Since I began this campaign to do my best to touch as many Queer people as I can by telling the world about my relationship with God, I have made some discoveries about the black Queer Christian community. To be Queer and Godly is one of the most controversial things in today's society. I will even admit, when I was younger I saw a lesbian couple praying on a documentary, and I thought to myself, omg, are they kidding me? Why are they praying? What God are they praying to? I was utterly disturbed because a Lesbian praying just doesn’t belong in the category of things I’ve seen that are logical. It is because I am aware of such ignorance that I can speak so boldly to the inefficiency of the black Queer Christian community and here’s why I think this. Black folks in the US are STILL oppressed. However, the black community is beginning to take their liberation by force. This force of the black community didn’t happen overnight, but it happened with one positive black character at a time in the media. Black kids didn’t start going to college until A Different World. The Cosby Show was one of the greatest contributions to the black community there has ever been. For us to see a black family, educated and happy was a pioneering initiative to free black folks' minds by showing them what was possible. Thus, the most intelligent contribution to the black community is the emergence of black media. I couldn’t be more proud to see so many black faces in the media. Love Craft Country is one of the most epic shows I’ve ever seen, and black people were responsible for such brilliance. I make it a personal endeavor to watch all the media I can to support my people. However, oppression is engrained in our DNA, and there is much work to do. I understand now for the first time the disadvantage of systemic discrimination coupled with same-sex shame you will find a community with blind oppression. It’s worse for black Queer’s because they are oppressed by their own community in addition to systemic discrimination.
You wouldn’t believe the side eye’s I get from Queer Christians in the black community because I’ve decided to do things differently and outside of the structure of the church. People have told me that I’m doing the most. Michelle is out of order. Michelle is dramatic. She’s not even licensed as a minister to say any of the things she’s saying. At first, it was discouraging but when I realized that the folks saying these things to and about me weren’t free. I looked at their quality of life, and I measured their response to what they’ve accomplished accordingly. I remember listening to God is Grey and Brenda said, “I understand that saying that being Queer is wrong has been traumatic for the older generation because of the sacrifices they’ve made to survive.” Well, while I understand, I need more than what they’ve selected as the appropriate amount of liberated I can become. Some of these Christian leaders were afraid to show public affection to their spouses in fear of social retaliation. So, are my supposed to be liberated with fear? And their fears are legitimate. However, they can’t see the impact their resilience has had on society, which manifests more bold Queer voices. I am a result of the perseverance of the former generation; however, I must keep pushing the limits so that the generation after me won’t have hard times as I have had. I am a different and liberated than the folks responsible for planting the seed that God could love me as Queer. The type of liberation I’ve experienced might be more universal than intra-cultural as the older generations thrived off community and fellowship to those in their immediate circle. Now whenever I hear those words of ridicule for doing something out of order (in their minds), it rolls off my shoulder like rain, but the presence of rain is an indication that God wants something to grow and evolve.
What I’ve also found is that we can only be as liberated as that leaders perception of liberation permits us to be in a religious community. Granted, I am a confrontational person because I constantly seek clarity. I am obsessed with knowledge and perceptive realities that provide peace. I never confront intending to project my own interpretation as the absolute truth. I never ask questions or people to validate my own intelligence; I ask questions to become more intelligent. I understand now, more than ever, why I’d made leaders in the black Queer church so unsettled. I am purely free in a different way. I would often think that it was a travesty for black Christian Queer leaders to have all the knowledge they have, seminary, MDiv’s and PhD’s and not liberate other oppressed Queer people. Even though we have more opportunity than ever to expose who we are to God, they’ve practiced assimilation for so long they truly believe it is liberation. However, I’ve concluded that there is so much travesty in the black Christian Queer Community because their leaders don’t exhibit true freedom of spirit, mind, heart and soul to the queer community who needs that type of light in the world. Not because they can’t, but because they won’t allow themselves to be exposed to fear of rejection that has less weight. If the folks who are supposed to set an example were liberated, there would be more spiritually Queer people following their example and not committing suicide or strung out on drugs. Black Queer Christian leaders create similar spaces where they were oppressed because their prize was acceptance from those who rejected them. However, those leaders transpose the oppression they’ve received into shame within other less theologically-educated Queers.
