I play tennis.
One of the first things you learn in the game of tennis is to stay away from the area of the court known as “no man’s land.” It’s an area about halfway between the baseline and the service line where most of the shots from your opponent will land. If you stand in this treacherous spot, the balls will land at your feet, making it impossible to hit quality shots in response. The best place to be, if you actually want to hit the ball well, is just behind the baseline or closer up to the net.
Being black, gay, and Christian is also a bit of a no man’s land. It’s a place where many wouldn’t advise you to stand. People often throw verbal and even physical shots that land at your feet, and sometimes the shots take you out at the knees. As much as any gay man wouldn’t want to be in a caught dead in a place called no man’s land, I often find myself often caught in between two positions.
As much work as I’ve done to create harmony between the various points of my existence, there are some days when the completion of that work appears as close as the next star. Some days I am filled with strength, brimming with self-love and courage. But then there are times when I hear a preacher, someone who shares my vocation, proclaim that people like me are heretics. That is to be expected. What isn’t always expected is how the gay community sometimes responds. To many of them, I’m also a fake.
On the one hand, people would prefer that I was just gay. They claim that I would make it easier for them myself I just forget any idea of faith, God or prayer, because these are the tools that homophobes use to demean us. Didn’t Audre Lorde say that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house? And here I am, using the oppressor’s toolbox to build a new, awkward dwelling. Clearly gay is an all-encompassing label, and anything that even has the appearance of being anti-gay must be stamped out. It’s a waste of time. Just be gay. Curse God and live.
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