Rev. Irene Monroe

Recent Articles

What Pope Francis has known about gay priests

Pope Francis continues to send seismic shock waves across the globe with his liberal-leaning pronouncements. And they are the most affirmative remarks the world has ever heard on the dicey subjects of abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage. ”We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. Continue Reading →

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Pastor McClurkin’s homophobic past came back to haunt him

Pastor Donnie McClurkin, an uber-star in the stratosphere of Black gospel music, learned his light was extinguished before boarding his plane to perform at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. McClurkin was scheduled to be one of the singers at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during the “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King” event, but D.C.’s mayor, Vincent C. Gray, dispatched the following statement responding to LGBTQ activists’ outcry of McClurkin’s appearance. “The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together. The purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.”

McClurkin, a three-time Grammy winner and revered judge on BET’s “Sunday Best,” a reality-TV gospel-singing competition show, doesn’t get it that he’s a polarizing figure. Continue Reading →

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Rattled with PTSD: Post-Traumatic Snake Disorder

 

 

 

This summer there will be no grilling on my back porch. And here’s why. This past Sunday morning I found myself in a chapter of a Stephen King novel. It began as a hot, lazy, humid, and deliciously quiet morning. I got up to fix a cup of my favorite morning Joe, send off a few emails, and read the Sunday papers on the back porch of the house. Continue Reading →

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Matthew Shepard and Trayvon Martin: bigotry knows no boundaries

 

 

The nation is once again divided along the fault line of race. In a perceived 2013 post-racial society, William Faulkner’s prophetic quote of the last century — ”The past is never dead. It’s not even past” — has come back to haunt us in this century. Faulkner’s quote haunts us because of the recent verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. The story, as you well know by now, of how George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman of a Florida community, was acquitted of all charges — murder and manslaughter — related to Trayvon Martin. Continue Reading →

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Pride events unite us in a common struggle for equality

 

 

Black Pride reaffirms our identity. And it dances to a different beat. What started out in Washington, D.C. in 1990 as the only Black Gay Pride event in the country has grown to over 35 gatherings nationwide. Each year, celebrations start in April and continue to October. Over 300,000 LGBTQ people of African descent rev up for a weekend of social and cultural events celebrating their queer uniqueness. Continue Reading →

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Tom Joyner’s homophobic message to Black community is sad but no surprise

 

 

On May 1, Jason Collins, the 7’-0” center for the Washington Wizards and a former Boston Celtic, came out. His statement — “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m Black. And I’m gay” — made the cover story for the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated. On May 2, three Morehouse College basketball athletes were accused of raping an 18-year-old Spelman College student. Continue Reading →

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Another tackle in the world of homophobic sports

 

 

Another former professional athlete came out last month — 6’-7” Jamaican-born NFL offensive tackle Kwame Harris. With news of LGBT equality in the news daily, one may wonder why this is news at all. But it is. The world of sports is quickly becoming the last closet, where gays and lesbians hide their sexual orientation. In a homophobic testosterone-driven sport like American football, Harris concealment is understandable. Continue Reading →

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The Boy Scouts of America: another closed door for Black GBTQ youth

 

 

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Black Church are rightly lauded for molding young Black men into adult leaders. BSA troops have produced distinguished African American scouts like retired four-star general Colin Powell, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan, and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. African American participation in the Boy Scout movement dates back to 1911, and its impact has not only forced the integration of young Black males into the organization, but also continues to address many of the challenges these young males confront today. With young African American males — particularly those in urban enclaves — at much higher risks for incarceration, gang violence, unemployment, fatherlessness, and substance abuse, the BSA has been a source of constant and consistent strong positive male figures for these young Black boys. Like many BSA troops, African American troops are often strongly affiliated with community Black churches. Continue Reading →

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Haiti’s LGBTQ-accepting Vodou societies

 

As I celebrate Black History Month, I’d like to recognize one of my indigenous West African ancestral religions that’s not homophobic — even if some of the practitioners are. To the disbelief of many — it’s Vodun. Haitian Vodou is an ancestral folk religion whose tenets have always been queer-friendly, accepting people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions. It’s just one of the religions brought to the New World by the African Diaspora, but there is no religion that frightens and fascinates the world over as much as Vodou. Misconstrued by racist images of zombies rising from graves, jungle drums, cannibalism, orgiastic ceremonies ritualizing malevolent powers of black magic, and by today’s popular culture images courtesy of Hollywood’s and New Orleans’ tourism industry, Vodou is a persecuted and misunderstood religion. Continue Reading →

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Obama linking Selma to Stonewall divides Black community

 

President Barack Obama’s inaugural address was the most inclusive speech a president has ever given. It was delivered on the 27th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the president honored King’s legacy when he eloquently spoke of how the many U.S. liberation movements, both current and historic, are interconnected. “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”

As an African American lesbian, whose identity is linked to all three movements, I felt affirmed. I applaud the president’s courageous pronouncement. Some African Americans, however, felt “dissed” by the president’s speech. Continue Reading →

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