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15 July 2009

Comments

Sean Beasley

This STRAIGHT woman got to the heart of out struggle!

Thank you thank you!

Incredible that she feels our pain whereas many of us anesthestize ourselves with scripture, drink, drugs or sex to black it out.

Dalton

>>>many of us anesthestize ourselves with scripture, drink, drugs or sex to black it out.<<<

This column is an indictment of the black church and black gay church queens, who live in their glass closets and feel privileged to be choir mistresses and usherettes.

I feel it will hit too close to home for many black gay men reading this blog. Such as all the fans of fellow closet queens Tyler Perry , Terrell Carter and Donnis McClurkin.

Nathan James

Waiting for RevKev to speak on this!

a. mcewen

"It's not so much that the black church doesn't want gay men, they don't want openly gay men."

It's not just the black church but also the black community.

nahtans

denile is a river in Egypt ...

we were brought over as slaves and converted to christianity which before emanciaption used the bible to justify slavery. Now with the exception of the evangelicals and white christianity for the most part has become more open to gays yet the black church has taken the role of oppressors.... sad sad sad

CA

@ Nahtans:

Thank you so much. Rod laser focused on the denial and shame and you hit it home.

"black gay men in the church are pre-programmed to "cover " for each other and help "conspire to keep the closet doors shut"

True, true, true.

Ravenback

At some point, black gay men need to stop caring what other people think about them. We just have to accept the fact that the black church is not that into us, and move on. I left the church before graduating high school because I knew that I was gay, and I refused to sit in church and listen to how much of an abomination I was. Don't get me wrong, I believe in God, but I don't need the church in order to worship God.

I have known too many "men of God" who preach against homosexuality yet "do the do" with other men. One minister even told a lie to the police about how he was robbed, although several of us knew that it was a sexual encounter that had gone wrong. If the closet church queens want to play the game, then let them at it. They bore me. I'm about strong-willed, independent, and positive people filling my life rather than timid, weak, and confused individuals lurking around. That may sound harsh, but it's how I feel.

The black church has no place within my life, so bravo to them. They aren't getting either my money or my time.

Faison

Preach on, Brother Ravenback!

I agree 150%. I was in the closet until I was 24 or 25. I went away to college and moved out of town, yet still was ashamed and did "my business" (as the closet folks said about Terrell) in the dark.

I had to move out of the Missionary Baptist Church, which has a wonderful music and worship tradition that still keeps many black gay men hostage. Why? Cuz the music is so great and the choirs fabulous? I need more than that sorry.

Shane Moseley

Love this column, it hits the spot.

I am very lucky and found a great affirming black LGBT church. And many of my friends in the Baptist look down on me for attending a gay friendly church. They are the ones that have to sit thru a homophobic sermon as the price of being there.

I love God and He loves me exactly the way I am. I can carry myself like a man and not be ashamed.

Where is Rev Kev???!!!

Eddie B

hundreds of comments on terrell carter, who thought he was closeted by the black church queens and brothers were rushing to defend him. relative silence on the reasons why we are closeted and why we are shamed.

smh

Ralph

Any reason some of you keep using the offensive phrase "church queens"???

We don't call you "blog queens" or whatever you are supposed to be.

Yes I love the Lord. No I am not fully out to my family but there are many gay men in my extended "church family" in same position. I am very happy.

@ Ravenback: I am sorry "we" bore you. We all are doing the best we can. Many of us are making a difference on the inside!!!

Ravenback

@ Ralph

I don't particularly know why you single me out. But whatever. People on here have said far worse than I have about "church queens." Perhaps I should have said "church queens" are entertaining. Many sure do jump through a lot of hoops and circles. (I know, I'm being sarcastic.)

Former COGIC

@Ralph: Why does that one phrase bother you? If you're a church queen it isn't an insult. And how are you possibly "making a difference on the inside" if you are not out and taking the abuse?
That's like the Log Cabin Republicans pretending they are doing something special.

Just because the pastor "allows" you to usher or direct the choir, doesn't mean you are treated as an equal.

Trust me, I had that mentality for many years in COGIC. I am a survivor of that repressive, hateful but secretly closeted gay church

SouLKid

I'm not american and i don't know exactly how the "black american church" operates but from what i've read it sounds like most 'black communities' i've come across. They want us to keep our closet doors locked and never to come out.

