|Panel Discusses Homophobia and Black Churches
by Andrew Davis
This article shared 5522 times since Fri Dec 8, 2006
Everything from the military to trauma was discussed at 'Black Homophobia, Black Churches, Black Lives: Our Griots Tell Their Stories,' a forum held Nov. 13 at Bella Bacino's, 75 E. Wacker.
Approximately 50 people packed the meeting room to hear facts and opinions from such speakers as Dr. Terri Pease, Father Juan Y. Reed and Rev. Tommie Lee Watkins, Jr.
Pease—a consultant and educator who has extensive experience working with trauma survivors—told attendees that, as a people, Blacks 'have been isolated in naming our own grief. ... Having something dreadful happen without having the words to explain [ has been part of ] the experience. ... Human connection heals trauma.' In citing a study that showed that people physically suffered the more they internalized wrongs committed against them, Pease asserted that 'talking about pain is critical for our health.' She asked the audience, 'Do we, as same-gender-loving African Americans, deserve love, safety [ and ] nurturing? It's something we need to talk with each other about. ... Naming pain in a safe environment frees us.'
Reed, in an emotional delivery, said that the gay community 'is well-represented in churches. The homophobia and the abuse of gay people in Black churches could not happen without our participation. The 'open closet' is a way of keeping homosexual people in church without revealing our sexual orientation. In many churches, we are obvious and invisible at the same time.' He also mentioned Michael Williams, a 14-year-old gay Black murder victim who was discovered in Lincoln Park in August 2005: 'As the news stories appeared, family members said things like, 'He couldn't be gay. He's a junior deacon in the church. He's an excellent student.' This is one example of why not addressing same-gender sexuality in churches is dangerous.' He added that, in order to talk about sexuality in church, people have to discuss more than sex itself: 'Every Sunday, you come in shouting about the same old shit ... . We need a religion that is going to inspire, challenge and move us to make some changes in our lives and communities.'
Watkins, although not as fiery as Reed, gave a speech that was no less enlightening. 'I submit to you that maybe the original sin had nothing to do with the fruit, but that it had to do with believing the word of an entity superlative to your Creator. ... I believed those who had authority in my life when they said that something was wrong with the way God created me. I knew I did not choose to be a same-gender-loving person. ... I decided that I wanted to be delivered from the opinions of other people,' he said. 'Many times, our culture is based on what other people think of us.' Watkins went on to talk about his legal victory against the United States Navy as well as his work as a community activist in Miami Beach.
Other speakers included Rev. Deborah Elandus Lake, executive director and founder of the local organization Sankofa Way Spiritual Services; and Cleo Manago, founder and organizer of the Black Men's Xchange. Audience members were also encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts.
This article shared 5522 times since Fri Dec 8, 2006
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE
|Bring Chicago Home Campaign releases open endorsement letter from 100+ faith leaders
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With just over a month before the March 19th primary election, prominent Chicago faith leaders will today release a letter—signed by over 100 religious leaders—endorsing the Bring Chicago Home campaign to restructure the Real ...
|Coalition of LGBTQ+ advocates, health care providers release Project RAINBOW report
--From a press release - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coalition of more than two dozen LGBTQ+ advocate organizations and health care providers are releasing a new report aimed at addressing the challenges and discrimination that ...
|WORLD Marriage in Greece, UK politics, cruise death, HRC grants
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece unanimously agreed at a recent meeting that it is "strongly opposed" to the Greek government's promised bill on same-sex marriage and adoption, Balkan Insight reported. The conservative New ...
|Ohio man sentenced for firebombing pro-LGBTQ+ church
On Jan. 29, 2024, Ohio resident Aimenn D. Penny was sentenced to 216 months (18 years) in prison followed by three years of supervised release for attempting to burn down a pro-LGBTQ+ church, according to a ...
|Chicago firefighter receives over $500,000 settlement in City discrimination lawsuit
James Mundo, a Chicago firefighter who identifies as a gay man, settled a discrimination lawsuit against the City of Chicago for $515,000 last month. Mundo sued the city alleging it failed to take adequate measures to ...
|VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity
The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ people—a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...
|NATIONAL Women's college, banned books, military initiative, Oregon
After backlash regarding a decision to update its anti-discrimination policy and open enrollment to some transgender applicants, a Catholic women's college in Indiana will return to its previous admission policy, per The National Catholic Reporter. In ...
|WORLD Brianna Ghey, archbishops, HIV, George Michael, Albanian women
A boy and a girl, each 16, were found guilty of murdering a transgender teenager in northwest England earlier this year in a knife attack, per a Yahoo! News item that cited the AP. Brianna Ghey, ...
|Catholic Church allows priests to bless same-sex couples but reaffirms disapproval of gay marriage
LGBTQ+ couples can now receive blessings from priests, but the Catholic Church maintained its strict ban on gay marriage, according to a Vatican document approved by Pope Francis Dec. 18. This historic change in doctrine marks ...
|Greek government vows to back marriage equality
Despite opposition from the Church of Greece and within the ruling New Democracy, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' government said it will eventually move to legalize same-sex marriage, The National Herald reported. However, no timetable was ...
|Dignity/Chicago welcomes new rule on church blessings for same-sex marriages
--From a press release - Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and friends, welcomed the news that the Vatican's doctrinal office has officially declared it possible for Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions and ...
|New Ways Ministry: Pope's blessings approval is Christmas gift to LGBTQ+ Catholics
--From a press release - MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Statement by Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry: Pope Francis gave LGBTQ+ Catholics an early Christmas gift this year by approving blessings for same-gender couples. The Vatican ...
|Pope Francis changes policy, allowing priests to bless same-sex unions; GLAAD responds
--From a press release - GLAAD: "By removing barriers to priests blessing LGBTQ couples, the Pope accurately recognizes that LGBTQ people and our relationships are worthy of the same affirmation and support in the Church, and this strengthens couples in their ...
|Pope Francis's community of transwomen
It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...
|Ghana cardinal: It's time to understand homosexuality
Ghana Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson told the BBC that being gay should not be considered illegal and that people should be helped to understand the issue of homosexuality better. Turkson's comments come as his country's ...