Diversity & Inclusion Includes Gays & Lesbians: Is Black Church Getting the Message


Diversity and inclusion cannot exclude anyone, an issue that has created great conflict in the Black church as the momentum for LGBT rights has increased.

Last week, after the announcement of President Obama’s historic endorsement of same-sex marriage, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led the public pronouncements for equality, calling this “a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens” and saying he wished the president had also pushed for federal equality rights for LGBT people instead of leaving it up to the states.

Many other Black religious leaders are publicly agreeing, calling LGBT rights the current civil-rights battle. Two of these leaders are Rev. Delman Coates of Prince George’s County, Md., and Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Nashville, Tenn.

However, there remains a strong contingent of people in Black America who believe that same-sex marriage goes against their religious beliefs, including Pastor Jamal Bryant and Bishop Harry Jackson.

And there are others who are angered by the use of the term “civil rights.” Misperceptions abound; as one Black manager recently told us, “It’s not a civil-rights issue for them because they have a choice. I can’t change that I’m Black, but they don’t have to be gay.”

Black community support for same-sex marriages has increased, but not as rapidly as in the general population. Pew Center research shows that in 2001, 34 percent of whites and 32 percent of Blacks supported same-sex marriage. Today, 47 percent of whites and 39 percent of Blacks support it. And Black voters were instrumental in last week’s approval in North Carolina of a ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage and restricting domestic-partner benefits.

How to Build Support for Diversity & Inclusion

If your organizationor your churchisn’t supportive of equality for everyone, here are some tips garnered from the DiversityInc Top 50 on how to build an inclusive workplace.

  • Require cultural-competence diversity training. Mandatory training that includes factual, educational information on LGBT groups is a must. People who are educated are less likely to make statements like the one above. Eighty-six percent of The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity now require diversity training for their managers, compared with 78 percent five years ago. Sixty-eight percent require diversity training for their entire workforces, compared with 58 percent five years ago. Read DiversityInc’s LGBT Pride Facts & Figures, which you can use for educational purposes. For information on our diversity-training courses, click here.
  • Use your resource groups to create more inclusive workplaces. Your LGBT resource group is a great start. Make sure its name includes the word “friends,” “allies” or “straight” so people who are not LGBT or are not out are comfortable joining. Ensure that members of this resource group are included in prominent roles in company events and publications, that they meet frequently with senior leaders, and that they set up company-wide educational programs. Read Our Analysis of the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.
  • Maintain a “no-tolerance for bigotry” policy for everyone. Core diversity-management values are essential to an organization, emanating from the very top. Those values must include an absolute adherence to diversity and inclusion for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious background, disability and, especially, orientation. Read Diversity Management 101 and The Four Stages of Diversity Management.

–Barbara Frankel

Latest News

closeup of hand with remote

Anti-LGBTQ Group ‘One Million Moms’ Protests Mattress Company’s Inclusive Commercial Featuring Lesbian Couple

The conservative anti-LGBTQ hate organization known as One Million Moms is at it again, this time protesting a TV commercial from the bedding company Avocado Green Mattress, which features a number of couples relaxing on their mattresses, including what the group considers an “offensive” lesbian couple. The Advocate’s Trudy Ring…

girls high school sports

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Officially Bans Transgender Students From School Sports

Holding true to threats he has made in the past, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has officially signed into Texas state law a rule that would restrict transgender students from participating in high school sports consistent with their gender identity. ESPN’s Katie Barnes reported that following Abbott’s action, Texas has become…

Prince

Music Icon Prince Could Soon Be Honored With Posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

He changed music history and was the soundtrack for countless people’s lives, and now music legend Prince could soon be awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. government. Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press has reported that “Minnesota’s Congressional delegation on Monday, Oct. 25, introduced a resolution to…

AAPI Hate

New FBI Report Estimates Anti-Asian Hate in the United States Increased by 73% in 2020

We’ve known anti-Asian sentiment increased dramatically in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but new government data quantifies just how shockingly severe that jump has been. Based on recently released FBI data, Sakshi Venkatraman of NBC News reported that “anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 73% in…

Boeing building

Boeing Global Services CEO Ted Colbert Named Black Engineer of the Year by ‘US Black Engineer & Information Technology’ Magazine

Originally published at boeing.mediaroom.com. Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Ted Colbert, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, has been named Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) for 2022 by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The…

map of Iowa

Black Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn Threatened With Lynching After Penning Anti-Trump Op-Ed

An Iowa Democrat has been threatened with violence simply for writing an opinion piece critical of the former president. Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register has reported that “Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn received multiple threats, including one of lynching, after he penned an opinion piece critical of…