Ur So Gay: The Invisible Lives of Famous Black Gays and Lesbians

Author James Baldwin, expatriate, Francophile and gay as the day is long.

“If You Were Gay,” from the musical “Avenue Q”

Lindsay Lohan has come out of the closet (of sorts) seen publicly cavorting but not whoring around about her extremely close gal pal Samatha Ronson. No one appears to be giving her shit about it. Perhaps because between the crazy jailbird daddy, the stage mommy, the papparazzi, the drug addiction, the anorexia, the car crashes, the liquor, the fights and the “exhaustion” fits her being gay or bisexual is tame by comparison. It’s down right normal even if a lot of people still don’t view homosexuality as normal.

Only a small cadre of black celebrities are stalked the way Lindsay is stalked. Oprah comes to mind as no. 1, with Halle Berry and Will Smith as a pair of dull and distant seconds. It doesn’t matter that Halle’s life, between the “tragic mulatto,” dysfunctional marriages, abusive relationships, daddy issues, attempted suicide, car crashes and an Oscar win is probably just as fucked up as Lindsay, she’s still not stalkerworthy.

Black celebs who aren’t Oprah don’t push celebrity covers according to the media. But gay black celebs? You’d need the world’s best Negro gaydar to find them because no. 1, black people are incredibly homophobic. No black celebrity wants to risk their career and rep in the streets by being bagged as a homosexual. And no. 2, Hollywood isn’t particularly fair to actors who come out of the closet. Never mind that Hollywood is filled with gays, partly run by gays and fueled by gays. That’s fine. Just don’t talk about it or prepared to be typecast as “the gay person” or “the lesbian” the rest of your career.

But for blacks, where the work can be far and in-between, living in that sort of limelight can cast a shadow on a would-be, could-be career. There just aren’t enough options. No one wants to take the risk.

We can’t all be Ellen DeGeneres.

Darryl Stephens, actor

Known best for his lead role in the film and later LOGO TV series “Noah’s Arc,” Stephens is a California native. While he’s played gay characters in the past, Stephens, like a lot of actors, wanted to keep his options open for “straight” roles, not wanting to by typecast. But in 2007 he confirmed that he was in fact a homosexual on, of all things, his MySpace page. Stephens is a private person and despite being listed among OUT Magazine’s “OUT 100” list, he maintains his privacy and does not discuss his romantic life.

Douglas Spearman, actor

Spearman, like Stephens is best known for “Noah’s Arc,” but has been working in front and behind the scenes of the entertainment industry for years. For twenty years he worked as writer/producer/director in advertising and marketing for television and later did writing and production for ABC, CBS, NBC and UPN. He was even the creative director for managing all branding for ABC Daytime.

A Washington, D.C. native, most of his roles have been small and sporadic, sometimes appearing in major films or in extra parts on TV shows. On the bio on his Internet Movie Database page it reads, “Doug … currently lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Amber and he will basically act in anything as long as the part is good and the pay is decent.”

The out actor is also be on charity work, participating in The Lifeworks Mentoring Program, The Black AIDS Institute, and sits on the board of Directors for the Equality California.

Guillermo Diaz, actor

While being openly gay, this Cuban American actor has had little trouble finding a variety of roles to play. From comedy to drama, from gangsters to drug dealers. He’s made extensive TV appearances on shows like “Law & Order,” “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Without A Trace,” “The Shield” and many, many more. Diaz starred along Dave Chappelle in “Half Baked” and made appearances on “Chappelle’s Show.” His first speaking part was in Boaz Yakin’s “Fresh” and is currently on the Showtime series “Weeds” as a drug trafficker.

It’s odd that while he doesn’t get typecasted as “gay,” I don’t know if having a Cuban play drug dealers over and over isn’t necessarily an improvement. It’s sort of trading one stereotype for another, but whatever keeps the lights on.

Wilson Cruz, actor

I have to admit to having a crush on Cruz way back when he played the shy, gay teen on the critically acclaimed “My So-Called Life.” But I never anticipated he’d grow up to be this attractive.

