We Hear You: Black and Gay in the Church

By Eva Andrews
Picture provided by Cynthia Suryawan

Contradicting? Controversial? Taboo? Whatever the view on black LGBT in church, they are here to stay. “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church” is a documentary that addresses the predicament between black church-goers and the black LGBT community. The documentary is heartbreaking and it exposes some of the tensions in the church. A lot of the black LGBT church members have inner turmoil and hatred imposed upon them. The documentary follows the lives of some of these church members and asks the question “How can someone value their life if they are told their existence is a sin?”

The creator, Clay Cane, is a writer, director and radio talk show host. He is the new host of  New York radio’s WWRL 1600AM show, “Clay Cane Live.” Another plan is in action for the Equality Pride Radio a progressive talk station geared toward the black LGBT community in the NYC area, for which Cane would also be the host. Cane has a unique position of intersectionality and he can work from and speak on behalf of others like him.

Cane expresses the relationship between LGBT and African-American Community. “I believe for the LGBT and African-American communities the most important issue is equality, whether it is economically, health care or civil rights. Sometimes there is a disconnect between the gay community and blacks.” There is a lack of voices in society that no one is willing to address. The black LGBT voices are some of them.

Cane followed the shame, pain and neglect that this demographic experiences on a daily basis. Most LGBT are without family support or a home or a job. They were ostracized from their local community and forced to live in groups homes or on the street. This trend is prevalent among youth. Most LGBT leave home in their teens and never look back.

Not only do they lose family, community and local resources, but they lose the chance to worship. They feel unwelcome within the church family so much so that there is a LGBT church in Atlanta, Georgia. Some LGBT in the area find it to be salvation while other LGBT see it as blasphemous. It seems like an oxymoron to be LGBT but still want a conservative lifestyle. Some church-goers, LGBT or not, believe that homosexual activity is an attack on the spirit and that it is about spiritual warfare. They believe that prayer and other methods can relieve LGBT of their problem.

“Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church” tackles both perspectives head on in order to find a common ground or at least begin a discussion about the disparities in the church environment and black LGBT youth. Cane asks hard questions and opens the forum on touchy topics similar to this one. Caneaspire[s] to be a James Baldwin with a pop culture twist.” He has a unique vantage point that brings both communities together.

Whether you agree with one or the other perspective both are here to stay and the first step is open communication without threat imposed on either side. To learn more, visit the BET.com website to view the documentary and get a look behind-the-scenes.

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