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Through My Eyes: The Rev. Kevin E. Taylor

June 14, 2010

Through My Eyes: The Rev. Kevin E. Taylor

Some experts believe that sociocultural factors, including a "wounded spirit," leave many Black gay men vulnerable to HIV. Here, a Black gay minister offers advice to other Black gay men on loving themselves, expressing their gifts and finding comfort in God.

I am a proud Black gay man who was born in the projects of Washington, D.C. Like many gay men, I struggled with religion and my orientation. So many Black gay men have been beaten down by homophobia, discrimination, the church or HIV that they feel as if they are "broken" and disconnected from their church or spirituality. Many have been rejected from their homes or churches. And that's too bad, because Black gay men have so many creative gifts to offer. We've been the backbone of many churches for decades.

If you are a Black gay, or same-gender-loving, man looking to build a closer relationship with God, my advice is simple: Study the Bible and not what people say about the Bible. Many people in the church today are more like the Pharisees and leaders Jesus came to rebuke than the Christ they say they love. If you're looking for a new church home, find one that will love the "whole" you, that will accept and honor your life and loves as a Black gay man. Sometimes there is pressure to attend a certain church or denomination, and to stay around what is familiar. Don't give in; just do "you," not what people say "you" should do.

If you're looking for something nontraditional, that's fine, too, as long as it works for you. Find your Higher Power.

But if you're looking in the Bible, there are Scriptures that tell people that God has always "known" us. My favorite is from the book of Jeremiah: "Before you were formed in your mother's womb, I knew you." These are very comforting to read, especially when people are struggling with their sexuality or trying to come out. Black gay men especially need to be reminded that we are wonderfully made and that God searches the heart -- not the orientation or the skin color.

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One of the greatest tricks of oppression is to get the oppressed to believe that they are damaged goods. Many of us crave acceptance, but there is a very big difference between acceptance and love. Black people have been in America for centuries, and some people will never accept us as equals. The same holds true for gay men, especially those of color. We are already feeling "less than" because we think we don't see enough positive images of ourselves. But Black gay men are making incredible contributions -- Lee Daniels received an Academy Award nomination for Precious.

I was ordained as a minister in 2000 with the Unity Fellowship Church Movement. It's a primarily Black LGBT denomination, so you get that intense traditional Black-church worship service but with an inclusive message. Over the years I've counseled many couples and many brothas. Many have come to me when their status changed or when they learned that a partner was HIV-positive. Every day is a wake-up call to life. Sometimes this diagnosis can shake us into the present to help us become more conscious about the business of living. One of my good brotha friends has been positive for 26 years, so it can be a "live" notice and a clarion call to live your truth and do what brings you joy and happiness. It's time for some action. Don't put your dreams off until tomorrow. Today is all any of us knows.

My life as a Black gay man has been amazing. I've had a great career working in the entertainment industry and a wonderful spiritual calling. Five years ago I adopted a now 20-year-old son, and it was incredible watching him grow into a young man. Many brothas sometimes wonder how they can give back to the community. Have you considered mentoring youth? Or volunteering in your neighborhood? Black gay men have so many skills and talents that our community should tap into. And there is no greater satisfaction than seeing someone smile and hearing them thank you for helping them become a better person. When you live in your truth and stop trying to seek the approval of others, you stand taller. The truth will do that to you.

As told to Rod McCullom, a writer and television-news producer who blogs on Black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news and pop culture at rod20.com.



This article was provided by Black AIDS Institute. It is a part of the publication Black AIDS Weekly. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.

See Also
TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
HIV and Me: An African American's Guide to Living With HIV
More Personal Accounts on African Americans and HIV


Reader Comments:

Comment by: Julius Lubisia (Alupe, Busia - Kenya) Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 at 5:36 am EDT
Brother Kevin, please read the Bible well and ask God for His grace to give you correct interpretation of the Bible - GAYSIM is SIN. The is no other meaning. If not, why did God have to create a woman? I read your story in tears; tears that a man who calls himself a minister and in sin wants to absolve himself of sin falsely! Black Americans, we in Africa love you and see you as ourselves..it is unafrican to sleep with a fellow man.Please stop it.
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Comment by: Shawn (washington DC) Tue., Oct. 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm EDT
I want to thank you for telling the truth, because most people dont want to understand and its sad. I might not be a black gay male , but I am a black heterosexual hiv postive female and I know what sigma looks and feels like. I pray that your message reaches many souls.

Thank you and may your blessings continue to flow
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Comment by: Bryan H. (Milwaukee, WI) Mon., Oct. 11, 2010 at 11:51 am EDT
Thanks for black gay preachers!!! u hit the nail right on the head & helped to reinforce my relationship w/ God...even though i'm white...smile

Read the Bible for yourself...God WILL talk to you on His terms.
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Comment by: Kirk (Dallas, TX) Sat., Oct. 9, 2010 at 1:55 am EDT
Rev. Taylor, I commend you for writing such an article that challenges our community. The self-hatred is great and thus the HIV rates are no good. I think when one lives into his truth, you are correct, power comes. I hope this messages reaches more black same-gender loving men. We all benefit when one is enlightened. By the way, fear has so many deep religious people. Keep your head-up and encourage.
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Comment by: Robert (Philadelphia area) Fri., Oct. 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm EDT
Well said brother/Rev. Taylor!
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Comment by: malagu david uyabemem (lagos, nigeria ) Fri., Oct. 8, 2010 at 4:55 am EDT
It is good to express our devine freedom but we must draw a line between lust and freedom.The greatest sin against ourselves and GOD is that committed to our body.Reprobate mind the bible called them.gayship should not be practiced by any one talkless of a man who preaches the gosel.
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Comment by: Samson Anwasia (London) Thu., Oct. 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm EDT
Kevin, pls stop deceiving yourself. Go and repent and seek to serve God in the beauty of His holiness. Don't make us think that AIDS and your abnormal gay lifestyle are the same. Ask God for grace to know Him and what He requires from you.
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