The handsome Puerto Rican has an extensive TV and film resume since that series. He was “Victor” on “Party of Five” and has played parts on “Monk,” “ER,” “The Closer” and “The West Wing.” He was also in the 2003 Macaulay-Culkin-Is-A-Man-And-A-Serious-Actor-Now vehicle “Party Monster,” pl
aying his drug dealer/roommate.

Cruz was also on the LOGO series “Noah’s Arc.” And has currently four films in production, including the book adaptation of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

According to Internet Movie Database, Cruz once filmed a PSA on the plight of homeless gay teens as he was also kicked out of him home when he told his family he was gay, a story that ironically mirrored that of his iconic character on “My So-Called Life.”

Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, actress, author and rapper

Best known for her break-out role on HBO’s “The Wire,” Pearson came from humble beginnings, which she wrote about in her memoir Grace After Midnight. Born a premature, three pound “crack baby,” she moved from foster care to prison. At 14 she was charged with second degree murder and sentenced to eight years at a women’s penitentiary in Maryland.

In prison she decided to change her ways when a close friend was killed. She received her GED in prison and struggled to find work with a prison record. She would later be discovered by Michael K. Williams of “The Wire” at a Baltimore club setting her on a vastly more positive path in life.

E. Lynn Harris, author

Born in Michigan, but raised in Arkansas, Harris famously self-published his first novel “Invisible Life” in 1991, selling it himself to black owned books stores and beauty shops until the book was picked up by Anchor Books and published as a trade paperback in 1994.

Since then Harris has published 11 books and won the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. A popular writer of black fiction focusing on the lives of upper middle class black professionals, some of his books center around the double-lives of homosexual men involved with women. These stories in some ways mirror his own, as Harris was once closeted and in relationships with women. He was initially reluctant to talk about this, but realized his personal story could be helpful to other young minorities who were gay or lesbians.

Sheryl Swoopes, former WNBA star

She has three Olympic gold medals. She was a three-time-MVP in the WNBA. She had four championships with the Houston Comets. She was hailed as the female heir apparent to Michael Jordan. And in October of 2005 she came out of the closet.

Swoopes had lived the lie long enough. Though she’d been married and had a child, in 2005, while still in the midst of her playing career she chose to open up about her sexual orientation.

In an interview with Gay.com, Swoopes explained what brought her to the decision to come out publicly.

Because I’m tired. I’m tired of having to be somebody that I’m not, tired of having to pretend and live a lie and not be able to show my real feelings.

Swoopes would go on to claim that she chose to be a Lesbian after falling in love with a close friend after her marriage ended.

Andre Leon Talley, Vogue Editor-At-Large

Can you get bigger than Vogue, the fashionista’s Bible? Anna Wintour’s flagship of style and beauty? Talley is at the top for both his brilliance and his outre visions of what fashion can be.

In 2007 he was ranked by Out Magazine as number 45 in its list of the 50 most powerful gays and lesbians, and has created fashion hits and misses with Kimora Lee Simmons, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey. He uses his fashion gifts to boost the careers of new, young designers and mold those with creative talents, making him the fairy gaymother of haberdashery criticism.

Tracy Chapman, singer/songwriter

A multi-platinum, four-time Grammy Winning artist, Chapman is best known for her songs “Fast Car,” “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” and “Gimmie One Reason.” She’s been notoriously mum about her sexuality, but she was famously outed by her former lover, author Alice Walker.

Walker told The Guardian on December 15, 2006 that the couple didn’t go public with the relationship, which occurred in the mid-1990s, because the relationship “was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her, but it was not anybody’s business but ours.”

Meshell Ndegeocello, musician

I first learned of Ndegeocello from her first studio release, “Plantation Lullabies (1993).” I mixture of jazz, blues, rock, funk, hip hop, reggae and the kitchen sink it was a revolutionary confection. But as a teen the most fun song on the album was its sole hit, “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night).” But Ndegeocello, whose adopted last name means “free like a bird,” would go on to produce and create bounds and bounds of music.

Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Washington, DC, she att
ended the Duke Ellington School of Arts. She’s worked with Madonna, Alanis Morissette, Indigo Girls, The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Rolling Stones.

Ndegeochello describes herself as bisexual and was the long-time romantic companion of author Rebecca Walker until they broke up in 2003.

John Amaechi, former NBA player

Amaechi, a role player in the NBA who worked for three US teams and two European league teams, famously came out in 2007, releasing a book about his experiences as a gay man in professional sports.

Very few athletes openly proclaim their sexuality, leading to a mixed response from the ballers he used to play with and against. While some were open-minded, others were begrudging and former player Tim Hardaway was famously bigoted and belligerent to even the notion of gays in basketball.

Amaechi was born in the United Kingdom and is biracial. Being homosexual added to some of the isolation he felt as a minority in England. While he has stated that the response from his coming out and his book was far more mild that he expected, Amaechi did receive death threats.

Other famous black gays, lesbians and bisexuals include: Recording artist and drag queen, RuPaul, author James Baldwin, activist Angela Davis, former congresswoman Barbara Jordan, author Alice Walker, author Octavia Butler, civil rights activist and organizer of the March on Washington Bayard Rustin, writer Rebecca Walker, performing artist Josephine Baker, writer/poet Langston Hughes, runway/fashion expert Miss Jay Alexander, singer Johnny Mathis, writer/activist Audre Lourde and writer Keith Boykin

In my research of famous black gays, lesbians and bisexuals it was both telling and disappointing that there is no high profile figure. A black equivalent to Degeneres or Neil Patrick Harris or Grey’s Anatomy’s TR Knight. No Lance Bass. Not even the bi-curious musings of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.

People shouldn’t have to hide who they are or how they feel. I’ve never understood how the acceptance of GLBT individuals would some how destroy our society. There has always been gay people, yet the world still turns. Black people, my people, can be notoriously closed-minded. We don’t want to deal with the AIDS crisis in our communities which is destroying us. We’d rather encourage an ignorance that would create a “down low” lifestyle, fostering mistrust and anger between black men and women. Keeping it in the closet may allow the ignorant to maintain their bliss, their interpretation of what a perfect world would be. But that blind eye changes nothing. The issue is still there waiting to be dealt with.

I wish black people would deal with it. I wish all people would deal with it. They’re queer. They’re here. Isn’t it time we got used to it?

29 thoughts on “Ur So Gay: The Invisible Lives of Famous Black Gays and Lesbians

  1. Thank you for acknowledging our existence without derision or stereotypical comments, which is what I usually see and hear from both the African American and gay communities. The lack of acknowledgment creates a void in which ignorance persists. Just about everyone knows or is related to someone gay, yet the only visible reality of that fact are the extremes–not all gay people are effeminate men emulating sororities or butch women dribbling basketballs.

  2. It is pieces like these on this site that make me so proud of your maturity, insight, and compassion, Danielle. I believe this is a marker and milestone for the Black Blogosphere.

  3. all: I just think black people have a lot of nerve rejecting gay people when we should be the experts on bigotry and rejection. When I was in college a few of my sorority sisters were lesbians/bisexual. Everyone got along just fine with them, but it seemed odd that we never talked about or acknowledged the fact that they were homosexual/bisexual. The only time it ever came up when my roommate expressed surprise that I chatted up my soror’s girlfriend while dressed in my pajamas one Sunday morning. She thought it was awkward that I’d dress in a tank top and shorts around them. That I bent over to pick something up in front of her. I didn’t know what to say. I was stupefied by her ignorance. This was the same soror who had no problem with Lesbians, but was horrified over gay men. I assumed it was because in her vanity she couldn’t stand a man who didn’t want her.Being a Lesbian doesn’t mean you spend all day eyeballing every woman you meet, sizing them up as a sexual conquest. That’s as dumb as the military’s stance that they can’t have gay men serving in combat situations because it could distract from the mission. But I’m pretty sure sex is the last thing on everyone’s mind when you’re in Fallujah getting shot up by the opposition.Long story short, people are morons. Gay people are just people. Stop being assholes about it. That’s my motto.