Now many of these leaders would argue that I’m overstating and exaggerating. However, I can only honor what truths God uncovers in front of me because I choose to see clearly as opposed to seeing conveniently. I don’t go out seeking for the wisdom God releases to me. He just puts me in an undeniable position to see what’s really there. So, we assemble in these spaces of worship with Queer Christian leaders who are themselves morbidly oppressed in secret. They proclaim that we are free, but they’re afraid to go live on FB to keep themselves safe from harm that no longer exists. They proclaim that we are liberated, but they are still socially closeted in the spaces they’ve created for themselves to feel important and seen. They proclaim that God loves us as we are, but their shame shines intermittently through the cracks of a lack of visibility to the world and not just their own circle of chosen people they deem worthy the silent. It almost makes me wonder if they validate more oppressed folks than they are to highlight the assimilation they misinterpret for liberation. Now I understand that whatever is beneath the surface, the foundation of a thing will always seep through the cracks. I won’t be able to avoid making people angry with this perspective, but I’m here for the ones who aren’t as aware as they are of the freedom in God that exists for all people. Their level of freedom may be determined by their desire to assimilate (to be accepted socially without wearing their Queerness in all settings) as opposed to truly living a life that is free emotionally and spiritually. The black Queer Christian community that I’ve experienced has given me great internal conflict. There is little to no focus on providing the information and support necessary for other black Queer people to know without a doubt that being Queer is not a sin. Instead, they hide behind the idea that they can be preachers who are Queer, which is the focus. The most accomplished slogan they've made and accomplished is to say that God is love and love is for everyone. However, it lacks the substance necessary for us to live in liberation in the real world truly.
Who’s talking about what to do when you are discriminated at your place of employment? Who is giving seminars on housing discrimination and providing free legal advice? Where are the Queers who’ve become extremely successful financially? Are they holding workshops on financial literacy so the lesbians who have a hard time keeping a stable job can figure out how to start their own business? Where are the liberated Trans folks when trans-women are murdered every day? Where is your liberation in the REAL world? Nowhere in sight. However, the folks with the answers are on Facebook with shiny faces on some flyer talking about liberation, and that love is for everyone.
Thus, Queer black Ministries are a ploy to prove God can use them as opposed to vigorously promoting the truth that being Queer is not a sin. Black Queer preachers preach so many sermons on how to survive and live through oppression and their response to Queerphobia is no different than the oppressive responses our ancestors had to use in order to survive slavery. Can they not see it?
The black Christian Queer community has the greatest disadvantage because we have not yet conquered or abolished the slavery of perspective within our own community. Our mothers and aunts are trapped because the bible says that a woman should submit to her husband. Our fathers are imprisoned because the black community has yet to take their freedom by force. And by force, I mean the unification of our culture in an effort to provide a better future for the generations to come. The black community are still enslaved because there are so much jealousy and separation as a culture that we can’t work together long enough to create emotional, physical, spiritual or financial wealth. It’s black folks who provides the elasticity for white folks to discriminate against their own. How sway?
Well, when a black colleague enables a white person to discriminate against other black folks without challenge, that colleague is a slave. In corporate America and the independent market, I’ve seen more black men and women protect white oppression in the workforce more than anything. What's insane is this. I believe black folks enable white supremacy because of laziness and not because they aren’t capable. Here are some examples of the excuses black folks use to get out of confrontation. “Well, I better keep this job because I don’t want to have to look for another one. Or, maybe it’s this type of thinking. Well, I don’t want to rock the boat; I just want to keep my job.” Well, you are the job. You are the reason the company exists and walking with that mindset provides different outcomes.
In comparison, Queer Christian black folks have similar responses. “Well, they just don’t want us to go to hell, that’s why they act the way they do. Well, they are just ignorant and stuck in their ways. They’re doing things the way they’ve been done for years. Well, you can’t expect a person to just change overnight, they are truly concerned for your soul. That’s why they’re so homophobic. It's better to just keep who you are to yourself. Don’t post anything about it. Don’t take it around your family; you have to be respectful.” Thus, the weight of being a black Queer Christian leader is most arduous because, for black gay men, it is not easy because they have two tiers of discrimination, black man and gay. Lesbians have three tiers of hardship for being black, lesbian and a female. And my sweetest and dearest Trans community, well there are too many tiers to state.
