at the same time, McClurkin appeals to "the black Christian conservative community — which is a strong voting constituency." McClurkin and his 'ex-gay' message has no place at a taxpayer-funded community event, says Monroe. 'Our mayor and city hall represent all of its residents, not just Christian conservatives,' she says. 'It's fine to have a gospel singer, but given his history, it's a denunciation of inclusion.' Monroe also says there's little possibility that McClurkin could walk onto the City Hall Plaza stage and simply belt out his hits without discussing politics or his personal life. 'In gospel, it's not enough to just sing,' she says, 'We want to hear the narrative.'
McClurkin has somewhat addressed the persistent rumors about his personal life. The gospel singer maintains he is no longer gay but recently suggested he still has same-sex urges, comparing homosexuality to diabetes: "I don’t eat sugar, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want sugar."