  4. I remember a date ending abruptly when I cracked a joke and said I was “buy-sexual”….buy me something and I get sexual. My bible belt date didnt find that too funny and she was ready to go….I am glad I got my fantasies in on Ndegeocello before I found out she was into women…or maybe that would have heightened it…hmmmmAnd I am sorry, I was tempted to buy “The Wire” DVD just for the Sonja Sohn love scenes….so much chocolate on chocolate cant be wrong…But anyways I digress. I honestly do not care who you are with as long as you are happy. As a Catholic boy from the midwest who was exposed to the rest of the world at a young age I soon learned…nobody is weird, they just do what appeals to them. I think the stigma of being black and gay is associated with an era and I think this change over time however not easily.

  5. Nothing will EVER justify men in committed heterosexual relationships sleeping with men in secret using NO PROTECTION and infecting their women.If you are attracted to men, fine. Don’t waste these ladies time or jeopardize their health, because people are suspicious of you being a gay man.That said, we black women really do need to check ourselves listen to the ish that comes out of our mouth(faggot this, a real black man loves a black women that)please.and lets not forget the lack of leadership from the black church concerning these issues….

  6. Whoa. You need to stop putting that on me, Black Snob. Me and the GLTBQ fam are cool, thanks. Because you said it perfectly in the comments section: “I just think black people have a lot of nerve rejecting gay people when we should be the experts on bigotry and rejection.” The use of high profile here is a bit confusing because most of the folks on your list, save Degeneres and Bass, I don’t even know. Does mere celebrity equate to profile? Isn’t high profile the same as famous (which you also used in your post)?If so, then Baker – considering her time and international recognition – was completely high profile. As is Walker today. So would quite a few others on your list. Like Tracy Chapman… And what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and be a fly on the wall for the romantic conversations between Chapman and Walker. O.M.G! Maybe I’m over dramatizing it all with an overactive imagination but considering their caliber, a writer and a songtress together could move and mend worlds.

  7. I find it very hypocritical to in one post exclaim how people should hide how they feel while in another post you blast Beyonce for getting too pale. This is the problem with Blacks and how they deal with each other. We don’t know how to not talk down someone regardless how they look or what they do who they sleep with.We’re such a conflicted culture we haven’t got a clue how to relate to one another. Whether it’s tongue in cheek or righteous indignation, Blacks elevate cattiness to an Olympic sport.Certainly can’t be surprised why more Blacks don’t come out of the closet. It hard enough being Black (and worried about being and looking Black enough) but now we have to wory about what we do in the privacy of our homes and the comfort of our hearts.As an aside:And is it interesting how the one of the first things Black actors worry about when coming out of the closet is being typecast.Having just seen Neil Patrick Harris’ turn in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” as well as his on-going role on “How I Met Your Mother” being gay isn’t hurting his career any.

  8. MontiLee Stormer: My criticism of Beyonce and L’Oreal had more to do with negative images of black people for never being light enough for the mainstream due to our embrace of the western beauty standard. My point was that Beyonce couldn’t win if even she wasn’t light enough by professional standards.This post was about encouraging more openness for homosexuals and bisexuals in the black community. In no part did I suggest that people hide the way they feel. So I really don’t see the correlation unless you’re equating the constant push for the western standard of beauty with the closeted careers of black homosexuals.

  9. Well said Danielle! You’re so cool!Please add Lorraine Hansberry, to your list. Lorraine, of course was the first Black woman to have a play – RAISIN IN THE SUN – produced on Broadway in 1959. According to her late husband and producer Robert Nemiroff, and her official biographer Margaret Wilkerson, Lorraine was a lesbian who had many affairs while she was living separately from Nemiroff, in the years before her death. Loraine was a chain smoker, and died from cancer at age 35.You can read about it in Ms. Wilkerson’s upcoming biography which is expected next year.

