That Nashville Statement Is Religious Trash

It’s been a long while since I’ve been a regular churchgoer, but God, if you’re reading this, might I borrow Moses’ old staff so I can go Old Testament (no shade, Jesus) and swat the shit out of a bunch of conservative evangelicals?

This week, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood unveiled The Nashville Statement. Whose man is this? It’s some right-wing evangelical organization, so, by and large, a bunch of Jesus freaks who Christ wouldn’t fuck with. What do they want? Sadly, it is not a declaration imploring Shania Twain to make good on her desire to collaborate with Nicki Minaj.

Instead, it’s a bunch of overbearing Christians once again bastardizing dogma to demonize anyone that is gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, or intersex.

Per their preamble, the group, which boasts of over 150 Christian leaders across the country, declares: “As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large, the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life.”

Note that while organized religion is in decline among millennials, Christianity isn’t exactly headed towards the fate of the iPod or Phaedra Parks’ Bravo career anytime soon. But why let facts get in the way of folks’ precious tropes. Lord knows Christians like these folks like to feign persecution with their over dramatic asses. Bless their hearts.

In any event, this lil’ manifesto is a list of 14 beliefs dictating how things ought to be. In essence, they’re rejecting the actual history of marriage and science behind basic human sexuality because, in their deluded minds, the Lord gave us a vision of love and it was all that was given to us. The rest of the articles basically say stop having butt sex and stop quoting medical professionals who insist that there is indeed a difference between gender and whatever biological sex you were assigned at birth. That, and we’re all immoral.

Thankfully, folks with sense have promptly clapped back.

The mayor of Nashville tweeted her disapproval, arguing that the statement “is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.” Other Christian leaders have condemned the statement as well. Rev. James Martin, a noted Catholic priest, author, and adviser to the Vatican on communications, sent a rebuttal to the Washington Post. As a recovering Catholic, I’m fully aware that the Catholic Church continues to still harbor unfortunate stances on LGBTQ issues, but I will say they have the decency to not be like, “Y’all nasty asses going to hell” in 2017, unlike the missionary sex obsessed fucks who wrote this statement.

Moreover, there are plenty of other Christian organizations who have rejected the Nashville statement by unveiling their own like the Denver Statement, which is far more inclusive and thoughtful than the bigotry masquerading as a celebration of Christian doctrine in the other. Many others have released support of the LGBTQ community including more theologians, more Biblical scholars, and anyone who knows the Bible is full of allegory and idioms of that day that need to be uplifted. The reason why the Nashville statement was able to garner so much attention is not only are they highly mobilized, but many continue to allow these right-wing diet Christians to assume moral superiority.

In a press release, John Piper, co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement a “Christian manifesto” on human sexuality. “It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness,” Piper claims. “It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people.”

There have long been others out there arguing otherwise based on Biblical text. I’d personally like to throw a copy of Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships at John Piper’s empty head or invite him to converse with ministers I’ve met that are actual theologians. They are not anti-gay or anti-trans and they do not obsess over a nuclear family that is birthed from the 1950s rather than the word of God. These are the Christian voices that need to be magnified, not the throwbacks.

Naturally, there is no equivalent of the Nashville Statement on racism, sexism, or poverty in America. Fighting to end poverty is more Jesus-like than worrying about me wanting to do what-what in somebody’s butt. They are charlatans much like that sweet potato colored president they fancy so much. You know, the serial cheater, unapologetic sexual abuser, defiant demagogue.

Why are people who voted for Minute Maid Mao allowed the space to continue flexing moral superiority? When is someone going to call them out? Seriously, how can I slide into God’s DMs to ask to hold a lightning bolt for a few minutes?

I’m a heathen now, so my concept of hell is iffy. But, if there is one, I hope every person who participated in The Nashville Statement goes directly there. And I hope the circle of hell they end up in is a bathhouse.

Black People Aren’t Inherently More Homophobic Than Anyone Else

As a Negro writer who also happens to be a practicing homosexual, I feel compelled to use my voice to help hold other Black people accountable for whatever prejudices they harbor towards members of the LGBTQSWV community.