Its a shame really bcoz if anyone knows anything about a real struggle and having your rights denied, it should be the black community, from all corners of the globe.You'd think our community would be the most tolerant and accepting. *sigh*

Ravenback

@ SoulKid

Excellent points. The way things are, it is wrong to attack blacks, wrong to attack Hispanics, wrong to attack Asians, and wrong to attack Jews. But every one of these groups think that it's OK to attack gays. And they get away with it. They see homosexuals as another entity altogether. Some will say that the Bible says its an abomination, some will say that God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve, and some will say that couples of the same sex can't naturally procreate, but they all say that we don't like you.

But SoulKid, you are right. The black community should have sympathy for others struggling for their rights.

Kevin Perez

I often ask how does a group of people that claim to denounce the ways and culture of their oppressors yet, glorify and romance the one paticular aspect of European Imperalisim/Colonalism that has caused so much harm or embrace certain idealogies and mix it with so-called "African/Black" culture.Sorry but I don't care if "not all Christians" are like because it that still doesn't answer how so many Blacks/Latinos hypocritically see themselves as victims (of Western oppression) but use and embrace the religion that was used to oppress them as a means of oppressing others, EVEN IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITY.

I hate to say it but I'm not sympathetic to my own Latin American kin, as well as other minorities as well. How do you demand larger society that hates you so much to treat you equal when the same hatred is within our own communties and directed towards LGBT. They hate us so much, forgetting they're very scum they view us to be to the masses. This especially includes middle class Blacks and Latinos.

Honestly, I really believe our communties just simply don't care about us. I will never accept the fact that we need to "reach out to them" but they damn well knowwe exist and are hurting. They just don't give a rat's @$$, they turn to blind eye to the suffering and pain they cause us with their hate and violence and have the nerve to complain about Whitey or the Gringo! It's the same BS that they to us, that they go apeshit when the majority does to them.

There's just so much hypocrisy with colored communities when it comes to their LGBT kin. Again, they hate us but forget what they truly are to the ruling class of this country: nothing more than toxic waste or simply put, a phile of sh*t on someone's shoe.

I just had to let it out....

Chaz

Screw the Black church. I never understood the necessity of it in the first place, outside of the fact that it acted as the one place our slave ancestors could fellowship during their time of GREAT oppression. Now it is just another institution that restricts, constrains, and judges human nature. I embrace my gay "sin," I live.

Baltimore Femme

((We don't call you "blog queens" or whatever you are supposed to be.))

"We" are all the same, dear. We are gay men, be we white, black, latino or asian. It's very sad that on this blog this shows so many black gay men are closeted.

How can you call someone else a "blog" queen when you are commenting at blogs too?

I have been through too much for too many years. I am too old to try to impress strangers and people I don't know. I found a church that accepts me for me! Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore. Black gay men, lesbians and Ts!

((waving fan))

Kevjack

I think the most disturbing thing is that black men and women hiding in the church buy into a self delusion that is simply scary. They tend to have this attitude that "nobody knows I'm gay," but *everybody* knows. They are talking about you like a dog behind your back-- I bet you $1000 those same folks on stage "getting happy" behind Terrell Carter were snickering behind his back all week (and they still are). Who would want to exist in such a psychologically damaging environment?

The fact that they subject themselves to this hateful environment has consequences for the way they behave with each other and with openly gay people. I find that these guys are tearing other gay men down more often than not, and for that reason they tend to lack community, and they need it do deal with what they deal with. They also feed into this false belief that "out" gay men are jealous of their "standing" in their church communities. It's simply pathetic. Also, the very same churches use their sad, pathetic standing as further justification for the way that they treat gay people-- since you tolerate being shamed, hated, and misused, it must be the way they should treat you.

I always have a few questions for such people, and I will share them here:

1) If you are "OK with who you are," why do you deliberately hide *every* facet of your sexuality with others?

2) Why don't you challenge the homophobia spouted out in your church?

3) Why do you donate money to an organization that speaks against the very life you lead?

4) Why do you accept "don't ask, don't tell" as "progressive" and the more draconian churches as "tolerant"? It's 2009, baby!

Carly

@ Kevin Perez...
"Honestly, I really believe our communities just simply don't care about us. I will never accept the fact that we need to "reach out to them" but they damn well know exist and are hurting."

You are positively absolutely right. They know we are hear and they know we hurting. But many str8 blacks (and Latinos) would rather pretend we are not here and they will "let us be." They minute we open our mouth an assert ourselves as men, women and human beings they get very angry. Some of us would rather be silent and suffer in silence, content to be tolerated at this church or that job.

But I don't think the black "church" is the enemy. There are many churches and some are very affirmative. You can't give up on God, he isn't giving up on us.

