Why Are So Many Straight Teenage Boys Turning Gay After Joining The Choir?
Growing up in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans way back in the late 70’s – early 80’s looked just like any other inner city neighborhood. Like many of you, my neighborhood also had a church on just about every other block, but there was something going on within my local church that impacted a few young men in a very damaging way.
Our local church was known for having some of the best preaching in the city, and the choir could go toe to toe with some of the more famous mass choirs of its day, but one of the ills of a mass choir is they attract masses of gay men.
Directly next door to me lived a very close and dear friend that I will refer to as Kerry. The interesting fact about Kerry was he was just a normal teenage boy, up until the time he joined 1st Thessalonians Baptist Church on Caffin Ave (in the Lower 9th Ward).
First Thessalonians Baptist Church featured the fiery preaching of Rev. Edmond G. Prevost, Sr, a very active, approachable, and humble servant of our Lord. His passion to grow this neighborhood church into a vital resource for my Lower 9th Ward community came with a very unfortunate compromise; the choir director was a flamboyantly effeminate man.
My childhood friend joined 1st Thessalonians Baptist Church and became a very active member of the choir. After a while, he stopped playing touch football with the crew in the middle of the street and opted to only attend non-stop choir rehearsals. This strict regimen of rehearsals was a mandate of choir director Mr. Reuben, and my buddy simply fell in line.
We began to notice a gradual change in Kerry’s behavior and mannerism, from that of typically masculine, to the appearance of soft and reserved. His style of clothes changed, his friends changed, and the way he sported his hair dramatically changed.
On my block we had a term called getting “turned out” which translated to say that someone had molested you, and now you’re gay. Someone in the choir had “turned out” my friend, but who was responsible?
Fast forward the clock from 1985 to 2011 and I now report that my friend Kerry is a very openly gay African American Man.
The reason why I wanted to share this story is because Kerry started out the same as all the other young men in my neighborhood, but I can place my finger on the exact moment he detoured down the path to a gay lifestyle.
Some would even argue that Kerry was already gay before he joined the choir at 1st Thessalonians Baptist Church, but I would present a very strong rebuttal to that thought process. He was just as normal as I was, I would know, because he was one of my closest childhood friends. Despite those who would discount the fact that a young impressionable man can be influenced by an openly gay man then please allow me to present my friend, who was introduced to a world of homosexuality.
Once again, I state that Kerry was a normal teen until he joined the choir that was under the direction of an openly gay man. It is my firm belief that when my friend embraced his new choir members over hanging with me and the crew, he also embraced the lifestyles of the gay men within that choir. He also decided at that moment to adapt the mannerisms of someone whom he considered to be a mentor, the gay choir director.
I don’t believe that Kerry was gay first; I believe that he was straight first, and then became gay. He submerged himself in a sea of feminine men, and as a direct result, he became one of them.
As you can image, I was very upset at losing my buddy to the lifestyle of “Church Gay” so in a last ditch effort to understand it I turned to my brutally honest uncle. This was a big mistake because his entire theory centered on the notion that there must be something in choir robes that made them gay. Then he progressed to his second offset theory that it must be something in the organ bench that made them gay. Like I said, turning to him was a very big mistake. It’s a good thing that I never accepted his theory of “Gay-volution” or I would have really missed the real issue of why straight teenage boys are getting turned out in church.
Our church choirs have always featured gay men regardless of the anti-gay message preached from the pulpit. Long before the debate over gay marriages, we as the people who sat in the pews have witnessed the marriages of ambitious pastors and openly gay choir directors on a routine basis.
In a quest to grow the congregation into a “Mega-Church” by exploiting choir members, pastors have existed in a visible contradiction by ignoring the life style of their choir directors.
In the City of New Orleans we had very famous, but yet obviously gay choir directors; some even went on to receive national acclaim.