Unfortunately, those urges are often complicated by my need to also combat the media-led trope that Black folks are monstrously more homophobic and transphobic than other groups — specifically white people. The most recent example of this can be found in the New York Times piece “Transgender African-Americans’ Open Wound: ‘We’re Considered a Joke.’

In it, John Eligon made the dubious claim: “With few exceptions, black transgender women and men say that they get more hatred from black people than anyone else, even though they have been on the front lines protesting issues that affect all African-Americans.”

It should be noted that Eligon is Black, but bear in mind he is the same Black man who described Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer, as “no angel” and wrote a flattering piece about Detroit, a film that has been slammed resoundly by Black critics and even got one prominent white film critic to condemn it for its “immoral artistry.” Eligon’s piece mirrored Lee Daniels’ previous rants about Black homophobia upon the launch of Empire. In fact, it sounds identical to every other one that I’ve ever come across.

The recipe is as follows: pretend Black people are magically more bigoted than white people based on the personal stories of a few or whatever has been pulled out of one’s ass. After that, argue the purported supervillain-like prejudices of Blacks on religion and hypermasculinity. Make sure you fail to denote that Black people didn’t come over here on cruise ships clutching their Bibles and/or dicks; no, no, it’s all on us, beloveds.

Once you’re done, sit back and watch the masses spread your pathologized version of Black homophobia and transphobia all across Al Gore’s internet. Why? Well, although there are plenty of white journalists who work to perpetuate this false narrative about Black homophobia and transphobia, nothing quite pushes the folklore forward like a Black co-sign.

I understand how painful it is to be mistreated by those who look like you. I’m all too aware of the sad irony in watching some Black men and women mistreat you the same way racist white people have belittled them. I am just as angry that not all Black people have my back the way I try to have theirs. Nevertheless, while no one can discount our personal experiences and the personal experiences of others, when assessing an entire community, one needs more than just anecdotes and tropes.

Funny enough, a month before that regrettable read as was published, Quartz published “The Americans who sympathize most with the LGBT community aren’t white.” According to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute, nearly three-quarters of Black Americans believe gay and transgender people in the US face a lot of discrimination. This should not be surprising. Who better understands oppression than the most oppressed people in the history of the United States of America?

By comparison, only 54 percent of whites felt that way — which put them at odds with every other ethnic group sans Asians or Pacific Islanders, who polled at 49 percent. Now, the poll did find that white people support same sex marriage more than Blacks, which speaks to the Black community’s religiosity and us collectively being conditioned to believe marriage is a religious matter rather than a legal contract dictated by the state.

Still, Black people self-identify as LGBTQ more than whites do and have so for several years. Likewise, with respect to gay parents, while we are often presented with the image of two upper-middle class white men, in reality, most gay parents live in the south and are poorer Black and Latina women. Of course, none of that was mentioned in the piece. None of these stats ever are. When speaking on intra-community discrimination, context matters.

Do Black LGBTQ people face more discrimination from other Black people than other groups? Probably, but that has much more to do with proximity than anything.

We live in a highly segregated society, and that is very much by design. So many of us live amongst our harshest critics and greatest supporters. How convenient of Eligon to gloss over that it was mostly Black writers of every gender and sexual identity rallying behind Janet Mock, whom Lil’ Duval insulted in that despicable interview, and holding everyonehosts includedresponsible for the transphobia we all heard.

Meanwhile, it’s the racist president white voters primarily supported that has initiated a trans military ban, which piggybacks off of other despicable measures led by anti-trans, anti-gay conservatives across the country in recent years.

In sum, with respect to homophobia and transphobia in the Black community, it’s complicated, but it’s a complication shared by every ethnic group. Sadly, Black folks are never afforded the nuance and complexities we deserve. Instead, we continue to be beset by these clueless, anecdotal observations that are about as useful as a peso at Mar-A-Lago.

I want to make my community more inclusive and tolerant, but I will not stand for false narratives about us. If you help spread this fable about the big, bad Black homophobic and transphobic community, you do not care about the lives of Black LGBTQ people.

You’re a co-conspirator and you have a standing invitation to fuck off.

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“Thots & Thoughts” is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come togetherfrom a bird’s-eye view.