So, my frustrations have created my voice. And with my voice, I will never deny a Queer person knowing of my experiences with God because my experience is the oxygen to someone else’s quality of life. It is because of God that I am as bold and confrontational as I am. The way God treats me and sets this life up for me gives me the courage and perspective to be fluid amongst discrimination without fear. Over the years I’ve encountered much discrimination because I couldn’t be silent about what was happening to me. It's just not who I am. I’ve always been an ambassador for something, and I accept who I am with great pride. Accepting discrimination and knowing God as a Queer person is the equivalent to a person of royal blood being asked to do things they know are beneath their station. I will never surrender to the idea that I should walk in shame because I am Queer. Why? Because God is around me, God is within me; God is all the good that I am. It is because of my connection to God that I am provided with the ability to see beyond what people present as opposed to what they truly intend to communicate to and with me. I am honest with God in everything that I do and not once has God ever convicted me for being Queer. God has convicted me for saying the wrong thing, having the wrong intention or not keeping my word. Those are the types of things I am convicted of. This message is not broadcasted as it should be in the black Queer Christian community. Instead, our leaders seek invitations to the white house, scheduling convocations or counting how many fill the pews. While others suffer from depression, abandonment and even suicide.
We are surrounded by leaders who would rather keep their story a secret in order to protect their image and from offending the Cis Christian spaces where they were traumatized. Come to my church to be free they say, but they can’t help us liberate when they are not free themselves. Are they afraid to speak the language other dying Queer people need to hear in order to reconnect with God? The shackles of oppressed Queer people will fall off just by looking at truly liberated Queer person’s quality of life and how close that liberated person is to God. However, I am finding that they are not liberated enough to be out with such pride. It seems like the focus of black Queer Christian leaders is their presentation to the world and nothing more. If it were different, discrimination in our society wouldn’t be prevalent. Their number of followers does not measure the Efficient, but by the impact they’ve had on directing lost Queers back to God. It's not ONLY about having a safe space anymore. The real work is about facilitating the development of a mentality that provides the healthiest perception of ourselves as Queer people of God. It has never been about creating the spaces you were rejected in just to make yourselves feel like you have a purpose. Can’t you see it? The pursuit of a holy (Godlike) presentation has been the distraction all along.
While people fill each chair and sing along in your services with their hymnals, they will re-enter an oppressive world that treats them as if they aren’t even worthy of decency the following day. You to tell us to hold on, God is on the way when we have no resources to fight beyond the sermon you’ve provided the Sunday prior. What we need is the assurance that God loves us as we are until we believe it and once we believe it, we will become the resource others need to develop a healthier and realistic God perception. THIS is when we will become the change that is necessary in the world. Why, because once you understand your confidence in God, nothing will ever intimidate you again. It is only because of God that I can stand up and speak so proudly of my sexuality and love for God. I’ve listened to sermons by Queer Christian leaders telling me to hold on and that God would always deliver. Well, I want more than that. I want to be in an emotional and psychological position to have the courage and conviction to walk out of an oppressive situation because it's unhealthy as opposed to waiting on God to deliver me from it.
I am frustrated because I’ve seen too much death. I am frustrated because I believe the black Queer Christian community to be underneath layers of oppression they are too prideful to acknowledge. Why? Because their agenda to create, “safer” (the word safe should be replaced with familiar) spaces they were never healed from are the most damaging for the Queer community. Because of this, my efforts may always be interpreted as a rebellious, scandalous or out of order. Fortunately, this is the greatest compliment to me. Why? Because I not only have the courage to speak up about it, but I am doing something to be the change I wish to see in the world. To truly reach the folks who are lost we must be courageous enough to be vulnerable and honest about our experiences. The most powerful agent that will free oppressed black queer people is relatability and a different narrative than they’ve been exposed to. If I create the life I want with God, then the younger generation will understand what they are capable of, and be even greater than I could ever imagine. No one cares about who you are; people just need to know what you’ve survived. This is where Queer people will evolve.