“Have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church, I brought in with me [and] I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.” — Alice Walker
There are plenty of black queer people that I have grown to love who found their first heartbreak in the House of the Lord. It is a humiliating heartbreak. It is a heartbreak that happens with the preacher in the pulpit and the onlookers shouting in tongues shaming how others might choose to use theirs.
I have known many black queer people that are no longer here because they decided to crucify themselves in their closets. I did not grow up in the church, I have only visited. However, I would still consider myself theist because of all the black queer people that have habitually shared God with me throughout my life.
Near the end of January, the inters-of-nets were aflame with conversation surrounding Kim Burrell‘s comments condemning the homosexual spirit that was ravishing so many people across God’s green earth. It is important to note that like domination practices itself, what Burrell said was not necessarily unique or new. Either way, it went public. The weaponization of Christianity against the queer body and life is not unique to black people, but just like all other forms of domination, it does become radicalized and different in the black community.
It is not more or less intense, but it is special.
This is to say, to be rejected by the church as a black queer person is not to just be rejected by God, but the world that holds the birth of Rock ‘N Roll, blues, jazz; where Whitney Houston found her voice and the place that dreamed up Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Homophobia in the black community isn’t necessarily more or less, but it is unique. And like most unique things, it changes how other things are accepted and experienced.