Why do you think there's so many black gay men in the church, especially in the choir?
That's a question I would love to have to ask them because I will not tolerate being castigated and then asked to sing a solo. I can't. I can't be castigated and then asked to sing a solo. I can't. I can't be castigated and then say, "Oh please. I'll usher." I cannot do that. I think that there's a very schizophrenic relationship. There's a nod, nod, wink, wink, as if to say, "Now you know what I am but I'm really working on it and give me one more week. I'm really working on it". And it's almost a way of atonement, like "I know that you don't like what I'm doing but listen to me sing. I know you don't like what I'm doing but I'm tithing. I know you don't like what I'm doing but if I can...give me just a little more time and I'll help you out. Give me just a little more time and I promise I'll marry Miss So-and-So down the street. Give me just a little more time." And I think it's a very unhealthy game. It's almost like bribery. "You let me in. You let me be apart of the community and I will grant you this service".
-An excerpt from Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of The South by E. Patrick Johnson
I'm currently reading Sweet Tea and one particular chapter titled Church Sissies: Gayness and the Black Church really struck a chord and reminded me of a post I'd written a while ago on a controversy surrounding gospel artist Ricky Dillard. In that post it was reported that Dillard had officially come out during a benefit service here in Atlanta after his home had been burned down. The post was quickly pulled after I was contacted by Ricky Dillard's manager Will Bogle via e-mail, a decision that I would later regret. After all the editorial decisions on this blog begin and end with me, but let's chalk it up to me being new at the time.
It seems Bogle was no stranger to putting out "gay fires" for his client and the unspoken truth would only continue to manifest itself later on, particularly at the 2008 Stellar Awards.
It's no secret that black gays and lesbians are everywhere, especially in the black church. This post really isn't about Dillard, but the countless nameless faces who subscribe to the "don't ask don't tell policy" of the black church. Many of whom refuse to join LGBT affirming congregations.
I know you're out there and you read this blog, so please tell me why.
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