Filmmaker Katina Parker has created a series of six videos for the Many Voices organization, featuring the personal stories of African American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people who came of age in Black churches. The web campaign features not only lay people, but high-profile clergy as well.
Many Voices is a non-profit whose mission is to foster a Black Church movement for gay and transgender justice, and its new media campaign was created to engage church leaders and LGBTQ people about fostering a movement for gay and transgender justice in Black churches. It also as well offers training, resources, and relationship-building opportunities for interested church leaders and Black LGBTQ people.
As United Methodist Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, who is involved with Many Voices says: "The time is now for the Black Church to fully embrace our tradition of calling for freedom, liberation and justice for all of God's children -- especially for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family and friends.”
And Rev. Cedric Harmon, who is co-director of Many Voices, added that “The truths of the personal testimonies represented in the Many Voices Video Campaign are hard to deny. I pray we hear the message and eagerly engage in efforts to eliminate the inequalities and injustices affecting the lives and aspirations of so many."
A new video will be released once a week until Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, with the first video featuring Bishop Tonyia Rawls, who is the Founding Pastor, Unity Fellowship Church in Charlotte NC.
The other interviewees in the video series, all who whom are based in North Carolina, are Jermaine Lee, Program Manager of Behavioral Intervention, PowerHouse Project (Charlotte), Ai Elo , writer and youth advocate (Charlotte), Julia Wallace, the Co-Founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project (Durham), A’Omaré Kyyam, activist and poet (Chapel Hill), and Reverend Brendan Boone who is the transgender Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church (Raleigh).
Here’s the first video with Bishop Rawls: