giving credit

Bishop Harry Jackson: The Black Church Kept Gay Marriage Out Of Maryland

Bishop Harry Jackson credits “the church rising up” for keeping Maryland lawmakers from enacting a same-sex marriage bill. But not just any church!

“It took the church coming out — the black church — and telling its representatives ‘Don’t listen to party leadership, understand that you have to come back to your own community,’” Jackson tells CBN, adding that he and his supporters “plan to vote some folks out of office” who refuse to join up with his bigoted ways.

“The church was strong,” adds Jackson, “and the black church raise up the banner of Jesus and win the day for the church in Maryland.” Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu. [via]

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  • Mac McNeill

    Maybe they forgot what it was like before civil rights. Or maybe they just can’t remember life when they couldn’t go into a restaurant and eat at any table they want. Or had to ride in the rear of the bus, only because of the color of their skin. Some people have short memories.

  • HeadStrong

    Anyone who thinks the black community is partial to gays is patently blind.

  • BigFatLib

    @HeadStrong: I was just saying the same thing! For reasons of political correctness, most of my gay friends claim otherwise, but then shy away when asked to put their money where their mouth is on the issue.

  • Shannon1981

    @BigFatLib: Like I was just saying in the other thread(BigFatLib, I answered you over there), being black and gay, I assure you I identify more with the gays than I do with the blacks because, for being gay, they hate me just as much as they hate anyone who doesn’t share their views. I was banned from the church I grew up in, the same psychotic lunatics who tortured me with a summer of conversion therapy. These people have no love for the gays, no matter the color of their skin. Don’t delude yourselves. I hate to make a sweeping generalization about my own race, but I assure you, for the most part, it is true.

  • justiceontherocks

    He’s right. We “assumed” that when it passed in the Senate the heavy lifting was over. The bigots worked harder and smarter than we did this time.
    @Shannon1981: I grew up in the south myself. You are making a generalization, but a correct one. The social and family structure in the black community tends to be very different than in the white community. Homosexuality is perceived as a threat.

    It would help a lot if a few well-known blacks got off the down low and came clean in public.

  • Shannon1981

    @justiceontherocks: I am usually against sweeping generalizations, but, this time, I feel justified. There are exceptions to every rule, but, I have yet to find, in a town that has recently grown by leaps and bounds to have almost 65,000 residents, another openly gay black woman. I’ve found all kinds of closeted ones, who chastise me for leaning more toward the gays than the blacks. Most are married, or dating men, or doing other things to hide their secret,etc. Yet cruising for women on the side on gay sites, in hotels, malls etc(yes, lesbians cruise too, it just isn’t as widely advertised as it is with gay men). That should tell people I am right. Black people hate gays around here for the most part. That’s ok though, I’m moving in a few months. They can fucking have it. I don’t hide for anyone.

  • We Shall Overcome

    Amazing that folks with a history of being deprived basic civil rights could be so ignorant and bigoted, Sadly, that is the current state of organized reigion, especially AA organized religion today in America. I only hope someone is checking this guys background out closely, seems like these religious fanatic ministers always have secrets. However, we gays shall overcome!

  • Cam

    I think this is the same guy who tried to fight against marriage in DC. He would cross into DC and hold a rally, he got Marion Barry to support him, but he kind of dissappeared when he could never get more than about 50 people to show up to his rallies.

  • Josh in OR

    His being black is not the issue here, as I see it.

    The real issue is that he is an American Christian. As such, he’s uneducated on the issue outside of his own biased circle of influence, has an over-inflated sense of self importance, and thinks his is the only way.

    Christianity like his is a poison on the soul, and a cancer on society as a whole.

  • BeRealOnce

    BigFatLib : That’s only silly old gays who believe that anymore, though. They’ve been trying to link African-Americans with gays as allies since the….’60’s, I guess. And it just ain’t gonna happen. But the ones I feel bad for are those black gays who have to deal with these kinds of Rev. people more directly, all the time. And homophobic rappers. Life is hard enough without dealing with those guys all the time.

  • rhen

    ok so let me get this straight. black people were kidnapped from africa and enslaved. Meanwhile they are endoctrinated and brainwashed with christianity by the people who enslaved them. Now, in America, black people want to oppress another minority by referring to the theology their slave owners forced upon them? Um, No.

  • James

    Shannon1981 I’m sorry your life has been so bad with black people but I don’t understand the idea of I identify more with being gay than black?I am both black and gay I identify with both.I have seen a lot of anti gay black people but should I blame all blacks,on the other hand I have experienced a lot on racism here in chicago where in live from gay people should I blame all gays?

  • OkeyDokey

    Doesn’t the African-American community have enough problems to address (like the murder rate being four times higher than before civil rights), instead of bothering about what others do? I mean…really. Talk about the dysfunctional daring to try to tell others what’s the right way to behave !

  • Francis

    And the sad thing is, he’s halfway (not fully) right. The black church was a major component as many of the Democrats who didn’t vote for the bill were from districts where the black churches have a very major sway (eg. PG county, Baltimore).

    The main problem, obviously, is the God factor, and then the extensions off of that. These people honestly look at us as the devil’s creations. It’s even more than just thinking of a group as lesser humans, or sub-humans, we aren’t human in their eyes whatsoever, we aren’t animals, we aren’t anything but basically walking black souls. In their eyes, allowing marriage for same-sex couples is putting a stamp of approval on homosexuality, and in their eyes, that will lead to destruction. We are the biggest threat to their livelihoods in their eyes, which is why we get their biggest attention. Now, a lot of this is fear because of the heterosexual power structure they feel will collapse if we attain full equality, so a lot of the attacks against us is also based on us being an outsider group in their eyes. People with little to live for hate others who have things going for them, so they bring them down to feel powerful. That’s essentially what this goes down to, and they feel as if religion justifies their actions.

    However, to the people who say race isn’t the full issue, as someone who is mixed, that’s not really true. The truth is, the black community sees the gay community as a white, rich, liberal, educated, elitist group, and quite frankly, the gay community as a whole hasn’t done a good job of eliminating this stereotype. A LOT of our haters truly believe we are a well-off group who basically just want attention and don’t truly need more than what we have, because they look at us and think we have enough. Remember, most anti-gays are uneducated and poor statistically. A lot of anti-gays, especially minority anti-gays, resent us. They don’t think we are a legitimate minority group. They think we complain about things that are trivial in their eyes. We have NOT DONE A GOOD JOB of changing these attitudes, and instead many have gone on tangents of “you are supposed to support us, your black/latino/__________.”, which leads to even more resentment, because they think we are just using them as essentially leaches. If we’re going to fix this issue, the first thing needed is education and communication. While the OVERALL society has gotten a lot more progressive on this issue, the groups that generally are haters have gotten even more hateful, and this can be prevented if steps are taken to make an effort and change this. Again, make no mistake, the RESENTMENT towards us in the black community, even with many blacks, is very very deep, and it’s not all religion.

  • OkeyDokey

    Shannon1981 : Wherever you move to, I hope it’s a place where lots of people will like you (or, sometimes, dislike you) as an individual person.

  • Shannon1981

    @James: I think its the area I live in. I get a lot of hate from the black community and a lot more love and acceptance from the gay community. Make sense? There can be no equal identification when those to whose race I belong openly chastise me for having the guts to be open. Granted, I don’t date closet cases. Ever, period. I went through too much to be out to hide for anyone, for any reason. So, to that end, I am sure there is a lot of resentment towards me on their part. Furthermore, I can’t stand the idea of gay people who marry those of the opposite sex to fit in and appear straight to family, friends, co workers, the community, what have you. Also, icing on the cake is I hate organized religion and take nothing to do with it and make no secret of it. Other than the color of my skin, I am everything the black community at large hates and everything the open gays love. I go where I am accepted.

