BY David Michael Conner
March 24 2010 6:20 PM ET
It sounds like these relationships are an ongoing evolution in your life ...
Yeah, they definitely are.
You’ve been involved in something called the Gay by God campaign. What is that?
I’m really good friends with a same-gender-loving minister. His name is Pastor Joseph Tolton. He’s the minister, church pastor, of a church in Harlem that accepts everyone. There’s [another] pastor, Donnie McClurkin, who’s a really big gospel singer, and he has a church as well. And every once in a while, he kind of ... well, he says really hateful things. Really hateful, homophobic things. And after his last outburst, which was late [in 2009], Pastor Tolton decided that since there isn’t usually a public response — you know, we all get together and we go, oh, how terrible it is what [McClurkin] says, but no one ever takes a public stance and responds to it. So he got together a group of gay, same-gender-loving people, and we took a picture together and he wrote a public letter. And he put it in the newspaper Metro New York. And essentially what it says is, we are human beings, we do believe in God, and the difference is that we believe God is love and this is how we are made. God doesn’t make mistakes. We are made just as beautifully and in perfection just as heterosexuals are made. And we wanted to extend a hand to Donnie McClurkin, who has expressed that he was molested growing up, and, you know, he admits that there are issues there, but I don’t think he has the tools to work through it. So we just wanted to extend a hand and state what we believe and how we respond to hateful messages. We’re responding with love. I was really happy to be a part of it.
BET’s Soul Sessions recently highlighted you as a “black history and gay history first.” What does that mean to you?
That happened just before the MTV thing, actually, and that was ... it was completely shocking. Because, for me, you know, BET kind of represents popular black culture. And in my head, popular black culture is ... they don’t quite accept homosexuality. That’s what I always kind of carried in my head and believed, but to get that message of congratulations from that organization was really ... it really made me reconsider what was in my head and how I look at my black community. It was really good, really affirming, really encouraging to get that message. I’m sure I’m not even expressing it as it really [feels], but that’s how much I can articulate it. It is a really encouraging feeling.
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