David Johns, the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, thinks that Black LGBTQIA people should trade “coming out” for “inviting in.” Johns talks about how Black queer people seldom have the option of coming out, or—if we are unable to remain closeted— the consequences can be dire. There is no immediate move to a gayborhood, and there is no escape from discrimination. We often do not have the luxuries that our white counterparts do. For those of us who were raised in the socially conservative Black church, scripture tells us there is only condemnation, isolation, and abuse, and the risk of losing one’s church, family, and community to boot. Further, there is also the fact that we still have racism to deal with, which is something white queer people cannot fathom.
To that end, instead of coming out, according to Johns, we should invite people in. Meaning we should make space in our lives for those who will accept us – ALL of us, and to protect ourselves from the hardships our white counterparts can never know.
I like the idea, though my coming out is a deeply important part of my life, my existence, and my story, so I will never let that go. However, it is never too late to think about what David Johns is saying here, and to invite people in who will love and accept me just as I am.
Learn more about David Johns’ message here.