As I near 30, my bullshit meter has gotten more and more fine tuned, as opposed to the hair trigger it was, when I first lost my faith. It's easy to say that the black community on large is deeply religious and engulfed in the Christian belief system, but I think you'd need to live it to actually know it. To grow up in a vehemently homophobic society where apparently being gay or non-Christian was worse than stealing, lying, fighting, selling drugs, or murdering. To remain closeted because you'd rather suffer internally than to ever be subjected to the cruelty and vitriol that the openly gay men and women endured for daring to be themselves. As it is, I have taken the approach of not so much coming out to my family and friends, but rather coming out to myself, living more openly and honestly so that they see how I live and know it.
Did I also mention that I am an atheist? This revelation came a lot later than my homosexuality and the funny thing is, I'd rather my entire community know I was gay than know I was also an atheist as well. Although Christianity was the de facto standard for my hometown of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, my grandmother (who raised me) was a Jehovah's Witnesses, and that was the religion of my house. Ultimately, it was 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other in regards to bible teachings and cherry picking, but it was little more extreme than your average Christian denomination, something I didn't know until I got older. "Everlasting Life" was their biggest selling point, preaching that we mere mortals who dedicated our lives to Jehovah and would be resurrected (if we died, that was) and would live on a paradise earth for all of eternity. Now, don't get me wrong: as a child, the thought of death scared me. But even still, that little nugget of logic would rear its ugly head and I would be forced to look at reality. And the reality was, not only did "Everlasting Life" sound absurd, it didn't even appeal to me. I didn't want to live forever... that sounded like torture. Not to mention, the logistics of how an Earth this size could support an ever expanding population that would never die off... I mean, come on, now.
There are a select few members of my family that know I am gay. The funny thing is, my aunt, sister, and female cousins already knew, while none of my male family members did -- save only one. The thing is, I am not a "stereotypical gay man" that many in our community look to for identifying a gay man. You see it all the time in movies, and apparently the newer black producers, like your Steve Harveys and Tyler Perrys, that don't want to vary from the script. You know, the "sashaying, swishing, lip popping, flamboyant queens" that emphasize the letter "S" so hard that it sounds like the Goodyear blimp sprung a leak? And don't get me wrong... there is nothing wrong with any of what I just said. In fact, I tip my hat to these courageous men because they are the true pioneering soldiers for daring to walk and "sashay" in defiance of social norms and tell society to take them or leave them. What annoys me the most is that, in the black community, femininity in men is not only automatically seen as being gay, but is almost expected when you actually are gay. I guess I can't like watching football or basketball unless I'm drooling all over the athletes while wearing my best cheerleading leotard, huh?
Homophobia and Christianity have always gone hand in hand with the black community, on a whole. In my opinion, however, I have always gotten the impression that Christianity is often used as an excuse by some of these Christians to mask their own discomfort with their own identities. Not that I am saying that every last black man that has said something homophobic to me was a latent homosexual -- although I can't count how many times these same men would make sexual gestures and suggestive comments to me when no one else was around. It is just that being openly anti-gay is still acceptable in the black community. Blame it on the music, the culture, or just willful ignorance and refusal to learn anything. And I say Christianity is used as a get out of jail free card for homophobes because it's a really good card for them. After all, why do you have to justify your disdain for the LGBT community when you have a big book supposedly inspired by the same supernatural being that everyone around you believes in and hates the same things you do? I guess they hit the jackpot when it came to anti-gay, misogynistic gods who will ignore every other "sin" in the book... as long as you're straight when you're doing it and "repent".
I don't care if this blog doesn't go anywhere because I'm doing this mostly for me (I care a little... not gonna lie). I'm not trying to be political, or controversial, or to be unique... I'm already those things without needing to type a few paragraphs on the Internet. I'm simply a black, gay, atheist man who is trying to find his path in this narrow existence. I'm trying to show other unique people who are just like me (I know what I said) that they are not alone either. When we are in a society and family that is so embedded in religion that it can almost be unbearable to log on to your Facebook because of the insufferable abundance of posts on Jesus or God and religious posts that pack on the religious guilt. I would love to know if there are more black atheists out there. Life is too damn short to live in the closet of atheism...and homosexuality.
Our priorities are fucked, black community. So busy giving a proverbial pass to the problems that affect us, like the gang-bangers, drug dealers, robbers, murderers, and the deadbeat parents... and yet we want to focus our attention on who Laurence is sleeping with at night...what Church he goes to, and why he's not thanking God for every single thing he can think of. Why don't you stop putting your money in the collection plates on Sunday and actually do something useful with it? Or -- and here's something you can do if you insist on being religious -- why don't you actually follow the full tenets of your faith instead of weeding out the things you don't want to do because even you see how absurd and immoral it is, in addition to being terribly inconvenient to your fornicating loins that need to be satisfied? It hurts when you're not accepted for who you are, especially when who you are does not hurt a single person or takes away from your character. But it hurts even more when you are surrounded by people who could easily accept you and know you if they were willing to... except they aren't. We got our priorities all fucked up, "black community."
Okay, I'm done.
Okay, I'm done.