  • Francis

    The black community is very, very much about appearances in terms of having a wife/husband and kids, being a “real man”, being a “real woman”, going to church, dinner with the family, etc. It’s a rigid community. You’re either part of it or you’re not. The whole “act black” phenomenon is sadly very real. Homosexuality, in their eyes, goes against pretty much everything the general black community stands for. It’s funny, because the DL is very real too. Some people (especially preachers/church members, men who have been int he system) take advantage of this in the black community. They know homosexuality is a non-starter, so they can do what they do in secret. I’ve never really encountered a major homophobe however my friend was with a black man around 45 or so, married, lived the straight life, but had sex with literally hundreds of black men, generally younger, few if any identifying as gay, he told me usually it was for money, drugs, because they had no-one else to turn to, or because they were turned out in prison. So the situation is very deep, many white people just do not understand the full complexity of the situation.

  • Francis

    Honestly, I agree with Shannon, sadly. I don’t want to, but it’s the truth. I’ve never identified with the black community and felt comfortable or any connection. And it’s not solely because of the homophobia, but just in general, who I am, and what I stand for is 100% in opposition with the majority of the black community at large. However, I don’t judge people on the color of their skin, only on a case by case basis, so therefore I’ve rarely had any issues, because black, white or otherwise, if you ain’t cool, I cut you off immediately.

  • Shannon1981

    @Francis: “If you ain’t cool, I cut you off immediately.” Well said. In practice, that’s how I do it, no matter if it comes across that way here or not.But here, in podunk SC, being black and daring to be openly gay is like social suicide in most black circles, especially the churchy ones. Hell, Thanksgiving and Christmas this past year, it was like people shooting visual daggers at me- and that is just my own damn FAMILY. “Acting black” is, as you say, very real, and I do not foresee it changing, period. I tried. Really I tried. But, that trying made me deny who and what I am as a person. If the whites in the gay world are willing to embrace me with open arms just the way I am, when the blacks, including my own family will not, what’s the harm in being where I am accepted versus faking to fit in?

  • Jaroslaw

    This is interesting to me, because once I brought up something similar in my mostly Black female place of employment and they vehemently denied Blacks don’t like Gays anymore than anyone else. I’ve talked to them about other stuff enough to know they would say the comments referenced above are Harry Jackson’s opinion only and don’t make it true.

    Which is in direct contradiction to the following: I had a huge brouhaha about putting up a Gay history board at work a few years ago (since Gay is NOT the same to them as being Black, no comparison in their view). I would also echo Francis post #14 in that Gay Inc. is viewed as White, liberal and elite. My bone of contention is IF White Liberal Elites are the ones visibly doing all the work and donating all the money because the Blacks are on the downlow, whose fault is that? Almost every Black guy I know is either in the closet or would never be high profile enough to attach his name to a committee.

  • Oli

    I know this isn’t really contributing to the discussion but I feel compelled to say, this guy seems very gay.

  • bookworm

    @Oli: I was thinking the same thing! Also, this guy is cunning. He is using rhetoric to divide the gay community (black gays vs. non black gays), and then creating a divide between the gay community and the black community. Let me tell you, you can have it all, folks! I am both black and gay and I’m smart enough to understand that the issue here is not skin color–but religion (which includes MANY white churches as well). Let us not forget the Mormon church, I highly doubt there is a single black person in that community.

    I have been fortunate enough to meet COUNTLESS black men and women, gay and straight, who are open-minded and educated on the issue. In fact, in a college environment (I am an undergrad) I would venture to say that a larger percentage of the black community on campus is in favor of gay marriage than whites.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Francis: This is all fairly accurate.

    I’d also like to point out that the “black community” has traditionally seen homosexuality as a white/European creation, that isn’t natural to black/African people at all. They feel that a black person simply cannot be gay because they are black, and that homosexuality is something inherited from white liberal culture. It is much the same way in certain Latino communities – you simply cannot be gay if you are a Mexican. Of course, I am generalizing, but the demands that different cultures tend to make on sexuality show just how complicated it is to address homosexuality.

    @Francis: But if you do not identify with the black community, does that automatically mean you identify with the gay community? Shannon mentions that the gay community has embraced her fully as a black lesbian, but from what I’ve gathered from many minority gays, the gay community is extremely racist and segregated. So, it doesn’t seem likely to me that you would feel 100% comfortable in the gay community.

  • Cam

    One thing, remmeber, Washington DC is a majority black city. This guy tried to hold protests against gay marriage there and nobody showed up.

    Bother Mayoral candidates were black and both favored gay marraige, the council voted in gay marriage with only one opposition vote and there were no protests or issues in town.

  • OkeyDokey

    Cam : I don’t think anybody’s saying there aren’t black individuals who are pro-same-sex rights. Just that percentage-wise, and per-capita-wise, there’s more of a problem with it in black communities and black countries.

  • Shannon1981

    @TheRealAdam: I am sure it all depends on personal experience as well. I also mention that I simply don’t know any other openly gay black lesbians here, and I have issues with hiding,etc, so naturally I don’t get along with the closeted black lesbians I do know.I’m not gonna keep their secrets and lie and hook up with them in motel rooms and parking lots late at night and then send them back home to their husbands and kids. That DL shit doesn’t fly with me, and they resent that. Also, add in the way I feel about religion, and they see me as rejecting their community completely, and I guess at the end of the day I can split hairs all I want but they are right. I have not, however, had any race issues with the whites in the gay community, even here in the land of all kinds of segregation. That could also be because people realize its a bigger crime to be gay than it is to be a racial minority and want to stick together? IDK. I’ve had way more issues over being gay than being black in my lifetime, and many of those issues have come directly from blacks.

  • Ogre Magi

    I am so tired of christians,they make it their mission to make our lives as miserable as possible

  • DJ

    He sounds like a big fag himself. He must have “God” making him believe he’s straight.

    I’m black and I’ll be the first to say, most black people are just fuckin’ ignorant.

  • Census

    @Cam: A rapidly dwindling plurality now and estimated to be majority white by next census based on current trends.

  • Jeffree

    @DJ: You lost your intended audience at the word “fag.”

    [So did I.]

  • Francis

    Ogre Magi, the reasons they are attacking us specifically are because first of all, we are smart. We as a community generally smell their bullshit and fight it instead of being brainwashed. Secondly, the heterosexual power structure, we are a threat to that, and with ignorant folk, when they feel threatened, they attack. Thirdly, because in their eyes, religion justifies homophobia. The God factor. And by arguing against them, we are arguing against God, which makes us the bad guys. Lastly, because we aren’t fully accepted by all, our lives are still under debate. So, with all of these factors, these bigots simply take advantage of that, and pick on us. Adult bullying. That’s all it’s ever been. They are nothing but bullies. Many if not most of them as we all know end up being closeted, just showing how strong the pull is to be apart of that whole power structure. That’s why they go so far to justify themselves, that’s why you see the ex-gay programs. It’s all about power.

  • Francis

    D.C. is so much different than about 75% of Maryland that it’s extremely hard to use that as an example. Different feel to DC and Baltimore for example. Different lifestyles.