  10. Brave post, Snob. Many straight black bloggers (aside from my man UndercoverBlackMan) would probably not touch the whole “gay thing”.Well, I’m straight as an arrow and even I can appreciate this post. There’s actually many examples of famous gay/bisexual individuals: Joan Armatrading, Sylvester, Toshi Reagon, Skin (Skunk Anasie), Donnie, Nona Hendryx, Labi Siffre, Frankie Knuckles, Kevin Aviance are some examples of noted black LGBT musical artists. I’m a fan of many of the folks you posted, especially Snoop (I was an obsessive fan of The Wire) and Meshell (she’s from my hometown; one of my all time favorite artists).It’s funny just the other day on Okayplayer.com, there was a post about the ambiguity of Queen Latifah’s sexuality. A poster was suggesting that if she “came out” after years and years of being a suspected lesbian, it would open doors for many other black celebs.Well, Latifah has never truly confirmed or denied any alledged sapphic tendecies. Neither has Missy Elliott. Or every other black celebs who been heavily bombarded with “is he/she gay?” suspicion. Is it really our business or should they be pioneers, if they truly are gay?It’s funny, lesbianism has been touched upon by some black female artists in song (Queen Pen, Total, Lil Kim, Trina, Janet Jackson) and a few female artists have touched on male homosexuality (Barbara Mason’s ’80s club hit “Another Man”; blues singer Peggy Scott Adams’ hit “Bill”) but never has a black male artist ever touched on or even alluded to homosexuality in song, directly of course. It’s interesting.Otherwise …it’s funny you mention Oprah as being the lone black celeb who truly has “big dog” status in the mainstream media. It used to BE her, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston who all shared that title. Halle Berry never came close. The mainstream media never cared all that much about her. Same thing with Will. They say blacks don’t sell magazines. Why is that?, I wonder. We sell everything else.

  11. Great post and on a topic I think needs more discussion esp amongst Black bloggers. I do think there’s a difference between people who engage in same-sex relationships when they’re going through issues/dry spell/etc and people who actually love someone of their gender. I didn’t know that Me’Shell was with Rebecca Walker. Don’t know how I didn’t put 2+2 together with that one. Another issue is how the gay-rights organizations just don’t do enough outright to communities and people of color but want to co-opt the Civil Rights struggle for personal gain. It’s not all about gay marriage. Trangendered people of color have the highest murder rate and tend to be brutalized by law enforcement more than helped. Of course all the other problems that poor people face are even more of an issue when you are glbt.

  12. I know from the black church perspective, non-white men came in a fought for their rights to be accepted by a traditional culture–name of Gustavo Gutierrez founded Liberation Theology. James Cone came back and founded Black Liberation theology, which was still a androcentric form of theology. Then scores of women, both black and white founded womanist and feminist branches of liberation theology.Then came Queer theology.And, all of the aforementioned groups were and still are quite hesitant to reach out a hand, just as non-white men were reluctant to open doors to women, it’s many women who are not opening the door to the LGBT community.I know this wasn’t a post about the DL culture, but forgive me and allow me to just say this:I’m not saying I know a whole lot, but living in Atlanta, and having a few gay friends, they’ve told me a LOT of people that they’ve seen in the clubs especially during the major pride events of Atlanta. The black gay men, and women are out there, but it’s really the fact that there is a stigma attached to them if they come out.Annnnnd, somehow I missed the memo on Barbara Jordan, Sheryl Swoopes (where the hell was I on that one) and Bayard Rustin.

