Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Many Voices, an LGBT movement in the Black Church

Hey there,

As some of you might know, I'm a member of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington (GMCW). We rehearse every Sunday from about 6:15-9:15pm (except as we get closer to showtime, then we'll have double rehearsals starting in the afternoon). During this rehearsal, we get a break halfway through which is kicked of by announcements. And occasionally we'll have a guest come to speak to us from an organization in the community.

Recently, we had members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit speak to us, and this past Sunday, we had Reverend Cedric A. Harmon, Co-Director of Many Voices, come visit to share more about the work of Many Voices as well an outreach opportunity through partnership with GMCW.

If you're not familiar with Many Voices, from their About page:
Many Voices is committed to creating a national movement for gay and transgender justice from within the Black church. Working in partnership with nationally-recognized pastors, theologians, and Christian educators, Many Voices is laying a foundation for respectful and loving dialogue. Through trainings, mentoring, and online resources that provide a safe place to ask questions, learn, and take new steps, we equip African American pastors and church members to publicly share the faith journeys that have led them to affirm love and justice for gay and transgender (LGBT) families.
As some of you might have noticed with my blog, I'm a firm believer in letting organizations describe themselves, if they've made the effort to do so, as I wouldn't want to exclude or diminish anything by trying to paraphrase it. But I digress.

It was really neat having him come to speak to us. It was particularly interesting to me, having recently joined GMCW's Marketing & Outreach Committee. I had read of and studied such things in grad school for Arts Management at American University, but obviously theory and discussion are much different than practice in reality. But I bring it up because it's great to be a part of an organization I've been a member of, in a way beyond performance, and to see all the other work manifest itself and come to fruition step by step, like this community outreach partnership with Many Voices.
There's actually a picture of his visist at the original tweet. Unfortunately, it didn't show up when I embedded it here.

Anyway, his visit and the organization with its work was very timely, in terms of the larger fight for civic rights and equality. Many Voices is just one actualization of a windfall, in terms of a major paradigm shift in terms of how the African-American community discusses and accepts it's LGBT members. Two major events to help this sea change were mentioned inn Ebony, in an article written right after this past election:
Black voters tend to be more religious and have historically have been slow to accept gay marriage. But national and regional polling has suggested that Black support for equal marriage has dramatically increased after President Obama and the NAACP's historic announcements supporting the position.
The article brought this up in the context of marriage equality passing in the state of Maryland, and how crucial black voters were to its success. So in all of this, Rev. Cedric coming to speak to us about the work of Many Voices...well, it's just wonderful to see progress in action, and to meet and work with some of the individuals and organizations who are helping to lead the charge towards equality.

As always, I left rehearsal that night feeling very humbled and grateful. And very excited to keep you updated about it all. And for those who made it, as you  might know, this is part of my LGBT Tuesday series. If there's an organization that serves the LGBT community you have worked with or are involved with that you'd recommend I highlight, please let me know, as well as your connection to it.

And definitely let me know what you think of Many Voices. If you've heard of it before and are engaged with them, or if you haven't and what your initial thoughts are? Whatever's on your mind, to keep this conversation going.

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