Dear Cis-Women, You Can Be In Gay Bars. But Have Some Decorum

There is a fine line between saying something that sounds right and what is actually correct. That line was crossed, set on fire, and its ashes kicked away in an OUT piece entitled “Dear Gay Men, Stop Telling Women They Can’t Be in Gay Bars.”

In it, writer Rose Dommu complained about the complaints some gay men have leveled towards women who frequent gay bars and behave in ways that make them uncomfortable. In place of nuance and measured consideration for a complicated subject matter, Dommu instead offered a diatribe with the sole intention of “getting the girls together.”

There was the declaration: “Dear gay men, stop telling women they can’t be in gay bars,” then the condescension: “I know this might surprise you, but in 2017, women can go anywhere we want to! And furthermore, we don’t need your approval to do it!” And then some lip service to reasonable criticism:

“I understand that bachelorette parties can be annoying, that they do harass and tokenize gay men, and I would have nothing wrong with someone saying, ‘I don’t think bachelorette parties should come into gay bars and harass and tokenize gay men,’ but saying that no women should be in gay bars is a false equivalency because not all women in gay bars are there to drink through penis straws and request that the DJ play ‘The Thong Song,’ even though the DJ totally should play ‘The Thong Song.’”

For the record, “The Thong Song” should be totally left off the playlist, alongside Prince’s “Kiss,” Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” BBD’s “Poison,” and every other song that’s been played to death, reincarnated, and played to death again. Play their other hits, or even better, their deep album cuts for the sake of much-needed variety.

In any event, then came an exhaustive reach: “And even if you did, requiring some kind of reason for a woman to be in a gay bar, or an excuse or some gay to supervise her, is misogyny. Questioning a woman’s right to be anywhere or do anything is misogyny.”

Something that is designated for a specific group doesn’t necessarily make it discriminatory towards any other. While I, like so many gay men, have brought women to gay clubs and bars, there is something to be said about recognizing that for many gay, bi, and queer men, a gay bar or club is a place of sanctuary. These are places created with the sole intention to provide a social avenue for people in search of community. If an outsider enters that space and disrupts it, do the people who create and populate the space for them have a right to complain?

Perhaps some of that criticism is inartful, but that is not the overwhelming majority. Thus Dommu is guilty of generalizing gay men the same way she claims many critics generalize women. For the record, obnoxious behavior from straight women is not limited to bachelorette parties in a gay club.

I have had women grab my dick, inform me that I am “too cute to be gay,” been greeted or saluted by whatever gay Black colloquialism they discovered by way of Bravo programming, or summoned to dance and fill out whatever fantasy they likely got from some TV show or concert footage found on YouTube.

These women behave in ways that ironically mirror the noisome habits of the obnoxious men in straight clubs they turn to gay nightlife to temporarily escape. Finally, most gay men have no issues with queer women and trans women in gay bars, they share similar struggles and act accordingly. It’s very clear who is being criticized. If the bitching and moaning of a few Facebook friends doesn’t apply to you, say fuck it and scroll by.

Sweeping these genuine gripes under the umbrella of “misogynism” reads as both a reach and irresponsible. Maybe some are guilty of this – no one would deny that misogyny exists within the gay community, just as it does in society as a whole – but the piece read as hollow and continues to wrongly conflate a venue having a theme with a civil rights issue.

To wit, Dommu uses this as an another purported case of misogyny: “Sometimes it’s a guy saying he doesn’t feel comfortable having sex at a sex party if there are women around.”

A gay man being more comfortable having sex with another man in the presence of men alone doesn’t prove a bias against women. I wouldn’t find a straight man saying, “Yeah, bro, I wanna fuck my girl without you around” to be wildly homophobic. Hell, I wouldn’t want a straight man watching me have sex either.

Again, something not for you doesn’t mean it’s discriminating against you.

In the end, if you are a straight woman in a gay male bar or club, you are a guest, therefore, have a bit of decorum. Show us respect by not commandeering our spaces and treating us like props. And if you can’t do this, leave, get out. That isn’t misogynistic; it’s calling on people to have some manners.

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“Thots & Thoughts” is a column in which musings on dating, sex, race, religion, and politics all come togetherfrom a bird’s-eye view.