    TheRealAdam, the racism in the gay community I’ve felt comes more from a “Black people hate us, fuck them” than “I hate you, you’re black.” Also, a lot of it is simply the different cultures. These are some major stereotypes that are not 100% true in all cases, however, a lot of gay men do the expensive parties, part of the “popular click” and social scene, are more artsy and just generally more worldly and social. While the *general* black community tends to be……..less open. Just less space in the black community, and a lot more “lets stick to ourselves and do our own thing” type attitude. They’ll stay in their own communities instead of wandering out to the social scene and clubs. Also, we know the whole urban/ghetto stereotype that some think of when they think of the black community. As I said, it’s pretty much two different worlds, a lot of it is simply just a lack of education on both sides on what each side is truly about. The difference for me is, I don’t see a majority of white gay men being hostile towards a black person or the black community right off the bat, I do see that with the black community towards gays, so I think the segregation ends up being where the elite gays tend to do their own thing, they have their followers, and the black community does their own thing, and there isn’t any coming together from either side, so many black gays feel left out from both ends, and feel rejected. Which they have a right to feel, it’s pretty true.

    Lastly, I agree with Jaroslaw to a certain extent. Yes, there absolutely needs to be more outreach to the black community, but where is the black gay community? Who is doing the major donating and sponsorships of pro-gay organizations? There are black folk doing it, but not the same number of every day ordinary black folk doing it. The black community is not NEARLY as open and public in comparison to white, or even asians and latinos. Heck, look at the popular gay porn studios, almost all the men are white or latin. Look at most of the out gay actors. It’s a fact, the black community in general is not accepting about homosexuality, and as Adam said, many don’t even believe homosexuality exists in their culture. So the issues run extremely deep and are going to be very hard to change without both sides coming to the table and AT THE VERY LEAST admitting there is a problem and making an attempt to solve it.

  • Francis

    Shannon, make NO apologies. Do you, be happy, and anyone who doesn’t love you for you, doesn’t deserve to have you in their life.

  • Shannon1981

    @Francis: Right back atcha babe. You know, its funny. Up until about five years ago, when I was the queen of cruising(and yes, once again, lesbians cruise too,even without our own version of Grindr or LOL) I didn’t care if they were closeted. I wasn’t looking for anything long term in between relationships, so the motels and parking lot gigs were just fine. But now? Just NO. I won’t contribute to someone living some weird double life. If they want to do that, that’s on them. Not for me. I don’t apologize for being open. I honestly think that if people would quit shrouding their gayness in shame and pretending to be something they aren’t we’d be a lot further along than we are. As long as members of our own community treat it as if there is something abnormal or wrong about it, they are just telling the homophobes that they are right.

  • Shannon1981

    Oh and re: more blacks being vocal is absolutely something that needs to happen, but I would NOT hold my breath on that one. Also, this dude is as gay as they come. I WILL hold my breath on him being the next grand outing.

  • SmartGWMs

    @Census: FYI: It’s not a plurality if it’s greater than 50%. According to the 2010 Census, African Americans still make up a majority of DC’s population. Moreover, the future racial make-up of the city is irrelevant when discussing events that took place in the past. I highly doubt that “the black church” in DC is any less prevalent or influential than it is in Maryland. So the fact that DC nevertheless managed to pass marriage equality is significant.

    Note that blacks only make up about one-third of Maryland’s population. While the black church did, indeed, play a role in helping to defeat marriage equality in Maryland, it was but one contingent among those opposed to the bill. Apparently, conservative Democrats in Southern Maryland and in Baltimore suburbs — read: white people — also helped sabotage the bill’s chances for passage. So there was plenty of blame to go around.

    To argue that “the black church” must bear the brunt of the blame is to let those other contingents off the hook much too easily, and Harry Jackson is all too happy to play into that dynamic if it gets him a greater profile. Yes, many African Americans are religious (or like to think they are), but a good many blacks are not as devout as popular opinion would dictate. Furthermore, even among those who *are* religious, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re anti-gay or anti-marriage equality. One does not always precede the other. But you’d not know that if you listen to Harry Jackson, NOM and even some Queerty readers that equate “the black community” with “the black church.” They are not the same. One is a subset of the other.

    Moreover, the equation of “black community” with “black church” with “anti-gay” feeds into the myth that blacks are “the most homophobic” group. Untrue. Blacks are equally as homophobic — no more and no less — than other groups. See, for example, the recent Third Way study which actually showed that, on some (not all) issues pertaining to African Americans and their thoughts on gays and lesbians, when compared with the mean, African Americans were actually a bit more favorable:
    That data is consistent with data from other polls and research studies conducted in the past 2 decades.

    The Maryland outcome is due as much to LGBT prejudice as it is to black homophobia. Predominately white LGBT activists at Equality Maryland failed to conduct significant outreach in predominately black Maryland districts. Several sources have told me that some key individuals at Equality Maryland grapple with their own racial prejudices towards African Americans, which was a huge barrier to doing sufficient community outreach.

    In other words, those communities were already written off from the start. As a result, the LGBT activists missed a crucial opportunity to consolidate support for marriage equality among blacks, particularly in P.G. County, where pro-marriage-equality blacks needed a more visible face in this public dialogue in order to put pressure on Delegates who insist their districts are uniformly against marriage equality.

    LGBT activists should not write off the black community as rabidly anti-gay, and then turn around and get pissed off when, after not doing any significant outreach to those communities, Delegates with predominately black districts don’t support the bill because they’ve been hearing mostly from a highly vocal subset of their constituencies (a.k.a. “the black church”). There’s a reason why it’s called “community outreach” and “rallying support” because, indeed, it entails doing just that.

    What’s most disturbing about this debate is how opponents felt the need to single out African Americans publicly and mention LGBT activists’ “attempted hijacking of the concept of ‘civil rights'” (e.g., as per NOM & FRC). That is a *deliberate* attempt to destabilize and create divisiveness within Maryland’s Democratic Party, which has traditionally been home to a majority of both African Americans and LGBT people. Don’t fall for this trap. If marriage equality is ever to pass in Maryland, LGBT activists and pro-marriage equality blacks will need to work together to see that it happens.

  • Brandon

    As an African American who no longer attends a black church for such reasons as this….I will say that some of their “leaders” are ignorant. ignorant to the fact that the plight of the gay, was the plight of the black 40 some odd years ago. More so it is blind faith in a book….that is dictating this debate. It’s funny to me that he says, they would vote someone out of office, you mean you would vote in a republican?? The same ones who would cut the “entitlements” for half your church. Silly, outlandish and just plain stupid. I have had it up to my neck with the “black community” and wish that someone would change their narrow minded thinking, and get them to realize that gay rights are civil rights and you wouldn’t want yours taken away, so why take away form others??

  • Frank

    I will agree that it isn’t easy being gay in the black community, but it isn’t a picnic being black in the American gay community either. Black gay men are virtually ignored in popular gay venues, their issues are often marginalized in gay organizations, and although many non black gays are not openly hostile to black people, sometimes things are said behind closed doors and especially on the internet that paint an unflattering picture. I think this has an effect on the way some black gay people perceive each other. I’ve seen predominately white clubs where one black person runs into another and will roll their eyes or avoid making contact with each other. So the black community is not accepting of gay people? Well tell me what have gay organizations done to change that? Black people are not going to hear you if you’re only talking in places like Chelsea, Boystown, Du pont circle, or West Hollywood.

  • Tori

    I think it’s about distancing. It’s the whole, I may be black but at least I’m not gay, thing. Or, I may be gay but at least I’m not trans. People like to distance themselves by putting down others and in this case trying to deny then their rights.

  • James

    the black gay people who have apparently never had a good experience with black people just make me said.I feel really bad for you.Have you guys ever attended black pride?There is one in all most every major city with a black gay population.

