If You Ask The Black Church, Some Black Lives Matter and Others Are Disposable

Our humanity is nonnegotiable. LGBTQ lives matter, too.

My message to the Black Church is simple: choose a side. Liberate or oppress. Victimize or humanize. Dismantle systems of oppression or maintain systems of domination. Our community — your community — is in crisis. And your house is divided. Now is the time to get your house in order; this cannot wait.

At the heart of your stained reputation is an inability to grapple with intersectionality and the complexity of Black embodiment.

It is no secret that the Black Church has a long, condemnable history of vilifying the Black LGBTQ community. Words laced with homophobia and scriptural interpretations doused with transphobia are commonplace in too many of our churches. Toxic theologies that routinely dehumanize and antagonize queer folks are normalized in sacred spaces, in Sunday school classes and clergy offices. These insidious indignities greet queer folks at the door, usher us into the sanctuary, and berate us in the pews. In churches where freedom and love supposedly abound, we are told to wrap ourselves in shame and live our lives in silence, as if it is the price of our admission.

In churches where freedom and love supposedly abound, we are told to wrap ourselves in shame and live our lives in silence, as if it is the price of our admission.

Sunday after Sunday, our spiritual homes render us invisible — until it is time for us to pray, preach, sing, or give. For all intents and purposes, our divinity is casually extracted and our humanity is perpetually ignored.

Our blood is being spilled in the streets; it is crying out from the ground and our churches still refuse to bear witness to our painful plight.

The nullification of our humanity, at the hands of the Black Church, simply exacerbates the continued erasure of our pain and our deaths. Case in point. Black congregants and clergy took to the streets to say the names of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd; the latest victims of modern day lynchings in the United States. But, one name was conspicuously missing from the chants and sermons coming from the Black Church — Tony McDade. Killed by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida, two days after George Floyd, McDade’s name fell through the proverbial cracks of clergy concern. More recently, two Black trans women — Riah Milton in Ohio and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells in Pennsylvania — were killed within a 24 hours period. And again, I have yet to see prominent Black pastors clamoring to demand justice and accountability for their attackers; their silence is deafening. These are only the latest examples of Black churches being derelict in their spiritual duty to be a refuge for the vulnerable and an advocate for the oppressed. At this point, it has become routine.

queer church boy musing about race, religion, and politics.

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