Homosexuality

The Black Church and the Incessant Focus on Homosexuality

Same-Sex Marriage

From the beginning of this piece, I want to make it clear that I’m a strong supporter of traditional marriage and support marriage as it has been traditionally defined: marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman.  Many Black churches, however, are acting like there aren’t any other sins mentioned in the bible save homosexuality.  Homosexuality is a sin.  My problem with many Black preachers, however, is with their choice to devote too much of their time to preaching and discussing homosexuality.  When they do this, they make it appear that they think one of the greatest problems in the Black Church and the Black community is homosexuality.  I want this article to disabuse many Black preachers of their belief that homosexuality is one of the greatest problems in the Black Church and Black community.

With the Black unemployment rate at 13.2%, Black preachers must begin to focus their sermons, teachings, and discussions on economic uplift.  Concentrating on homosexuality isn’t going to get your congregations the jobs they need.  Many of those in the Black community that Black preachers are attempting to reach don’t see their primary problem to be homosexuality; they see the fact they’re unemployed as far more important than their sexual orientation and the sexual orientation of others.  Black preachers cannot honestly say they’re unaware of the economic problems of their congregants and community.  They see their unpleasant economic realities in the offering plates.

Why, then, do many Black preachers continue to concentrate on homosexuality when economic problems are far more pressing?  They know many of the members of their congregations are going to be pleased with harsh condemnations of homosexuals, considering it appeals to many of their members’ homophobic mindsets.  A typical response to a Black preacher speaking on the issue of homosexuality is as follows: “Girl, Pastor really preached today.  Did you hear him talk about them “faggots” and “sissies”? Child, them gay folks just nasty and going to Hell!”  While it’s true that if homosexuals do not repent of their sins they will inevitably go to Hell, language used to discuss homosexuals must still reflect true Christian love (agape).  Please explain how calling people disparaging names like “faggot” and “sissy” evinces agape.  It doesn’t!  Many Black preachers gain high acclaim (and even fame) for how aggressively they preach against homosexuality, and, as reward to them, they have large church memberships and lucrative financial dividends that end up in the offering plates.  In a number of Black churches, preaching about homosexuality simply sells—just as sex sells in postmodern American popular culture.

When millions of Black babies are aborted each year, why won’t more Black preachers discuss this vexing phenomenon?  The main reason they don’t is they are unwilling to run the risk of upsetting the numerous women who have had abortions who sit in their congregations.

Some of the most prevalent and important sins in the Black Church today are envy, division, unforgiveness, gossiping, and lying.  It seems, however, that many Black preachers don’t want to invest critical time to these issues because they see those sins to be more complicated and less attractive.  The aforementioned sins are the sins that significantly impair the witness of Christians.  When those who are unsaved see Christians who are struggling with envy, division, unforgiveness, gossiping, and/or lying, unsaved people don’t desire to hear what they have to say.

I’ve never seen so much envy in the Black Church as it is today.  Envy is a more damaging sin confronting the Black Church than is homosexuality.  When Black preachers start to addressing envy more, especially the envy in their churches, I will begin to believe they’re truly serious about getting people to live lives not dominated by sin.

I do contend that it’s important for the Black Church to offer a powerful response to the increasingly successful promotion of same-sex marriage (or marriage equality), but Black preachers shouldn’t let this become their main focus.  Most of these same Black preachers voted for President Obama, who publicly articulated his support for gay marriage.  On Sundays, many Black preachers are zealously condemning homosexuality, but are still swooning over a President diametrically opposed to their support of traditional marriage. 

It’s time for many Black preachers to return to an intellectual, Socratic, imaginative, forward-thinking and prophetic sermonic tradition that produced prodigious Black preachers like Reverend C.L. Franklin, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison                

The Value of Your Funk: Part Two

Funky Smells

In The Value of Your Funk: Part One, I defined “funk” to mean one’s imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to him or her.  For those who did not have a change to read Part One of this series, I encourage you to read it because we all are funky—always have been and always will be.  If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, you should not withhold important information about your past and present from him or her.  Your girlfriend or boyfriend deserves to know about things you have done in the past and things you’re doing now.