  • Francis

    Personally James, I’ve had great experiences with black gay folk, and the more open-minded, liberal, spiritual rather than religious black folk. But for me personally, not even speaking on what I’ve been through, most of the general black community in my city stick like a pack in their areas. The black liberals/gay folk are more likely to branch out, but most black people don’t do that. So it’s a little sad. But it’s a problem with all races.

    Shannon, you are right on the money. I knew lesbians cruise, I mean almost everyone has at least once lol. But yeah, I do not deal with people who are doing the double life thing. I can understand situational closeted behavior, but to literally play straight in public and have sex with men on the side, and then try to hit on me or show up to a gay bar one night and think you’re a part of our community (yes, that happened to me before)? No dice. I don’t respect people who don’t respect themselves. And you’re right, a lot of LGBT people don’t respect themselves, and you can’t expect respect in return if you don’t love yourself and if you don’t stand up for yourself, and yes, the anti-gay homosexuals make it that much easier for true homophobes to justify themselves. The whole having/searching for sleezy sex with random people in dirty areas and then having the audacity to not identify as non-heterosexual even though you know you are? That type of shit, quite frankly, is sick to me. But, I don’t blame LGBT people for this whatsoever. I blame the situations they are in which led them to such behavior. These individuals are mentally not fully there, and it’s because of homophobia. Homophobia truly does destroy and kill.

    Ultimately, though, SmartGWM’s is right. It’s about outreach, something that has not been done effectively AT ALL towards the greater black community, and understanding that not all black people should be lumped in with the bad actions of others. Also, making sure you disassociate the negative behavior with the skin color, because the issue isn’t solely a person being black in this situation. Lastly, it’s about not allowing the God factor overpower us, which we have allowed happen too often. We cannot continue allowing these bigots to use God against us without retribution. This closet case Jackson is one of many men using religion as a weapon to a create a divide (in this situation between blacks and religious v gays) and conquer us. We have to speak out against this and make our voices heard of why exactly equality is important, and why it is NOT Godly to be anti-gay.

  • Shannon1981

    @Francis: You know, I can’t think of ANY Black Gay Outreach type groups. That would be a start, especially in areas like Maryland. I do not know how to start any such organization, but surely there are people to contact, especially while the disappointment over the marriage issue is still fresh, to make sure we don’t lose next time? You guys are right about that.
    And LOL forever at people showing up to gay bars then going back home playing straight. I scratch my head and walk away there. I’m bold, I’m the type that will ask you that part of the run down on the first meeting, because I’ve encountered so many women like that. I’ve retired from cruising for the most part, but I’d not say no to an iPhone app that is the girl equivalent of Grindr…
    Speaking of cruising, they seem to be cracking down on careful if you’re into it…

    @James, I think the key is moving to areas(for me at least, can’t speak for everyone) where the queers of color aren’t all so flippin’ closeted, trying to be something they aren’t. I’m fine with folks being closeted at work,etc. But to parade around like the Cosbys and bank chics on the side? Nothing doing.

  • SavvyWindigo

    This is an outsider’s view but it seems the two main strains of black culture, the church and “urban” culture, are both homophobic and it’s hard to get past that.

    It’s easy to understand why the church is central to the black community; it was the church that supplied support, solace, and strength during the struggle for Civil Rights. I know first hand from working in Memphis in a majority-black workplace that it’s still a major factor. Never, before or after, have a heard Monday morning conversation at work dominated by talk of what their minister said on Sunday and invitations to other people to come experience this wonderful speaker. It’s a very pervasive influence. It’s lead by men, the ministers, but the real power is the women. I know from experience that the obviously-gay male choir members will most likely always be closeted, their personal lives secondary to the church. Even though everybody knows it’s still their dirty secret.

    The so-called “urban” culture is also male dominated, with hyper-masculinity one of its most obvious features. God (so to speak) only knows why women put up with the “bitches and hoes” and “baby-daddy” aspect of it all but they do. Bizarrely they also seem to view gay men as competition rather than players on another field entirely. Part of that, of course, is because few of the men are openly gay and do their thing behind the scenes while using women as ‘beards’ in public.

    There are a lot of accusations of racism leveled at the gay (male mainly) community and some of them are valid, but others aren’t. It’s true that there hasn’t been enough outreach to the black community by gays but even the surface hostility is daunting. It’s also true that most of the same black gay people who will bitch to high heaven about perceived racism at gay bars aren’t doing outreach either, for the same reasons. How do we go about it? There are plenty of complaints about what we haven’t done but not many constructive suggestions about how to do it.

  • Jaroslaw

    I just listened to the video above; I’ve never seen anyone, seriously, never ever have I seen anyone blink as much as this guy. Yeah, Shannon, he sounded Gay to me too, waiting for him to be busted in some restroom or wherever.

    The will of the people? (he said in the video, was not being followed…) What was the will of the majority in 1820 about Black people? Women and voting? Popular opinion has been wrong on many things.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    DC is majority black. It passed gay marriage. I find it more interesting how quickly people are willing to buy his line. I am also interested in why I don’t remember seeing any of these screen names when marriage equality passed in a majority black city such as DC?

  • Jeffree

    @Twilight: The threads that seem to attract the most new commenters (and most single-agenda trolls) seem to revolve around race, religion and rights!

    Not surprising, because those are areas where people, under cloak of anonymity, feel the most liberty of expressing otherwise unpopular opinions they wouldnt share in public.

    Bishop Jackson still hews to a very traditional view of the Gospels but he wasn’t able to stop marriage equality in DC. Maybe that’s why he got so involved with Maryland, to atone for his lapse!

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @Jeffree:We give him more power than he has, which is the disappointing part of all of this.

  • reason

    My take on it is there is a contingent of the African American community that supports GBLT rights, 37-40% or higher, a growing number. In certain area’s you will find majority support in others you won’t. The problem that the community is making in outreach is not focusing on the supporters, and making them more visible. Instead they focus on the non-supporters, resulting in a stigma that African Americans are not supposed to support GBLT rights that is also propagated in the media. Self-fulfilling prophecy is a real phenomenon and the community is likely losing support becuase of it. Those people who would change their minds are not doing so becuase all of the background noise, children that would windup on our side are getting the societal message that they aren’t supposed to. Furthermore, people like the bishop are doing their best to sow that division becuase in the end discontent and malice on both sides of the fence only benefit their agenda. Vitriol from the gay community is their only asset, and as the vitriol weakens so does their control. What we don’t need to end up with is this not being about gay rights, but about this guy demeaned me I will never vote for their rights or I am going to malign that community at every turn, it’s an ugly feed back loop. The figures that try to divide are just co-opting a technique from the supremacist communities, if you have seen a supremacist in action around gays they play up how hateful blacks are of gays, if they are dealing with blacks the talk about how greedy and disgusting Jews are and how they are responsible for keeping people down, if people become prisoner to these themes only one person truly wins.

  • Jeffree

    @Twilightofthedogs: (47). You’re right. We probably do give the Bishop too much credit. Just as he gives himself too much credit. Let’s not forget that NOM etc. threw a lot of moolah & muscle around in Maryland, and that it’s a majority white state, other than one or two districts.

    I’m still sad for the LGB community in Maryland, because it seemed, just a few weeks ago, that the bill was sure to pass & the govnr was going to sign it.

