Jeff Johnson on Homophobia in the Black Community

Jim Burroway

December 17th, 2009

JeffJohnsonDC-based journalist and activist Jeff Johnson appeared on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show yesterday and talked about Annise Parker’s victory in Houston, making that city the largest city in America with an openly gay mayor.

Jeff talked about the homophobic campaign associated with her opponent leading up to the run-off election, and the alliances that many in the local African-American community formed with her opponent, former city attorney Gene Locke. Jeff observes the oddity of many prominent voices in the African-American community uniting with other extremely political conservatives who “in many cases, they wouldn’t even want to sit down with dinner with,” and charges that “they based this alliance solely on this woman’s sexual orientation.” He continued:

We as a Black community still have not been willing to have an honest conversation about the fact that we’re homophobic, about the fact that our churches in many cases are running the lead on demonization of homosexuality even when their doctrine speaks to restoration. And so if we want to be serious we’re going to lift up this notion of there’s a problem or theirs a crisis with our down-low brothers — the down-low brothers are leading the AIDS epidemic and we have a problem — but not recognize that you create down-low brothers by having a community that’s unwilling to embrace its own brothers that are gay.

… How can we begin to have honest conversations about the fact that these are our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers, our sons and our daughters that in many cases are dealing with a crisis of identity in an environment that tells them that who they are is wrong?

I don’t want to argue the theology of homosexuality. I don’t want to argue whether you think it’s moral or not. What I want to deal with is that these are members of our community that needs to be supported. There are young people in schools that are being abused because of their sexual orientation, and we’re turning our backs on it.

You can listen to Jeff’s commentary at the National Black Justice Coalition web site.


December 17th, 2009

More black gay people need to speak up and more black gay people need to get involved.

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