If in your past you have been considered “whorish” because you have had sex with numerous people, you should feel compelled to inform your partner about this.  Your partner deserves to know that you’ve had such an active sexual intercourse history.  He or she may not want to be with you after you disclose this information to him or her, but it’s only fair to let him or her know this.  One thing about your vexing past is details about it that you don’t want to come out can emerge at the most inopportune times.  It would, therefore, be useful for you to go ahead and engage in discourses with your girlfriend or boyfriend about things from your past that could negatively affect him or her or things you know he or she would not approve of if he or she knew about them.  You will set yourself up for failure later on in your relationship if you elect not to deal with troubling things from your past and present up front.

Don’t run away from your past!

Your past is an essential part of who you are and what you have and will become.  Details about your past help people to understand more about you, even if you’ve completely turned away from living a certain type of life.  People will honor how you have changed your life, reject you because of your past, or they may be indifferent but don’t try to hide your past.  Be yourself.  Be honest with people.  No matter what you attempt to do to cover up your funk, it’s inevitably going to rise to the surface.

In no way am I saying that you should share everything with your girlfriend or boyfriend.  It probably is not appropriate to share everything with anyone.  You should, however, share essential information with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

For those of you who have had sexual intercourse with members of the same sex, and you’re now in a solemn relationship with someone of the opposite sex, you have a responsibility to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you have had sex with members of the same sex.  You know this is something that is going to worry you for the rest of your life if you don’t reveal it to your mate.  You will always fear he or she is going to find out.  Why not let him or her know up front?  Go ahead and combat any consequences and/or challenges of exposing the truth from your past in the early stages of your relationship rather than later on in your relationship.  If you wait until later on in your relationship, you mate is probably not going to be able to forgive you and may never be able to trust you again.  You run the risk of making yourself even more miserable about your past.

Without question, Black men have the most difficult time divulging they are gay or bisexual.  Many Black bisexual men who are involved in meaningful relationships with women are too afraid to unveil they are bisexual or once were bisexual.  Your bisexual past and present is a critical dimension of your identity.  Why are you attempting to bury it or camouflage it?  You’re always going to be uncomfortable with yourself when you’re unwilling to deal critically with your funk.  Hiding who you truly are from people only results in you denying yourself from living a liberated and happy life.  Why withhold from yourself a chance at living a truly free and happy life?  Is pleasing your family, friends, and society that vital to you that you’re willing to surrender who you really are for them?

Stop living a lie.  Stop presenting yourself as heterosexual in public when you’re really gay in private.  Your public and private self will always be in conflict when you’re not willing to be honest with yourself and those around you.  Stop people pleasing and simply be yourself.  What’s wrong with being yourself?

Now, there are people who will claim they are themselves but are unwilling to live a life reflective of truly being themselves.  Being yourself takes more commitment than simply saying and writing it—it takes a willingness to face the backlash of those who overtly and subtly despise you because you’ve made the choice to be yourself.  You’re not being yourself when you do and say things just to please people and to prevent them from calling you names that will offend you.

If you’re not truly committed to being yourself, stop saying and writing “be yourself.”  You severely distort and damage the essential message of those of us who truly are ourselves.

An unwillingness to be yourself will inevitably not make you any good for yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Be a real man and real woman and face your funk.  Your funk is not going anywhere so don’t spend your entire life running from it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Exploring the Popular Use of “Don’t Judge Me”

“Don’t judge me” is increasingly becoming a popular and pervasive statement, especially among the 16 year old – 35 year old crowd.  I’m not against people judging me or anyone else. However, you must be qualified to judge others.  You should not be really serious about your use of “don’t judge me.”  While I think that it’s quite entertaining when I see “don’t judge me” used on Twitter and Facebook, you really should not be too concerned about what people say about you.  I’m not, however, saying that you should not totally overlook what people say about you and that you should not respond to some things people say about you. You should not overlook some things people say about you and you should respond to some things people say about you. However, I want to devote my dominant attention to my argument that you must be qualified to be an effective judge.