Carly

"At the same Congress and White House debate changing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the military policy that limits service by openly gays or lesbians, another "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is in the news: The traditional black church's often hypocritical acceptance of black gay men who are "tolerated" as long they are not open or dare to demand equal footing."

I forgot to say this. Rod you know you can work it out with these words and phrases. I can easily see why you been in tv news. And I am loving this blog more by the day, its so supportive and has so much for black gay men who want to love themselves. Thank you

Thanks very much. We are all growing together. -RM

Vance

@Kevjack:

I'll answer your questions...though I doubt you understand my life.

1)I am not 'hiding every fact of my sexuality'...I just choose not to share it withe everyone. Enough folks know my business, I just choose not to share it with everyone.

2)There is homophobia in all the churches, right? What am I challenging, the Bible? Everyone knows the scriptures...some people just don't place emphases on them. My pastor really isn't homophobic. But no, there are no open gays in leadership besides choir. But 'we' run the choirs!

3) I never said my church was hateful. But once again, for black men who grew up in the south, what alternative do we have? All the churches are more or less like this around here.

4) Because I feel at least they are leaving us alone for most part. Black gay men don't have too many options in Georgia. Maybe where you live they do. I have been to some of those 'open' churches up north, they smother you with 'tolerance' and most are white or a few blacks. I feel like I am on parade!

Sometimes 'home' ain't the best place for you, but it's all you know.

By the way,m I am sure a few people suspect my 'tea' but I am a leader at my church, on the Usher Board and am looked up to. Do you have that? What about you Rod?

TheRevKev

Forgive my lateness to this stunningly poignant topic. Wednesday is Bible Study and Spiritual Enlightenment Class @ Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick.

Having said that, WOW.

This is an amazingly well-timed article, given Judge Sotomayor being asked about same-sex marriage and I don't count it an accident or an incident.

But where do I stand in this? Where do I start? I will do a new thing.

The reason that I know that God called me, in my heart, to preach and teach and lead in the church is BECAUSE God is calling for an Exodus from hate and lies, hypocrisy and false witness in the church.

Speaking of timing, we are in the Book of Matthew in BS/SEC (See above), Chapter 23, where Jesus speaks the 7 Woes to the Church leaders. It's powerful that Jesus really covered this, as he did in Verse 15...READ THIS:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Jesus spoke about the church setting people up to be holy and then shooting them down for not being holy enough because when you are judging someone, they are never enough. It hurts my heart and soul to watch two things happen in the Black church and I don't intend to harm anyone with these words. They are my opinion and the truth of my own understanding:

1) Why do we stay where we are not loved? I pray for people who have grown up in the Black church and then discovered their orientation and heard themselves berated in church AND STAY. I am a Baptist-raised man, baptized at 10. But when the preacher, who replaced my love-teaching pastor, when I was in college, talked about homosexuality from the pulpit, my mother supported me when I walked out and vowed never to return. We actually even got rid of that preacher. Our church had a number of openly gay men in essential places throughout the church and we weren't having hate OF ANY KIND preached from the pulpit. I don't understand how people stay. I WOULD RATHER BE HATED FOR WHO I AM THAN LOVED FOR WHO I AM NOT is the single quote that kept me when I needed to, for my life, move.

I wish that we, who have been raised in the church, were also RAISED ON THE BIBLE! What the Bible says about homosexuality is virtually negligible ESPECIALLY since the word HOMOSEXUAL wasn't even "used" until 1946, so HOW COULD IT BE IN THE BIBLE EXCEPT SOMEONE DECIDED TO PUT IT IN AND WHERE IT WAS PLACED? But here is the question that I asked in church on Sunday past: HOW CAN PEOPLE BE CONFUSED ABOUT THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS WHO NEVER SPOKE ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND USE HIM AS THE IMPETUS FOR TEACHING AGAINST IT?

Jesus never spoke on homosexuality and Christianity is built on the teachings of Christ!

That leads me to my second question:

2) Why do we throw the baby out wit the bath water? The real truth of Christ's teachings of love, of trust in God, of grace, of believing in self, of our ability to do amazing things, is empowering and uplifting. I appreciate and support the exodus OUT of the unloving church, but SO many of us THROW OUT THE CHURCH period, as opposed to looking at supporting UNITY FELLOWSHIP CHURCHES (where I pastor) or MCC or Bishop Yvette Flunder's growing churches. I don't come here to "recruit," but some of us are looking to live lives that include church and Christ and fellowship and as opposed to suffering in churches where hate lives, how about making a Sanctuary of our own!?

