Kelly Brown Douglas’s “Homophobia and Heterosexism in the Black Church and Community” analyzes some of the causes of Black homophobia and argues that the Black community needs to confront its homophobia as it threatens the community’s well-being and freedom. For this reason, Douglas advocates for a “sexual discourse of resistance,” writing that “by exposing the relationship between race, sex, and power, a discourse of resistance will show that homophobia plays into the hands of white culture and racism. Homophobia does this by creating discord among Black people” (1014). Douglass also argues that change cannot happen until such a discourse exists. One of the pieces of evidence I found most compelling in regards to how homophobia harms the Black community is how homophobia has impacted the response to HIV/AIDS. Douglas notes that despite having an incredibly disproportionate number of cases, (Black people make up 57% of the total U.S. cases while only being 13% of the population) the Black community was slow to respond to the crisis (1014). I think this disparity really highlights Douglas’s argument that homosexuality doesn’t save black lives, but rather destroys them like white culture does. This disparity also still exists today, and I found this article with some more recent data about HIV/AIDS rates for the Black community.
I found the documentary to be very informative and deeply personal at the same time. The mix of political leaders, faith leaders, and LGBTQ+ people and their families who were interviewed allowed the documentary to touch on a variety of different things and provide a more complete picture. Content wise, I really appreciated that while the documentary focuses on homophobia within the Black community and churches and everything that needs to be fixed, it also provides some nuance by highlighting specific groups and people who are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. The interviews with supportive family members and pastors call out deep inequalities and homophobia while also providing somewhat of a guide to how people can be more accepting and why they should be accepting. The generally positive tone of all the interviews makes it seem that there is a path forward to making progress. One of the other things that really stuck out to me was what has and hasn’t changed since 1996 when this documentary was released. I think if the documentary was released today the content would be different in terms of also covering things like the Black Trans Lives Matter movement in addition to gay and lesbian people. At the same time, however, some of the homophobic rhetoric and interviews in the documentary wouldn’t be much different from today.