We cannot stop people from judging others and we should not try to prevent people from judging others.  What I would like for those who are committed to judging others is for them to be qualified about the things and aspects of people they judge.  For example, so many true and supposedly heterosexual people are quick to make a determination about whether a man is gay.  They will look at surface level things and rush to a quick judgment and call him gay.  As a deep and committed intellectual, I’m bother by how so many people will make a sweeping conclusion about someone’s sexual orientation and/or identity by just observing him in such a short amount of time.  Every man does not have a deep voice.  Every man does not and has no desire to “bust slack.”  Every man does not and cannot walk in a way that’s predominantly perceived by society as a “heterosexual way of walking.”

By the way, is there some class available that heterosexual men or women teach that men who want to learn how to walk like the typical heterosexual man can attend to learn this style of walking?  If so, I would like for you to let me know so that I can tell the people who are not committed to simply being themselves where they can attend this class.  Thanks in advance.

Some people even get a thrill out of being able to “detect” when a man is gay.  If the man does not reveal to you that he’s gay, then what makes your determination that he’s gay an intelligent judgment?  I’m not suggesting that you have to be gay to determine whether a man is gay, but your conclusions should not be based on the most inane surface level things that you see and hear.  What prevents you from mustering the courage to personally ask the man if he’s gay?  Always do this in an appropriate way because the method you elect to ask him can amount to nothing more than an attack, even if this was not your true intent.  If you are truly serious about being an effective judge, then why won’t you do the work that’s necessary to truly get to the bottom of your claims?  It amuses me sometimes and flummoxes at other times how someone can hear and/or see things out of context and then immediately arrive at a conclusion that someone is gay.

Always put things in their proper contexts.

People make judgments about myriad phenomena besides sexual orientation.  I selected to use sexual orientation as my primary example because sexual orientation is a phenomenon people often make swift judgments about without any critical thought.  Another example I could have focused on at length is about how people make judgments about others being smart.  People who are not smart are hasty to tell others that they are smart.  While their determinations may be true, what are the values and principles they employ for making their claims?  Do they even have any values and principles?  I could continue on and on with examples.

If you’re going to judge people, then make as strong of an effort as possible to ground your judgments in truth.  Try to avoid making judgments about things you have limited or no knowledge about.  Be real with yourself too and don’t try to pretend that you know everything.  If you want to be a qualified judge, then you need to focus on substantive things when you make your judgments.  While I certainly don’t have a problem with people judging others, I just don’t want you to end up looking like a fool because you focused on the wrong things and your conclusions materialize to be completely wrong.

Don’t be a fool.  Make informed, substantive, and wise judgments.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Why Are You Not More Transparent Like Don Lemon?

Too many gay Black men hide behind relationships with women—even have sex with them—to avoid shame. They don’t want their family, friends, co-workers, and associates to know that at their core they are gay. I’m not talking about men who are truly bisexual. Authentically bisexual men exist and they men should tell their partners they are bisexual. However, my problem lies with those Black men who know they are gay and would desire nothing more to just be gay, but don’t have the courage to simply be gay, so they just hide their homosexuality behind public facades and dishonest relationships with women. Okay, even if these men are truly bisexual, why won’t they tell these women they are bisexual? Many gay Black men will get married and/or have babies with women just to attempt to conceal their homosexuality.  Don’t the women who are they are having sex with have a right to know they are sleeping with men?