  13. The total lack of acknowledging that they are a part of our community is what hurts so many people. Homophobia hurts our community as a whole. It simply amazes me when people either wonder if you are gay or not. I often ask why are people so concerned with the love lives of those in the BC who they assume are gay? It seems as if they have something over people that they can use against them. Ones love life is a private matter and who they chose to love is not ours.Just today at work, I overheard some of the women make comments about some of the new male employees about them being gay and that they are taking over. I told them that is what wrong to judge them like that and these women are practically in church 24-7, if they could be. We as a community miss out on a wealth of knowledge, talent, inspiration and love when we exclude those in our community because they are homosexuals. We miss out because when they have the courage to be who they are and not live a lie. Because of the blatant ignorance in the BC, their talents are used elsewhere in the greater community where they are greatly appreciated and not constantly judged because of their sexual orientation and are quite profitable.

  14. i think the reason i’m so cranky these days is because i miss my gay friends…and it hurts my feelings that people cannot accept people for who they are..really,how does what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms effect people in such a violent and intolerable way is beyond me…

  15. Food for thought:Is the black community suffering from homophobia or is it homosexual-ignorance?I mean, are people really afraid of gay people? (Yes, there are some out there, I know nothing is an absolute) Or do we just not understand the gay culture.At this point in the game, seeing as how gay people have been a fixture in so many facets of black life for so long, I’m convinced it’s more ignorance than it is fear–particularly by 2008. I mean yeah, gay folks get teased at school or anything–but I be damned if I found out about a gay person at school getting beat up. (I think the Morehouse case was more an aberration than anything else, and clearly was a case of homophobia.)Again as Snob pointed out, blacks should be the FIRST group to know what that feels like as far as fear and ignorance of a culture are concerned.

  16. the uppity negro: I think it’s a little of both. Some people, like my sorority sisters, were just a little ignorant or hypocritical. Like they loved their lesbian sorors but were suspicious of other gay people. But for the most part, it wasn’t a big deal, but no one felt OK in verbalizing that.Because we’re such a Church McChurch Church people, it’s the more pious members of the community who set the tone and much of the Christian community in blackland believe homosexuality is an abomination. So you’ve got this more influential group putting pressure on the masses while at the same time not calling out the church music ministry leader or choir instructor who may be gay as the day is long.My mother thinks black people didn’t start making a huge fuss over homosexuality until TV came along. Or that it just goes unspoken.But when it’s outward it can be brutal. I went to school with a boy who was transgendered. He did his hair like a girl and wore girlish clothes (but no skirts) and while he had friends he was a target by every jock in the school who constantly harassed and threatened him and the teachers did little because they too thought he was a freak.So education would fix some of it, but you’d have to get black people out of their comfort zone and engage with the gay community within our community. We shouldn’t be sending them off to gay exile.

  17. THANK YOU thank you thank you!!! Another amazing post. You are great. I remember being in undergrad and reading about James Baldwin in three different classes before one of my professors had the courage and foresight to say, “This author struggled not only as a Black man, but as a homosexual.” That blew me away. How could people leave out that detail…?

  18. I downloaded the Avenue Q song “IF YOU WERE GAY” from Amazon (for $1)It adds a nice touch to the discussion. Thank you for including it on your web-page, Danielle!

  19. This is a wonderful post. I appreciate as a black, gay woman.I’ve recently moved from a queer friendly area in Brooklyn to another area which, I believe, queer hostile. It upsets me to note that this new neighborhood is one with a Black majority. It makes me incredibly angry to see/hear men in front of a certain building harassing men they suspect of being gay. It makes me incredibly angry to hear children calling each other faggot and dyke as pejoratives.It saddens me that these are people who look like me.It pains me that the few queer kids in the area have to hide themselves or risk retribution. Snob, you’ve provided a whole list of people who do the Black community proud -who would do any community proud. I feel proud to be black and gay because I know that it puts me in excellent company.I feel like the Black community should embrace people who live with pride, dignity and valor of heart regardless of which side their bread is buttered on. What could be better for a community than people who are able to embrace love?

