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
“Ye Double-Minded”: Black Parishioners’ Attitudes toward Nonaffirming Church Climates
Abstract: Homophobia in the black community has been largely attributed to the Black Church’s conservative views concerning sexual orientation. Prior research demonstrates that black congregations are generally nonaffirming of nonheterosexuality; however, few studies have investigated black congregants’ responses to their churches’ climates regarding sexuality. Using in-depth interviews, this paper examines the extent to which black Christians are content with their congregations’ nonaffirming climates. Findings indicate that although some black parishioners are content with or indifferent to their churches’ climates, most respondents advocate for a change in how their congregations address sexual orientation, specifically calling for open conversations about sexuality. Furthermore, an examination of the language respondents used to evaluate congregational climates suggests discussions of sexuality in churches that humanize and encourage empathy for nonheterosexual identities may help facilitate such conversations. These results challenge assumptions of ideological homogeneity within religious organizations and could inform strategies to promote nonheterosexual inclusion in congregations.