Don Lemon, an African-American male Emmy award-winning news anchor for CNN, recently disclosed on CNN and in his new book, Transparent, that he is gay. He also promulgated that he had been molested as a young child. Although there are many narratives available about men being molested as children and living a homosexual life as adults, what I appreciated most about Don Lemon publically divulging that he is gay is how casual he revealed it and how it’s not such a big deal to him. The comfortable way in which Lemon communicated that he is gay has the potential to unsettle some aspects of the ways in which homosexuality is discussed in the Black community. His verbal and non-verbal communication expressed a powerful message that what he was publically unveiling about his sexuality and sexual orientation is just as common as heterosexuality, and that homosexuality is not something novel, considering you know people who are family members and friends who are gay—if you are not gay yourself.

He considered all of the other aspects of his book to be far more important than the fact that he is gay. He even talked about the fact that he could have taken out revealing that he was gay at any point, but it was recent developments concerning young people and homosexuality that caused him to leave his story about his own sexual abuse and gay identity in the book. You will, therefore, have to give me some stronger arguments and rationales that he just penned this book to publicly disclose that he’s gay to get money.  Even though he didn’t just compose this book to express that he’s gay to get money and/or attention, do you have the courage to do the same?

Speaking of courage, it’s the lack of courage that prevents gay Black men from telling their family, friends, and others that they are gay. While I’m fully aware that there are consequences for promulgating that you are gay to your family, friends, and others, you must remove the veil that you put on about your sexuality if you truly want to be a transparent person at your core. The target audience for my previous two sentences is really those Black men who are involved in relationships with women just to cover up their homosexuality. If you are accomplished and/or successful like Don Lemon, what would keep you from living a life where you are free to enjoy the freedom to live out your sexuality as publically as you live out other aspects about who you are?

Many Black married men are having sex with gay men and are not telling their wives. This lack of transparency threatens the lives of these women. It’s unfair to hide your homosexual affairs from the woman you are married to because she didn’t marry you for you to be loving up on some other man.

I find it quite interesting that supposedly heterosexual men will have sex with gay men and do things after they have sex to try to prove to the gay men that they are not gay. What? Really? Were you not gay when you were having sex with the gay men? You’re gay—face it! If you have sexual intercourse where you penetrate a man in his anus and/or you let a man penetrate you in the anus, you are gay. If you gave and/or received oral sex from a man, you are gay. If you have had sexual intercourse of any kind with a man, you are gay. If you are thinking about doing these things, then you are gay too. Face it!

Stop using these women as trophies to attempt to hide your homosexuality. If you want to be a homosexual, just be a homosexual. No, you don’t have to reveal your sexuality to everyone, but you should disclose it to the women you are involved with, married to, or considering getting involved with or marrying. Do you have the courage to tell them?

If you are transparent with the right people in your life about your sexuality, then you might just find out life is more free and enjoyable. Before just recently, Don Lemon had not told the world that he is gay, but he had let his co-workers and the people close to him know that he is gay. While you may not be gay, are there other aspects about you that you don’t have the courage to unveil to the people close to you? What factors, if any, keep you from living a more transparent life?

To Don Lemon, I salute you for having the courage to “be yourself.” I have been championing the message of “be yourself” all of my life. Don, you have given America an opportunity to wrestle with the importance of being transparent and have given us an opportunity to explore what being transparent really means. Thank you, Don Lemon!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Men Masquerading: Part 5

I have decided to end this particular series with this article. I will return to this topic in the future.  The focus of this article is on how many Black males in Black fraternities lie about their sexuality and struggle to hide their problems with Black male sexuality. When it comes to the selection process of who gets into a Black fraternity, there is so much concern expressed by men declaring themselves to be heterosexual about candidates being gay or possibly being gay. These men will do whatever is necessary to try to keep men out of these fraternities if they are gay or they suspect them to be gay. Black fraternities are non-profit organizations that cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, and etc. Unfortunately, they do. The larger question that must be explored is why do they discriminate against people who they think might be gay and/or who are gay. Why is whether or not a Black man is gay or not a serious concern for many of these Black fraternity members?

