Openly gay minister and author of" Their Own Receive Them Not:African-American Lesbians and Gays In Black Churches" Rev. Horace Griffin recently sat down with the editor of Queerty to discuss the impact of racism and homophobia in America. He also spoke about his journey towards self acceptance after dealing with the internal conflict regarding his sexuality and what he was taught growing up in the black church.
It's a really great read that I definitely recommend. Here's a few highlights below:
On coming to terms with his sexuality:
When I went to college at Morehouse College. My mother really didn’t want me to go. She suspected I was gay and I remember her raising questions about “so many homosexuals” at Morehouse. But I went and I guess it was not so much the consciousness raising, but I did confront homosexuality when I went to college, just because there were many gays on campus. Regardless, I continued with preaching sermons against homosexuality, writing letters in the school newspaper. It didn’t come to a head until the summer after college, when I had my first sexual experience with a man, which was a wonderful experience, but also created major conflict with what I was thinking, my ideology and my theology. It was actually the seminary that challenged my views, where I started having a different perspective about homosexuality.
I think many times whites don’t understand the depths of racism that exist in this country, because they don’t experience it. I was talking to one of my parishioners who was shocked to know that I get these reactions by white women and men all the time. And I’m always dressed professionally in a suit and tie, but I’m lumped with every thuggish black man on the street. A white man dressed like me would never get that reaction. There a lot of people who still feel like any black man - they don’t even look at you - they just lump all black men together as thieves. That is racism. And it’s that level of racism - not people like the Klan, we’re not talking about that racism. A lot of people don’t really look at the nuances of race and the degrees of racism.
On The Church:
I’m so tied to the church - I am a priest, after all - I’m committed to the church, I love the church, but the church often causes me to grieve, because I see the pain and suffering that the church inflicts upon people. I struggle with the church because of that, but I think that the church is going to be here for the rest of our lives, so those of us who are committed to the true gospel must continue to be a voice crying out for people.
Read the entire interview here.