We have to build our own! We built our own clubs when the whites asked for 3 IDs in theirs! We built our own magazines and started our own prides and build our own brilliant blogs (BRAVO ROD!) and we are doing masterful things but this we throw away!

I trust God and that's the relationship that I want, for me. I understand that people in the "room" don't like church, haven't liked it and won't ever. FINE. I get that. But what about the brothers and sisters in the "room" who love God and miss the fellowship and family of church and the worship experience. WE HAVE GOT TO BUILD OUR OWN HERE AS WELL! I am not interested in having another "debate" about homosexuality in the Bible unless we are also going to talk about whore-mongering and adultery and false witnessing and deceit and we are going to talk about it from the top down! So since the traditional church isn't open to telling the truth or living in it in many ways, I am working on a building and building on a work!

I know that there's so much being said and felt in these comments, but at the end of the day, I TRUST GOD AND THAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP THAT MATTERS TO ME! I am not after the approval of men and woman because none among them has the key to my salvation or my life.

I am here, in this place, at this moment in time, called to live my best life as an open, affirmed and affirming, Bible-teaching, fire-teaching, song-singing, joy-bringing Black gay man and I KNOW THAT GOD KNOWS MY HEART!

What people use the Bible for and what's intended are two different things? Is the Bible used to reject the LGBT community? Yes it is, but it was used to make Black people property (BE A GOOD SLAVE TO A GOOD MASTER) and to make women, who were also considered property and if you don't know that, look at the wedding ritual of presenting the VEILED gift to the man (COVER YOUR HEAD AND SIT IN THE BACK OF THE CHURCH)!

The Bible (BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING EARTH) is a guide for living your best life, with many historical and cultural and social references that are completely underacceptable today (DON'T MIX FABRICS, EAT VARIOUS SEAFOOD, DON'T BE AROUND YOUR WIFE OR DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY ARE MENUSTRATING).

We have grown and often the church, especially the Black church (GOD, BLACK PEOPLE KNOW THAT WE LOVE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE THAT WE CAN PUT DOWN AND TRY TO "BE BETTER THAN" SO THAT WE DON'T FEEL SO OPPRESSED) but I KEEP ON TRUSTING.

We can make the most poignant, most powerful, most purposeful statement by not simply walking out of those places of hypocrisy, but doing what Jesus did by storming into His Father's church and reclaiming it!

I AM RECLAIMING MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD EVERY SUNDAY AND PROVING THAT MAN, INDEED, MEANT IT FOR MY DEMISE, BUT GOD USED IT FOR MY GOOD! This for me isn't about trying to get the approval of deceitful hypocrites in the church! It's about building up people in the sanctuary and if they don't care about us, WHEN WILL WE CARE ENOUGH ABOUT OURSELVES TO STAND UP AND LIVE!? I don't want to fight with them. I want to create a world where a Terrell Carter-like young brother can leave THERE, knowing that there is a HERE! I want to live my best life HERE and not whine, scream, fight, debate or even think about THERE. I am HERE serving God and trying to get brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, to stand up for their faith. We sing here. We shout here. We worship here, with our straight and Black and gay and White and tall and short and bisexual and biracial selves. The only person in our church that I tell people that I KNOW FOR SURE IS GAY IS ME! The rest is not my business!

My mother gave me the mandate for my ministry and I live by it as I will all into the house of the Lord:

"BABY, SAVE EVERYBODY AND LET THE LORD SORT IT OUT!"

Don't stop dancing, y'all! Let's just change the music!

Kevjack

Vance

thank you for answering my questions. Your responses lead me to share the following:

1) There are affirming churches in Georgia. Mostly in Atlanta. And the ones I have been to are very much African American congregations. Welcoming congregations are popping up all over the place, and an increasing number are African American.

2) I do not think you have to resign yourself to a church that is not supportive of your *full* self (as God made you). What did black people do when we were told to go to the back of the sanctuary? We started our own denominations. That is what many are doing today.

3) Your response seems to suggest that you believe that homosexuality is wrong and evil ("we all know the scriptures."). No offense, but if you believe the lies they feed you you will certainly starve to death.

4) Given that it is 2009, why are you content to put up with a situation that is not fully supportive of your whole self? If what we have been doing is leading us to pain, rejection, and divided lives we should remove ourselves from those situations.

Ravenback

I am enjoying these comments. The exchange between Kevjack and Vance is thought-provoking. Vance, please continue. Too bad more people haven't participated in this topic.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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