  • Real Talk

    I’m black. Black homophobia DOES exist at a far, far, far greater extent than other demographics. To deny that, especially by fellow black brothers is both deluded and irresponsible. There are a great many down low brothers for a reason, the structure within the AA community is made up to look down upon us. See us as not worthy. Part of it is the church, part of it is the general culture, ALL of it is our job to reverse. Sitting back and getting defensive, while pulling the race card and screaming racist at people who point out this given fact, all while waiting and blaming whites for not walking in our churches to educate is thoughtless and counter productive. Instead of waiting for others to do our dirty work, go in our black communities and open the dialogue with your family, family friends, neighbors, community members. Have you? or are you waiting for others to? I have and it can and DOES make a difference.

    Sitting back, angry, bitter, and filled with rage toward whites doesn’t do any of us good. I can understand the frustration from white LGBT because in their minds, our families better than anyone would empathize and rationalize discrimination and inequality. For every moment you spend screaming at their frustration is a productive moment you could make a positive change toward those around you. Join me. I got it goin. Now start to do the same with your folks.

  • SteveATL

    I’ve posted many times before, as a biracial man, I haven’t experienced any out right racism by the gay community. Heck, you want to compare racism between gays and straights? I don’t understand how black gays can claim the gay community is more hostile and racist toward us than heteros….it seems very calculating to me, or an attempt to make oneself feel better about their lack of involovement in evolving minds in the black community (i.e “gay rights isn’t doing well within black community? well, that’s cuz all those gays are racist! yeah. that’s what I’ll tell myself”) that’s not accurate. I’m in my 40s, have been very out and open in both communities and gay folks are often FARRRRRRRRRRRRRR more open minded and forward thinking when it relates to race issues, and I’m going as far back as the 80s when straights couldn’t stand us and gays did. Are there exceptions? sure. But don’t use anonymous comments on blogs as your proof that there’s racism in the gay community. You wanna know the names I’ve been called by heteros in person? on the streets? I do sense a growing irritation from non black GLBT toward some in the black community. And it I may be frank, I can’t entirely blame them. As other black posters above stated, there is anywhere from indifference (at best) to complete hate (at worst) when it comes to homosexuality in the black community. Yes, there are many, many black leaders/politicians/folks who are in favor of equality but let’s be real now, they are not the overwhelming rule and you wanna compare them to say white people, it’s at a lesser rate.

    I have experienced a good chunk of homophobia from the very peeps who share my skin color. I don’t let it bring me down or look down on all black peeps, I let it motivate me to roll up my sleeves and work that much harder in chagning black homophobia because I know if they hear it from me, they’ll relate better to the message.

    If I’m gonna be honest, I actually sense (justified) bitterness from some black gays who see their white gay brothers and sisters thriving in acceptance both in terms of family and community and that upsets them. Instead of taking that passion and disdain and applying it to our black leaders who speak ill of our rights, some of us take it out on white gays. That’s misdirected anger. You’re not really angry at white gays, they’re just an easy punching bag. Pick yourself up from your boot strap and go engage those who are black and let them hear who you are and what matters to you. Don’t be angry or mad at white gays. That doesn’t help further anyone, and certainly not our rights.

  • dj

    I have the perfect solution: find out who the dear bishop is fucking on the side and expose his useless ass in the press; both his bigoted mouth and his minions should be silenced after he is exposed.

  • Shannon1981

    @dj: THat’s my solution to all these really loud homophobic types. Do some digging. There is always something to find with people like this.

  • sam

    The black churches are exceptionally homophobic. We need to be on our guard against them. Let’s not give them a pass simply because of their color. They are bigots and need to be held accountable.

  • robert in NYC

    I’m deeply suspicious of these black or white pastors mouthing off about gays. Why the obsession? I bet you this one has some dirty skeletons in his own closet. Time will tell.

  • James

    I will say this it is up to us (black gay people) to fight the homophobia in the black culture,but what I find from reading blogs like this one is that black people seem to think a black person being homophobic is some how worst then a with person being homophobic.I think the lesson here is that we have all had different experiences in life.You may never have ran across racist gays but I have,most black people you have came across have been on the DL or homophobic but most people I know are out and orpine and not homophobic.I think we should all agree that there are problems in the black community yes but there are also problems in the gay community.I just feel so people seem to get so much more angry when the homophobe is black and not white.

  • Jaroslaw

    #56 James – I personally do not get more “angry” about a Black homophobe vs. a White homophobe – but I think the message here is how can any minority complain about discrimination and then practice/encourage discrimination about another minority group? Most people justify their homophobia on religious grounds (and not just Christians folks!) except in USA we are supposed to have separation of Church and State.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @reason: You are right about the numbers, and the data shows that actually you are also right about the black vote on equality issues. That many of them when you make the appeal them about rights are persuadable, but no one makes the appeal. This has actually been the subject of studies, which mostly go ignored. I have tried without any luck to convince organizations to invest this energy and time into minority communities. They believe what they want believe regardless of what a deeper reading of the numbers say.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @Jeffree: I feel bad for the community, but let me also add that I find right now there are a lot of entrenched interests in the movement that refuse to change. I can not be surprised at what NOM will do. Yet, with each attempt at equality, the gay equality movement seems ill-prepared for it. Why are they not acting preemptively with the pubic? Ads, targeting messages to individual communties, etc. Get out there to define the debate in the public rather than in the legislature before the bigots do.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @Real Talk: There is this weird thing called pollin data and stats which tells us what people of color believe so we don’t have to rely on random strangers on the internet to convince us of what people of color believe and are capable of being convinced of. That would require you to stop making this about you.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @SteveATL: You are so fucked up its hard to even know what to say. What you y ourself know personally is irrelevant to what others may experience, and yet, you decided without so much as attempting to think outside of yourself to speak for whole groups of people- about how they feel, what they experience, etc. You don’t offer any data. Any research. Just you. Your ego is huge.

  • humannature

    @Jaroslaw: The lesson is that you and others feel entitled so you don’t understand how human nature works. People are not required to give you their support just because you think they are less than you. The fact that blacks experienced discrimination does not mean you do not need to appeal to them regarding your messaging you like do with white straight voters. The fact you t hink that- by the way- is what makes many white gay people so bigoted. That you don’t need to appeal to people of color. They will just be whatevr you want them to be without you putting any effort into it. In perfect world, everyone should get everything. in th real world, you got to fight for it. And if you think that’s unfair- welcome again to real life. th ewhole they must be for us because they faced discrimination is really about your sense of entitlement- why must they be for you when you aren’t talking to them? How are they supposed to even know why your plight is real other than abstractions that they aren’t seeing that often.

  • SavvyWindigo

    It’s unfair to put too much of the blame for Prop8 and the Maryland defeat on the black community, but the level of homophobia in the AA community IS disappointing and frustrating. Not just because people expect that victims of discrimination would be less likely to discriminate against others but also because blacks are solid constituents of the Democratic Party but don’t support the gay rights aspect of the party platform. We expect opposition from Republicans but when it comes from a group of otherwise loyal Democrats it hurts and, fair or not, feels like betrayal.

    Based on my reading of comments on the Internet one source of hostility is that many feel gays have “co-opted” the Civil Rights movement. They feel that there is an attempt to equate race with homosexuality as if they’re the same, when they aren’t. But while gays don’t exist as a discrete group in the same way a racial minority does, evidence supports the idea that a reliably consistent percentage of humans are interested in and pursue same-sex affection and love and have throughout time. Just as racial and ethnic groups have always existed so have gays and they have both been subject to varying degrees of acceptance and oppression so in that way they share a similarity.

    There’s also a disturbing school of thought in many comments on AA blogs that gays don’t have it that bad, that we don’t know what “real” oppression is. A racial minority can’t hide its difference the way most gays can but then nobody every got kicked out their house when their parents discovered they were black, but a game of “Dueling Misery” isn’t helpful to either group.

