Black and Gay in the U.S.: Interview with Angel Mason

15 Jul

Many of you may already know Angel because you read his his first book, Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent, which has been well received worldwide.   I was able to talk with Angel about his new book, They Say That I am Broken, as well as issues around  social justice and the interconnectedness of the oppression of marginalized populations.  Speaking with Angel was like talking with an old friend. He is full of compassion and love and is a true advocate for the LGBT community.

Angel is an ordained minister, in fact he is a Bishop.  He also happens to be gay, black, and HIV+.  Angel is a 54-year-old man living in both Los Angeles and San Diego who has just recently been reunited with his son.  Click here to see their story.  He grew up Baptist, but at age 17 turned to a non-denominational church.  Angel was kind enough to talk with me about his life and work as a writer.  Here is a look into Angel’s life.

Coming Out Process:

I came out to my parents when I was 17.  Part of what made me come out to them was the church I was going to at the time. The church I was going to had a ministry that was struggling with working gay people. They believed, like a lot of black churches, that being gay was a sin but at the same time this church was were very loving and very caring.  Later when I moved to San Diego where I founded two churches.  I had to turn over the church to other people when I was diagnosed with AIDS. I’m doing wonderfully now and I am undetectable as far as my viral load.

Define Social Justice

I think the Bible and the Constitution define it as equality for all and that equality means equal rights for all people—this means we respect the right whomever people to chose to love whether we agree with it or not.  Believe it or not, the Bible backs this up. God gave us the right to choose and he will not violate our right to choose.   The Bible says God is love and God is the creator. He will never override your ability to choose. People in the church believe they have the right to do something even God won’t do.

God does not see gay people as broken people.  We are not messed up any more than other people, and I want them to see the horrific things they are doing to our young people .  When pastors abuse their power, they are sending the message that it is okay to go on witch hunts after gay people.  Is it any wonder gays are killing themselves?  We have to stop these messages of hate.

Why do you bring religion into your writing?

We are in a war in the black community, so having a ministry background allows me to go toe-to-toe with other religious leaders.  Even though so much is happening on the political scene for same-gender-loving people, such as DOMA etc., but the black community is so far behind because we have a don’t ask don’t tell policy in the black church.  As long as you don’t say “I am a gay man,” you can be accepted. But there is a rebellion happening and African-American gay men and women are challenging the leadership in the black church.

People drowned out the voice of Coretta Scott King because people perceived her husband as a typical Baptist minister, so of course he could not be supportive of gays. They presume to know more about her husband than she did, just as ministers presume to know more than God knows.

What does the LGBT community need to do to be more supportive of our LGBT African-American brothers and sisters? 

Listen to us and begin to bring us into meetings and let us advise. A lot of money goes to the white gay community, and we really need to make sure we share funding and increase the visibility of LGBT blacks and Latinos.

I want to thank Angel for talking with me and for working so hard to make the world a better place for all.  His first novel will be released June 2012.

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