  20. I know I’m in the minority on this subject (at least in the comments), but I had to say my feelings. I guess I would be more of the Churchy McChurchy that Danielle described, where I truly believe that God does not agree with homosexuality and that it is a sin (along with fornication, murder, etc). I also don’t believe that it’s natural for a woman to be with a woman and a man to be with a man in that way. That being said, I also DON’T agree with harassing homosexuals or treating them with hatred. I do have family members who are living a homosexual life (I know many don’t believe it’s not a lifestyle, but I do). I hang out with them and love them, but I just don’t agree with that lifestyle. Like I said, I know I’m in the minority on this, but that’s the way I feel. I believe we each have a right to our convictions and that is mine. I don’t think you can compare homosexuality and racial problems equally. Unlike race, where it is undeniably a fact that you’re born that way, the genetics to homosexuality are debatable. Some say you’re born that way, others say it’s environmental/societal. As an example to that, with so much out there now on TV and in reading material about homosexual experiences, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be with another woman. Does that make me gay? I don’t think so. I think it makes me curious to that lifestyle, but I would never go that way. I love men. I love sex with men and I can’t imagine it any other way, even though I some times wonder. That is societal. And I believe many come into that lifestyle based on that curiosity.Regardless, being gay is something that can be hidden unlike race in most cases. And in most cases, it really isn’t our business unless it affects us personally.That’s my two cents.

  21. This is a great post. Thank you. I’d briefly like to address the Anonymous person directly above me–and all others who just toss out that homosexuality can be “hidden”. Just because something can be hidden does NOT mean that it is healthy to hide it.I’d love to challenge straight people–especially couples–to try hiding their sexual orientation for 3 months. I don’t mean pretending to be gay, I mean not acknowledging any type of sexuality at all. Hide it from everyone except the person you share your bed with.So when you are out with your friends/family and they start talking about their lovers/spouses/etc, you can’t join in. If a buddy says, look at that cute (insert gender here)–change the subject.If you are married, have a sig other, or are just on a date–try going out in public without any display of affection that would make someone assume you were a couple. No kissing, of course, but no long looks at each other, careful how you touch, and watch that body language. Anyone seeing you in public should assume you are related or just friends. If people should notice and ask why you are acting that way, make up any excuse you want–but don’t mention that you are in hiding. 3 months of having to watch your mannerisms and every word you say–3 months of not expressing any kind of sexuality. Try living in that closet and then let’s talk about how easy (and healthy) it is to hide sexuality behind a bedroom door.

  22. Like uppitynegro, I’m in the ministry (not a pastor,though). My thoughts:1. I see a similar dynamic at work toward gays in the church as I have seen in regard to female ministers. There are many theologians, I mean MDiv,ThD,DMin, preachers (and not) that do not believe women should be in ministry or leadership period, AND that (wait for it) this is supported by scripture. In the black church, because we place SOOOO much emphasis on what comes from the pulpit, the congregation invariably follows what the pastor espouses. The faulty logic seems to go “Do you(women) have to come up in HERE too? You lead everywhere else, can’t you just let us have this?” So, if you have the mentality that the pulpit is a masculine black space, you know how the church will feel towards Joe/Jane PewDweller who happens to be gay.2. We still, as a people, follow the “unless the white man said it it ain’t so” school of thought far too often. White evangelicals have a broad media reach, and here usn’s go running right behind them ‘yes boss’. 3.I think the black gay community needs to quit oppressing itself to be effective at combating outside oppression. Far and away, some of the worst oppressors in the black church are gay themselves – they know it, everyone else knows it, and yet they get in the pulpit and bash gays mercilessly. Including gospel singer/preachers *cough*.4. Anecdotally, I think black folks still operate under the conventional wisdom that says “you can’t do (fill in the blank) while your mama, big mama, grandma,etc is still living. If you come out you’ll put big mama in the grave…”Finally, I’d encourage gays not to lump all black Christian churches in one bucket – there are just as many who could care less about your sexual orientation and welcome you to be a part of the body of Christ. The ignorant ones, brush em off and keep looking until you find a good one.

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