    Some commenters seem to think suffering is a competition and gays haven’t reached their quota yet, that unless you can point to some capital-letter event like SLAVERY or THE HOLOCAUST (setting aside that Gays were also rounded up and put into camps) rights haven’t been earned. Well, I could point out all sorts of abuses of gay people, horrors that have been perpetrated in modern times and in history, but we shouldn’t have to. The history of how gay people have been treated isn’t pretty but abuse ISN’T a competition and we deserve rights because we are guaranteed them by the Constitution, not because some quota of suffering has been met.

  • Jaroslaw

    Human Nature #62 – your first sentence – people do no have to support me because I think they are less than me? Please tell me how you made that determination? I stated exactly what ocurred at work and how things work in the Gay community where I live. You cannot invalidate my experiences by trying to make me the bigot. If this is not how it is other places, then fine. Let’s hear all about it. But I think you have it exactly backwards. The Black people felt being Gay is a choice, and it doesn’t compare to being Black; it is they who feel I am less than them because I brought this on myself. No one has suffered like they have, etc. etc. etc.

    As to the rest of your post about me “putting effort into it”? What? We are all equally responsible and are equals, why then is the resopnsibility on my shoulders? If you mean White privilege, I’m tired of hearing about that too. I’ve cleaned houses for Black people that have tons more money than I have. There are generations of people who worked in auto plants making much more money than most of my family. Guess what? I don’t care. As long as I have enough money to pay my bills, I”m fine. I only point it out to say life only applies on an individual basis. Someone else’s privilege or someone else’s suffring does not apply to YOU. Mindless groupthink helps no one.

  • Jaroslaw

    Thanks #63 – please read that too Humannature.

  • Chitown Kev


    “I think the message here is how can any minority complain about discrimination and then practice/encourage discrimination about another minority group?”

    Most of this thread is a hot mess that I will not even delve into but I will address this.

    To answer your question, it happens all of the time.

    Think Israelis/Palestinanians.
    Think Irish immigrants and Italian immigrants (esp. in Boston but also in Chicago)
    Think of the Boston Irish and blacks during the integration of Boston’s schools.
    Think of some of the dustups between the Latino communitites and the black communities

    And that’s simply a few of the examples.

    I don’t know why people have such expectations (other than racism) because there is very little in the historical or anthropological record that indicates that actually happens.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Chitown Kev: I think the expectations are in place because of the history of systematized oppression that both groups (blacks and gays) have faced. Both groups started their Civil Rights movements around the same time, and both still face a degree hostility from mainstream society that those other groups you mentioned don’t (moreso with gays than blacks).

    Also, legal issues overlap – bans on interracial marriage overlap with the current debate on same-sex marriage, there is the need for discrimination protections, etc.

    I think the expectations are entirely appropriate. Most blacks, however, can’t seem to make that leap, and that’s the crux of what Jaroslaw was saying.

  • Chitown Kev

    “Both groups started their Civil Rights movements around the same time”

    What are you smoking? I have (or had) relatives that were fighting for black civil rights in the 1930’s. And black civil rights were being fought for long before that.

    No, you think the expectations are appropriate for your own reasons.

    Nothing in the history or anthropology that I’ve studied would indicate that YOUR expectations are appropriate and I provided you with a few examples off of the top of my head.

    Maybe you need to put down and rethink your paternalistic expectations of blacks (not that I necessarily accept them).

    Oh, an interracial marriage was never a central feature of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, that’s you wanting to rewrite the history to suit your own purposes.

  • Jaroslaw

    Chi – Thanks as always; but I wasn’t really asking a question- people can (and will be) as illogical as they want. That doesn’t make it right and that is what I was trying to point out. Nor am I some kind of bigot for pointing that out.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Chitown Kev:

    “(not that I necessarily accept them)”. s/b

    “(not that I necessarily accept thepremises on which you base them).”

  • TheRealAdam

    @Chitown Kev: As an organized movement, they both came to prominence around the same time. We can split hairs over the exact dates, or specific individuals who you know or don’t know, but they did both start around the same time in their most prominent forms.

    And all of my other conclusions and comparisons were entirely valid. I’m sorry if you take personal offense to them (as many blacks no doubt do, unsurprisingly), but that doesn’t weaken their validity.

    I’d also suggest that you get some counseling.

  • Chitown Kev


    I wasn’t making you out to be bigot.

    I am actually allowing for your premises (not that I am agreeing with them) but pointing out that blacks are human just like everyone else and I am citing both present and recent past events.

    Suffering doesn’t ennoble people to feel compassion for other suffering groups (e.g. black-Jewish relations the tensions between blacks and Jews wasn’t always there).

    “As an organized movement, they both came to prominence around the same time.”- The NAACP was founded in 1913, 1914, something like that.

    Booker T. Washington was invited to the white House in the 1900’s.

    WEB Dubois and other black activists were fighting for including racism on the platform and the Versailles Peace talks at the end of the First World War. (Then again, Magnus Hirschfeld was doing his thing in Germany at about the same time).

    Of course Soujourner Truth gave her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech in…what, 1868. The first of Frederick Douglass’ 3 slave narratives was published in, what, 1848…so that you only consider the movement to be “prominent” in the 1960’s says more about your highly inadequate understanding of history than anything else.

  • Chitown Kev


    You are really ignorant about history and it’s not my job to teach you.


    I didn’t say that you were bigot (and didn’t mean to imply it) I was just making an observation that more often than not suffering doesn’t ennoble minority people.

    Yes, you think that it would but more often than not it doesn’t

    Allowing your premise that black people are the way that you are describing (which I don’t accept) then actually act like the overwhelming majority of other oppressed minority groups throughout history. And that would be much closer to reality.

  • humannature

    @Chitown Kev: Thank you for the responses. It is very annoying to deal with people quite clearly have issues with race, but try to dress it up as unrealistic expectations of blacks that they don’t have of others. On top of that, they ignore statistical data and how one should analyze that data as has been explained ad nauseum by far better stats people than I like Nate Silver. The reason I come to racism is that the assumptions are irrational. MD with 29 percent of the population that’s black means more than the 56 percent that are black in DC. Marriage equality passed in DC with a majority black pop, that’s not important. And in fact, they argue along this thread that we are suppose to look at the future demographics of DC to justify the view that their argument about race does not hold water. THere’s more. If one looks at the studies over the decades, see GSS, the studies find that the situation about race and sexual orientation is considerably more complicated.

  • humannature

    Incidentally, the reason why its considerably more complicated is that the GSS implies that the real issue is messaging and marketing to the black community rather than simply assuming that the messaging and communication targeted at liberal whites is reaching people of color. When one thinks about it- that makes sense. If people of color are looking at and watching tv outlets for news etc as far as what they trust or even slightly diffrent, that’s going to mean that the messaging one needs to connect with them is going to be different. This is true across the border for diffferent demographics- you don’t market the same way to a poor white guy the way you might to a middle class white woman- for example, and yet here, these basics of demographic marketing are ignore. What GSS can at least create a hypo of is that if you reach people of color- by the way- that the real issue is comfort with homosexuality (which they see on one hand) versus equality (which if you reach peo on that front_ they will agree across the border that gays should be equal as gays. That’s why I advocate for other oppressed groups that if you want to convince them that you are being oppressed- you need to show it in visceral terms. Show the fact that gay men, for example, make less money according to the economic research data, rather than more. And yes, there is gay income gap. How many people here even iknow that? I didn’t until I looked it up one day.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Chitown Kev: That’s right, an old trick when you can’t argue your points.

