Luther Young, Jr. (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at The Ohio State University who studies the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and religion. In particular, his current research investigates the causes and effects of homophobia in predominantly black churches. In addition to his research, Luther is an ordained minister, youth advocate, and author of children’s religious materials. He sits on the board of directors for two international faith-based LGBTQ+ organizations and is involved with various councils, committees, and community organizations dedicated to anti-racism, justice, and equity.
Race, Class and Gender
HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health
M.A. in Sociology, The Ohio State University
M.Div., Vanderbilt University
B.S. in Audio Engineering Technology, Belmont University
“To Condemn or Not to Condemn: Perceived Climates Concerning Sexual Orientation in Black Churches”
Abstract: Although the United States is becoming more accepting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) identities, black people are still more likely than the general population to disapprove of non-heterosexuality. Previous research points to the conservative views of the Black Church as a potential explanation for this disparity, but few studies have considered the diversity of perspectives within the Black Church. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with black Christians, this article examines how black congregants experience their churches’ climates concerning sexual orientation. Findings suggest that black congregations tend to foster climates that are not affirming of non-heterosexuality; however, they vary in how they demonstrate non-affirmation. Furthermore, the study finds considerable differences in how congregants perceive and make sense of their perceived church climates concerning non-heterosexuality. These results suggest that the Black Church is not monolithic in its stance concerning sexuality and have implications for efforts to promote LGBQ inclusion within congregations.