All of the doors are closed : a hermeneutic phenomenological study exploring Black gay male experiences of stigma in Black church organizing
The African American community has become a key site of resistance to accepting same-sex relations in the United States. Scholars have suggested that this resistance is most accurately explained by Black religious affiliations and pastoral leaders at Black churches who continue to preach homonegative sermons. Within Black churches, homosexuality is perceived to be a sin. Therefore, participating in same-sex intimate relations can be incredibly challenging for Black gay men who have been the driving force for many Black Churches in expanding congregations and even raising pastoral leaders' profiles. This hermeneutic phenomenological research study took a critical approach to investigate experiences of stigma among Black gay men in Black Church organizing. I interviewed 20 Black gay men between the ages of 19 to 69, both current and former Black Church members, to understand their different perspectives. Then, I compiled and analyzed the qualitative data to form seven major themes that provided a nuanced understanding of Black gay male experiences of stigma in Black churches. These findings revealed that Black gay men in Black churches are confronted with multiple sources of stigma in a single experience. This dissertation project contributes to the field of organizational communication because the concept of stigma is theoretical and a highly communicative process. This work also centers the voices of Black gay men who have historically been silenced and oppressed due, greatly, to their racial and sexual identities.
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