    The only ignorant one here is you, dear. I appreciate your more than obvious enthusiasm for your blackness and its history, however quaint and convenient it is. But if you knew anything substantial about gay and lesbian history, you wouldn’t be spouting half of the nonsense you’ve said above. It’s not MY job to teach you that.

    Now, please, consider the counseling and run along. And stay out of grown folk’s conversation.

  • Chitown Kev


    LOL, if you only know.

    For example…while WEB Dubois and other black activists were trying to a discussion of racism on the table at the Versailles Peace talks at the end of the First World War, Magnus Hirschfeld was somehow, someway, trying to do his thing with his sexology institute in war ravaged Germany.

    If I were you, I’d be careful about making assumptions as to what Chitown Kev knows about gay and lesbian history (full warning: I majored in Classics).

  • Chitown Kev


    This is closer to the right path but but here we are over 100 years later and we’re still asking the question “how does it feel to be a problem”

    I hear it here all the time, “black people should know better” blah, blah, blah…upon what that assumption was based (their history of oppression…as I noted, the Boston Irish were oppressed but that didn’t stop them from discriminating against several groups, including Italians, including Jews, and including blacks)

    But yes, people who are perceived to have money are not viewed as oppressed

    I actually do advocate the approach that gays are not all “rich, white, and privileged…but it’s more of a class issue and not a race issue (although class and race do intersect)

    After all, if it’s alllll about race, then why do blacks sympathize with the protestors in Wisconsin (nary a black face in the crowd)?

  • TheRealAdam

    @Chitown Kev: The Society for Human Rights, established in 1924 in Chicago (apparently your hometown, whose history you should be knowledgeable about), was the first gay rights organization in the country, and was based on Magnus Hirschfield’s work. It was also headed by an African-American.

    Please don’t try to tell me about your credentials. I couldn’t care less about them, and they certainly don’t make you any more *less* capable of bullshit. More importantly, those who feel the need to mention them in discussions usually feel insecure about their statements and their qualifications for participating in said discussion. It’s not a good look.

    I’m not interested in tit-for-tat arguments on this topic regarding history. You posted something that I responded to, and I showed you why, given the particular history of blacks and gays in the US, there may be a natural expectation for blacks to understand what gays have gone through and continue to go through, since they do share a history a systematized oppression that, @Chitown Kev: to repeat, was NOT shared in the same way as these other groups that you keep referring to.

    I don’t care if you agree with my opinion. The point is, it’s valid, despite whatever personal objections you may have.

    Now, consider the counseling.

  • humannature

    @Chitown Kev: (a) I agree on the class front. I would rather see a poor white gay person than a middle class gay as an example of how bigotry harms gay people. (b) the value of race is in showing people of color that its not a white issue, which is what this inevitably become. What the gay movement (the white middle class leadership of it) has been to leave a space for white evangleicals to come in to push anti gay rights arguments in the black community. This vacuum along with the images that are shown makes it seem like gay equality is a whites only issue. However, these are different issues that I am discussing. The one has to do with showing the impact of homophobia as blacks had to do with Brown v Board, etc to the larger society rather than presenting an unrealistic image of gays being unaffected. I definitely agree that blacks, indeed all oppressed groups can be reached. For blacks, I only mention the need for racial components due to the historic attempts to destroy the black family (which is true) that’s gotten mixed up in how some view the gay rights issue (which is false) that some how its more of the same. part of that grows again out of the vacuum of no one talking to the black communities (I should say there is more than one community). The irony is that even without talkin to people of color- blacks are still a 60/40 split. if effort was made- what would be the split? the truth is that some part of that 60 is persuadable because no group is a monolith across issues belief.

  • Jaroslaw

    Chi – Sorry for the miscommunication – I didn’t say that YOU said I was a bigot. I know that you didn’t and I’m not. I said “the message here…” as in it is a general theme of this post.

    As to whatever I said that you “don’t accept” my description of black people behaving a certain way, what exactly are you speaking of? (if you want to discuss further).

  • Chitown Kev


    Dear, I’m quite knowledgeable about that group but in no way did that very very tiny organization which went defunct after a year or so(due to political pressure) compare with the extremely mass and broad based movement of the NAACP of the late teens and early 1920’s in that point of time. That organization was confined to Chicago (as far as we know). They were attempting to exert local political pressure (as opposed to black leaders who were lobbying the Woodrow Wilson White House…unsuccessfully, I might add).

  • Chitown Kev

    and no, black civil rights history doesn’t begin with the founding of the NAACP either. You have to go much further back than that.

  • Jaroslaw

    Chi – I got a post from you 9 am today on this topic but it is not showing here. I already said 2 days ago in post 81 albeit late in the day; that I know you didn’t call me a bigot.

    There are similarities in human behavior and there are things which are dissimilar. Overall, when a group feels they might lose something, it automatically puts them at odds with the “competing” group. In many, if not the majority, of conflicts there are people at the top who benefit from chaos and discord. Pit the races against each other, or economic groups, ethnic groups, whatever.

  • Dominique

    What is your comment getting at? Hating people because of the color of their skin is wrong on every level.
    Gay marriage is wrong on every level. So what does being black or the civil rights movement have to with gay marriage. Please help me understand your comment.

  • microbrand

    @Dominique: Dominique ….don’t you have a food stamp to collect?
    Worst kinds of people are those who have a race card in one hand and are homophobic as well. Blacks have equality today. Stop playing martyr! your civil rights passed. God forbid anyone else’s discrimination get attention.



    I am tired of being attacked, robbed, and denied equal rights by heterosexual religious zealots who blame same-gender-loving people for their failed marriages. Last year, on January 27, 2010, I read a statement released by the Associated Press, quoting the founder of a family values think-tank who said (while testifying before the California Supreme Court) that rights of same-sex couples should come second to preserving the cherished social institution of marriage. You may have also noted that this year, President Obama is catching a fair amount of grief from theologically conservative African American pastors for his decision to no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans the recognition of same-sex marriage. Reverend Anthony Evans, who heads the National Black Church Initiative, recently lashed out at Obama, stating, “The president has harmed himself on this issue… He has openly offended the black church, and he didn’t need to do it.”

    Most of my life, I have served in worship centers across America in one capacity or another, and I can tell you that what has eroded heterosexual marriages has nothing to do with a secret gay agenda and/or conspiracy spearheaded by evil men and women dressed in rainbow-hooded robes like the Ku Klux Klan in the ’50 and ’60s. I have decided to remain in the ranks, unlike many same-gender-loving men and women who have left the church because of crazy statements like these (heralded from pulpits across America) and attitudes that demean and demoralize them as individuals. So I know first-hand that the reason Bishop so-and-so and Prophetess so-and-so got divorced had absolutely nothing to do with my attraction to another man. I didn’t live in their house! I did not attend their lavish wedding! I certainly didn’t secretly carry on an illicit sexual affair behind the scenes with either of them. And I was not the confidant they confided in when things began to crumble in their marriages and the erotic flame burned out in their sex lives. Nor was I the person they sought when they made their decision to marry and needed marriage counseling, although after observing the horrific aftermath of their failed marriage, perhaps I should have been!

