An open conversation utilizing a panel of well-versed black LGBTQ individuals discussed the difficulties they faced coming out in the black community whether it was through their family, workplace or peers.
The office of Multicultural Affairs, hosted “Same Love? Same Meaning” on Monday in the Beach Auditorium. The panel included Jasmyne Culpepper, CSULB alumna and a past president of Black Student Union, Troy X Leonard, school psychologist with 25 years of experience and Paris Tate, current CSULB psychology major and communication minor who also serves on the board of BSU.
The presentation started with a PowerPoint that focused on historical black figures who are considered LGBTQ and their life accomplishments.
Each member of the panel elaborated on how they came out to their families and their communities, stating the differences between distinctive generations of people.
“Every generation of black folk that I’ve talked to are different, so regardless of if I’m saying the exact same sentence about coming out or relationships or being part of the LGBTQ community, each one of those individuals are going to take it differently,” Culpepper said.
The panelists gave advice to audience members on how to navigate the world at large, diverse in race and in sexuality.
Culpepper honed in specifically on being aware of the environment a LGBTQ individual may encounter.
“I learned that different people have different perspectives and I said ‘OK, I am going to take everyone’s view at face value for what it is,’ and that ultimately allowed me to be able to dissect and navigate who I am going to talk to and who I am not,” Culpepper said.
All three panelists had experience dealing with the Christian faith and different approaches to the church.
“Some people come in with welcoming arms, some people come with welcoming stones, you just have to take it as you get it,” Tate said.
Tate felt that a person’s sexual orientation is none of the church’s business, whereas Leonard expressed his understanding of Jesus’s message of love.
“If you look at the Bible and you look at the words Jesus actually said … he never mentioned gays or homosexuality so if it was such a horrible thing why didn’t he say anything about it?” Leonard said.
The discussion ended with questions from the audience, giving the panelists an opportunity to wrap up their closing statements. Despite having contrasting opinions on approaches to social obstacles, the panel aimed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the complexities of living as a black member of the LGBTQ community.