Recently, a young black gay guy from my hometown reached out to me about his sexuality. He wants to be happy and out of the closet, however he can’t get pass one belief. This kid thinks he has a demon in him, but not just any demon, a homosexual demon. In his church, he’s told that gays and lesbians are possessed by demons.
I was told the same mess when I was younger. It didn’t stick with me; I thought it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. But for many LGBT black Americans that lie, along with several other lies, haunts them for most of their lives.
I want to address these myths many LGBT people continue to hear in the black church. Here’s a list of the top ten lies the black church tells about being gay, lesbian, or transgender.
1) Demon possession. There is no homosexual demon or any demon of that nature. It’s a lie and silly one at that.
2) Homosexuality is designed to break up the black family. No, ignorance and bigotry causes the problems in the family. A true loving family looks beyond someone’s sexuality or gender, and remains loving and supportive.
3) You can be delivered from homosexuality through prayer. Nope, you can’t pray the gay away, but you will waste a lot of time on your knees.
4) Find someone of the opposite sex to chase away “those feelings”. That doesn’t work. Why would you force yourself to be with someone you are not attracted to?
5) Lack of a father figure leads to homosexuality. That’s a huge myth; many LGBT people come from a two-parent household.
6) Sexual abuse is the cause of homosexuality. … Please.
7) The Bible says it’s a sin. Okay, if we’re going to play that game the Bible also says being drunk is a sin and debating is a sin. Hell, they’re over 600 sins. If you are going to pick just one, you have to pick them all.
8) You are a broken person if you are gay, trans or lesbian. Donnie McClurkin preaches to his church members that we are broken, and we will never be whole until we give up our homosexuality. This is also a lie. By being honest and open, we are completely whole and true to ourselves.
9) Homosexuality is a curse. Really? It’s not a spell from a wicked queen. It’s who we are; it’s who we’re meant to be.
10) You will burn in Hell. I can’t imagine burning in Hell for being yourself or sharing your life with someone you love. If this is so wrong, how can we be capable of love?
As a new generation rises, I hope the ignorance and bigotry within the black church dies. Black Christians have to realize these lies can do more harm than good. These lies can weaken someone’s self-worth and self-esteem, leading them down a destructive path. The black church needs to know that condemning black LGBT people is not the way, but embracing and acknowledging the black LGBT community is.
The message has to change.
This post originally ran on Bilerico in 2011