    Melissa Etheridge made a profound statement when she questioned the U.S. government’s right to extract taxes from her (a hard-working same-gender-loving U.S. Citizen), yet deny her the right to marry the person she loves. Well, this is not something that is new to me as an African-American. For years, this same so-called Democratic government has denied people of color across this great nation their equal rights, all the while working them to death to build their mansions, work on their plantations, prosper their businesses by stealing their inventions and creative ideas, and pad their financial portfolios. Then one day, a Black man by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from Atlanta, Georgia, got fed up and said “Enough”!!! Dr. King radically galvanized a generation in a time when everything was against them! People took to the streets with signs in hand – much like the LGBT community has done and began to demand what is due them as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

    It was not an easy battle, change never is! This is something I learned as a Black youth growing up in Southeast Los Angeles. During this very era, many were left bleeding and decapitated as their dead bodies were left swinging from trees side to side, blown by the winds of hatred and discrimination, the result of being horribly disfigured and murdered. Some were maimed, having lost limbs like legs or arms and mothers kicked in the stomach – never again able to bear children after brutal beatings. But something in them kept them from turning back, even in the face of insurmountable odds. They persevered in their struggle until all Americans could enjoy the freedom of which this country proudly boasts.

    So no, I won’t shut up or go quietly into the night and stop protesting just because certain conservative Evangelical pastors and redneck politicians threaten to withdraw their support from the President of the United States (Barack Obama) in future elections. I appreciate the fact that Obama is working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that one day, I can walk down the aisle in the state that I live in and say “I do” to the man I love; and be able to avail myself to the same healthcare benefits and federal benefits and provisions that heterosexuals who enter a similar union are afforded.

    I have one question to ask, especially to the so-called defenders of Civil Rights in the African-American community: What if during the Civil Rights Era, some misguided soul who headed a powerful political organization or government had the gall to stand up and say, “I think that equal rights for African-Americans should come second to preserving the cherished social institution of inequality and discrimination?!” Oops! Well, someone actually did say something similar to that! Governor George Wallace made numerous outlandish statements that were so crazy, until if I shared them with you now it literally would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. And here is the knock-out punch: When he made these outlandish statements, millions of white Americans across the country cheered him and supported his backward discriminatory way of thinking, the same way many do when spiritual leaders mount the pulpit and bash gay people. Had it not been for President Kennedy intervening by appointing his brother, Robert, as Attorney General to deal with these issues, something that may have ultimately cost him his life, the Civil Rights Movement’s stunning achievements may have been stymied and hindered, for who knows how long! Moreover, countless more innocent African-Americans would have been beaten and killed in public view, all to preserve the status quo.

    Now because I hate to complain about problems and never offer solutions (something that I will do at the conclusion of this article), I must address another stunning revelation that I discovered just yesterday. Apparently, there are 170,000 inmates in the state of California in a prison system designed to service at the most 100,000. You might ask, “Well, how could we let this happen?” I will never forget the night I sat comfortably in my living room and watched a popular news program that clearly exposed one of the most powerful unions in America attempt to continue to hold hundreds of thousands of inmates across the country in institutions – not because they had committed some extremely hideous, unforgiveable crime, but because it was big business and profitable to do so. Furthermore, I have observed that when any governor or top official tries to combat this injustice and craft new legislation to release non-violent offenders, this same powerful union exerts its powerful financial and political muscle to stymie and obstruct their efforts. And they do this by using well-known law enforcement figures like puppets to frighten the American public by informing them via newscasts, Internet, and infomercials that their children are going to be raped or molested, if these criminals are released. They sound a false alarm, as if your home will be ransacked in the middle of the night by some illiterate Black or Latino man and that the Police Department will be overwhelmed by increased crime if these horrible people — by the way, many of them your fathers, mothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, cousins, uncles, and aunts — are released. Millions, if not billions, are being misappropriated in order to care for incarcerated people yearly, causing severe cutbacks in vital funding such as educational programs, programs that benefit the growing elderly population, AIDS organizations that service an increasingly number of our youth, social security, and many other much needed social programs. This misappropriation of funds now threatens to annihilate even welfare! Year after year, we allow the prison profiteers to entice and even coerce us into believing that it would be better to lay off teachers, caregivers, city employees, and public servants, rather than to release people who most likely shouldn’t be there in the first place — particularly on an extended basis. Is it any wonder why the Bible urges us to “Awake oh thou that sleepest?!”

    Yet, where are our pastors, shepherds, and religious leaders whom we hold in high esteem, and cater to, to the point of excess? Unfortunately, they are MIA, and if you do find them, they are in Washington D.C. or in Sacramento California, fighting to deny hard-working people the right to marry the person of their choice. And what is their answer to the AIDS pandemic that is ravaging their ministries and claiming the lives of millions of their parishioners, and the millions of men and women who are being herded like cattle into prison institutions, while unions and the private sector get filthy rich, as a result of their incarceration? Their answer is to channel over $45 million of their parishioners’ tithes and offerings to combat Proposition 8 while many churches don’t even have a food pantry to feed the poor or a church bus to transport its elderly to and from church, or any effective counseling programs for sexually-active teens to keep them from having children out of wedlock or prevent them from contracting AIDS or STDs. And tragically, no marriage counseling programs that deal with real issues for couples considering marriage.

    I have heard it said time and time again by pastors all over America: “We must sound a trumpet in Zion. The very foundation of our Christian faith is under attack because the gays are getting married!” – forgetting that Jesus said, “On this rock I build my church and nothing can prevail against it, not even the gates of hell!” I say that we must sound several trumpets in Zion and tell the pastors, bishops, priests, and spiritual leaders of our flocks to stop acting like Adam and Eve who blamed each other, the tempter, and even the Creator for their transgressions and shortcomings and face up to the facts. The facts are that they have been acting like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day who criticized Him for feeding His disciples because they were hungry on the Sabbath day because of some distorted legalistic ritual they thought was Biblically correct – all because He allowed them to eat in the cornfields. Yes, by all means, let’s sound a trumpet in Zion and send those same pastors packing back to their seminaries and theological educational institutions so that they can learn the true meaning of scripture.

    And lastly, someone please inform them that the best way to shore up the institution of marriage is to spend generous amounts of time with their congregations and couples who are considering marriage and not be MIA (missing in action) because they are down at the courthouse protesting. Rather, they should teach couples how to be good husbands and wives and how to walk in love and integrity from the Word of God. Jesus’ real message is that we should walk in love and live lives of integrity before people, not misappropriate $45 million fighting a proposition that will ultimately be overturned, which by the way, had it passed, would have generated countless millions of much needed revenue over the next ten years into California’s impoverished economy. Wisdom would surely encourage our spiritual leaders to readjust their priorities and start addressing the real issues that plague their congregations and communities and to stop being remiss in their responsibilities as leaders and shepherds.

    You may wonder what all of this has to do with the subject of health, but when we think of what wholeness and real health truly means; it is best defined as peace of mind, health of body, and harmonious relationships. It is a proven fact that the joy of possessing a super-abundance of material things can easily be eclipsed by depression and even suicidal thoughts if a person does not have self love, peace of mind and psychological stability. A great majority of gays, lesbians, therapists, liberals and mental health professionals believe that many of the individuals who commit suicide are motivated to end their lives because of internalized self-hatred acquired as a result of being rejected by family, parishioners, pastors and peers which they internalized during their childhood and teenage years. Laws and propositions that deny same-gender-loving people equal rights (including marriage equality) and homophobic sermons preached from pulpits shrouded in dogmatic theology, only reinforce prejudices and negative ideas which sends a message to society that people who are gay and lesbian are freaks of nature and undeserving of any constitutional provision. The result is that countless innocent children and teens buy into this unfounded inhumane idea that they are misfits with no other alternative but to end their lives. This is a needless tragedy that we must do everything in our power to stop!

    By Terry Angel Mason, Global Author
    Author of The Bestselling Book: Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent


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