When Is “Enough” Enough?

by Rev . Dr. Yvette A. Flunder

Recently, some African American pastors who came to “heckle” me changed their minds and instead asked me what they could do to move the conversation about moral equality for LGBT people in the Black church forward.

I appreciate their honesty regarding the difficulty of this justice shift and the courage of those who will embark on it.

It is clear to all of us that nothing will be resolved by press conferences and media fights, paid for by people who do not have our community’s best interest at heart.

I would begin with the acknowledgment that Same-Gender-Loving (SGL) people have always been present in Black churches. The gifts and skills of this community have blessed and benefitted the church for years, from the ushers at the door to the singers in the choir and the preachers in the pulpit.

What must be addressed is the expectation that in order to remain in their churches, this community must be relegated to functioning as a secret society, forced to experience clandestine and anonymous relationships because to live their lives out loud and with integrity is not permitted. This suggests that having multiple secret partners is at least tolerated while community-supported monogamy is forbidden.

LGBT people are over-sexualized in the same way African Americans are, but for LGBT people, this myth is often encouraged and supported by the culture of the church.

Acceptance is in direct proportion to how well a SGL person can stay on the “down low” and not be seen often with the same person. Why should anyone have to live this way?

I would also suggest that the leaders of churches move beyond the “fear of association” paradigm that gives rise to secret friendships—and sometimes romantic relationships—with Same-Gender-Loving people while these same leaders simultaneously berate them from the pulpit.

I am aware that there is a great fear of being labeled, due in large part to the presence of an embedded competitive patriarchy model in the African American church.

It is not unique to us, but the competition is fierce to have the biggest, best, and most at any cost.

Our community needs some secure grown men and women who know who they are and have the will to do what Jesus did. He did not diminish the company he kept in order to aggrandize himself. He let folks judge him by his company without reprisal. That is the way secure, mature, and loving leadership conducts itself.

Finally, to my LGBT sisters and brothers, it is time to give some real thought to the damage done to your psyche by continuing to silently support emotional and theological abuse.

I am aware that there is a price to pay if you refuse to be simply tolerated and relegated to the secret society, but most of the freedoms we experience today came because someone said, “enough is enough.”

The question is when is “enough” enough for you?

I know we are slow to change but let’s get to work on this, Family, so we can move on to greater work together.

Originally published by Many Voices, a Black church movement for gay and transgender justice; Photo by Andrew Snow for Believe Out Loud

Comments (1)

Terrance E.L. Brooks

It is about time we all sit
It is about time we all sit down at the table and address the treatment of the LGBT members in the black church, I spent a large part of my life feeling like I was a mistake and an evil creation from hell.So this drove me to try and make everyone proud of me. Do what is acceptable in the church , community and in my profession which is education. I married two females, one because she said she was pregnant, the second one, because I wanted a family and I asked God to put the woman before me that would love and understand my struggle. So my first marriage annulled the marriage after 13 months of marriage. She divorced me and remarried and died of an aneurism. The second woman, very strong and caring Christian woman, who I was very up front with and to this day she will tell you I shared more than she cared to hear. Each year it became more difficult for us to procreate, so we were bless with two lovely sons 13 months apartment. I asked God could I have my two boys first and then my boys were about 9 & 10, I want my daughter, so that they can protect her. My wife of 7 years had continued asking me do you miss being gay, do you miss your first love which was a man? I tried real hard to be what the church and world was telling to be. Each time I was with a female, I could not be aroused unless I envisioned a man. What was wrong with this picture? I was always unhappy and I could not even look myself in the mirror to brush my teeth , nor wash my face. She continued asking these two questions to see where my head was at. I always told her here is where I am at and this where I am trying to make work, because this is what is right. I tried to commit suicide twice and I tried to tell my first cousins that I was gay back in 1980. I just couldn’t because I thought my family would kick me to the curve and not love me anymore. I actually prayed to God my father the very one everyone in the church told me he would cast me into a lake of fire for all eternity, because I am a product of evil. The Lord spoke to my heart and reveal to me that I need to speak about true and truth. Now I researched that concept and I learned that true is a real or false entity, and truth deeply relates to fidelity. In order to have a relationship with God, I had to have fidelity with God and with myself. So on August 2012 5 years after my mother, my best friend, passed away from ovarian cancer and years of counseling for 7 year old fondling done by a ten year old, I came out on a change.org petition supporting the modern family television.

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