After giving this much thought, I have resolved that this extreme concern about whether an applicant for membership is gay or not is more about many of these Black fraternity members’ desire to sleep with these men. Why else would they be so concerned about their sexuality then? There is one Black fraternity that is highly suspected of having many gay members, but this is the same fraternity that does the majority of the discriminating against applicants who they think are gay. Many members of this fraternity will say, “I think he suspect,” when they think a person is gay. By saying this, these men begin an evil attempt to make sure that the applicant does not become a member. Why is there such a focus on the sexuality of these applicants? Has the applicants’ sexuality become the most important thing to these Black fraternities?

In one particular chapter of the previously referred to Black fraternity, some alumni members of the fraternity try to characterize the undergraduate chapter members in a negative light because they think they are gay. Think about this for a moment: You got old Black men placing their dominant concern on whether or not these younger Black men are gay. This is simply stupid and immature! One alumni member of this same chapter of this same fraternity told me that he would never hire one particular undergraduate member to work for him because he does not like the fact the guy has dreadlocks, and he did not want to hire another undergraduate member because he thought his weight and style of dressing does not positively reflect on the fraternity. This alumni member also told me that he thinks that the president of the alumni chapter is incompetent. I could go on and on about what this alumni member has said about the members of his own organization. What this demonstrates is there is a need for many Black men in these fraternities to be more mature about how they vote on applicants for membership. Let me make it clear that I’m not talking about all Black men in Black fraternities. I am, however, talking about many Black men in Black fraternities.

In these Black fraternities, there are serious divisions between members because some elected to engage in hazing (which is illegal) and some chose not to. Would you please explain to me why these divisions resulting from hazing are so essential? How does this represent true brotherhood? Do you still value true brotherhood? What do you think the founders of your fraternities would say about these stupid divisions within your organizations? What do you get out of beating (hazing) your brother? Could this beating (hazing) be a fetish? I also would like to know what members of these fraternities think about members you voted against while undergraduates, who you thought were gay, who later became members through an alumni chapter.

Many of these Black men in fraternities do not want gay Black men or ones who they or others think are gay to be members of their fraternities because they fear people are going to find out they are gay and/or start thinking they are gay. I want you to know this means you are uncomfortable with your sexuality. What is it that you are hiding? Please tell me. Do you despise the openly gay members of your fraternities or the ones you or others think are gay? What is it about gay men that you dislike so much that you do not want them in your fraternities?

Instead of focusing on who’s gay and who’s not, how about paying your fraternal dues! Lol! Instead of engaging in frivolous discourses and activities, how about creating programs that matter and that produce measurable results. Instead of talking negatively about fellow members of your fraternity behind their backs, how about doing some real community service. Instead of just walking around with your paraphernalia on, how about making serious efforts to ameliorate the progression of the Black male in the postmodern epoch.

Too many Black men are using these fraternities as masking agents to hide their true problems, deceptions, and insecurities. I call for you insecure Black fraternity members to stop hating on candidates who are simply more accomplished than you. One member of a fraternity hates on me because he has his Ph.D. and has no job. It’s not my fault that you did not work to achieve genuine accomplishments while you were in school. I guess you can take some satisfaction in walking around and talking that fake talk like you are doing something important in a fake “lab” making pennies from a fake grant.

Black men, let’s get real so that we can rise up and be the leaders we need to be for such serious and dangerous times like we face in the present.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Men Masquerading: Part 4

Black Gay Men

Before I begin with the true purpose of this piece, would any of you like to tell me why you have so much pride in saying, “I’m in deez streets”? This sounds quite ignorant to me. Well, let me get immediately to the focus of this piece: gay Black men who feel they have to be so extreme about how they express their sexuality. Many homosexuals feel like they have to tell the world they are gay. If you feel the need to do this, then I really don’t have a problem with you. I do, however, have problems with those of you who are just being so flamboyant to get attention. When you are being overly flamboyant intentionally, you are not being your true self—you are simply being vain and hiding who you truly are. Some of you gay Black men invest too much time in making sure that people know you are gay and making sure that you get attention. You are robbing yourself of the true fullness life has to offer you. Let me also tell you that just publicly promulgating that you are gay does not mean that you are “real,” that is, not masquerading. While you may be very open and honest about what you elect to do in your bedroom, this does not excuse you from the other areas in your life you are dishonest about.

