Black religious advocates are urging church members to rally behind the LGBTQ+ community amidst the new legislation being introduced to restrict their rights, reported NBC News. Historically, the Black church and the LGBT community do not touch and agree. However, advocates see how they can collaborate for the good of both communities.
Religious leaders joined in a panel to voice the need for legislation to protect religious liberty as well as LGBT rights, per NBC. The recent attacks on the LGBT community including the passing of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida have jeopardized the ability for the Equality Act to get signed, allowing LGBT people protection from discrimination.
From NBC News:
“This is something that the church, I think, often is too reticent to do — to speak out in support of legislation that addresses historical discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” said Harmon, who identifies as same-gender-loving and has worked with religious leaders to advance LGBTQ rights. “So this is the perfect moment to lift the voice of Black religious communities and Black religious leaders to say, ‘When we talk about LGBTQ concerns and issues, we’re talking about members of our own community.’”
More than 70 percent of Black LGBTQ adults are religious — either highly religious, 31.7 percent, or moderately religious, 39.3 percent — according to a 2020 report from the Williams Institute, a sexual orientation and gender identity research program at UCLA School of Law.
The Equality Act passed the House in 2021 but needs to bypass a filibuster in the Senate, per NBC. The panel also noted that beyond the divide between the religious and LGBT community, there is an overall concern for the safety of LGBT people. The Human Rights Campaign reported seven trans people were killed this year and most of them were trans people of color.
Kendra R. Johnson, executive director of Equality North Carolina, told NBC the church should utilize its influence to fight for everyone’s civil rights. “It is a community of organizers that has a deep understanding of what it is to be pushed out of the systems that should serve all of us,” she said.