I have heard too many gay Black men claim degrees they don’t have, claim men they don’t have, claim homes they don’t have, claim jobs they don’t have, claim cars they don’t have, and claim clothes they don’t have. Why do you all do this? It seems that you do this because you are compensating for something you are missing. What is it? What are you missing? Yeah, you are comfortable with your sexuality, but why are you not comfortable in other important areas?

Why do so many gay Black men participate in gay pride parades? I have no problem with you loving the fact that you are gay and that there are other gay folk around you to love. However, don’t gay pride parades amount to nothing more than vain cries for attention? If you are so sure about yourself, why do you have to go to such extremes for recognition and attention? It seems to me, therefore, that gay people in general are going to have to do more examining of their personal deceptions—just as much as they are asking heterosexual people to do. By the way, to those gay Black men who believe all men are gay, I want you to know that all men are not gay so stop saying this.

If gay Black men want to benefit from an America that is more honest, then they need to be more honest themselves. When you are intentionally being overly flamboyant, I want you to stop and think about how you are really being fake. Don’t be so overly flamboyant that you end up sleeping with all of the men it is possible to sleep with. Please have some standards for yourself. HIV/AIDS has no concern with your desire for attention.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Men Masquerading: Part 2

Have a baby and prove your masculinity, right? Mention that you are screwing this woman and this woman and prove your masculinity, right? Use inarticulate language and prove your masculinity, right? Get on Facebook and use hood vernacular and prove you’re a thug, right? Indicate that you’re “in a relationship or in a relationship with” and prove your masculinity, right? Lol! I’m not going there right now. In this piece, I will address Black men who cheat on their girlfriends and wives. It really does not make sense for anyone to cheat on the person who he or she is involved with. If you no longer want to be with the person, then be man or woman enough to let the person know. Don’t be a coward and not tell the person who you are involved with that you are being faithful to him or her and you know you’re not. Although I am well aware that women cheat on men, the focus of this piece is on Black men who cheat.

Black men have a little more respect for women than to use them as toys. Have more value for our Black women than to use them to boost your social status. Many Black men who cheat try to pretend like they are such loyal men in front of their women, but just as soon as they get a chance they are trying to pull off other women’s panties. If you want to be a “player (playa),” then just let your woman know this and move on to someone else. You want to be called a player not to satisfy your physical body, but to gain approval in the eyes of other men and some dumb women who think that this is “hot.” Have more respect for your mother than to want to be called a player. I am sure that your mother did not want to give birth to a whore. When you strive to be a player, you are not even giving yourself the opportunity to really enjoy the fullness of the company of a woman and the full enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Why? Because you’re more concerned with reifying women than experiencing what a real relationship with one woman can offer you.

When you go around and sleep with every woman that you can, this does not do anything to improve your resume or credentials—it simply moves you a step closer to dying from HIV/AIDS. Be more responsible sexually. You should at least think about the potential harm  you could be causing the women you are having sex with. When you ruin their lives with diseases that threaten their lives, you are not only victimizing those women, you are victimizing their families and friends. All of this can be avoided if you would get over your fear of simply being yourself. Stop living for society’s expectations for you and live for your own meaningful expectations. Be yourself!

I know some bisexual men who think that it is cute to sleep with as many men and women as possible. I have to let some of you bisexual men know that your whorish ways is what exacerbates the HIV/AIDS crisis we have here in America. The problem I have with many of you bisexual men who cheat on your girlfriends or wives is your secretiveness is what exposes these men and women to such great dangers. Black women need to recognize that they are going to have to demand more quality things from their Black men before they can truly be the men they need to be.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison