Activist and writer Keith Boykin spoke Monday to a group of nearly 60 students about his experiences and difficulties being a gay male in the black community.
Before his speech, members of Students Against Discrimination Everywhere read poems meant to convey the emotions of a black male coming out and the reactions of those close to him.
Boykin spoke about his time in politics and his experiences becoming an activist during law school. It was during his time in law school when he decided to be honest with himself about being gay, he said. He continued by discussing religion and politics and how the two play a part in people having a hard time accepting homosexuality.
“(Boykin) spoke a lot about religion, and I found that interesting,” sophomore Ashley Landes said.
A large portion of Boykin’s speech focused on his views of the Bible and how people perceive different passages.
“The one that really gets me though is the passage in Leviticus, because I’ve heard this a million times,” Boykin said. “God said in Leviticus 18 that a man shall not lie with a man because it is an abomination.”
Boykin, who is a Christian, challenged listeners to read the rest of Leviticus, adding that it outlaws a lot of things, including eating seafood, pork, having multiple plants in the same garden or wearing clothes with two different types of fabric.
“We certainly don’t condemn people to hell for wearing polycotton blends,” Boykin said.He also feels that politicians reserve the issue of gay marriage for election cycles rather than caring about the morality of the issue.
“Why haven’t we heard about this gay marriage amendment in the past year since the election?” Boykin said. “It will come up again in a few months when the next elections come around, because they know they can manipulate you with that issue.”
The core of Boykin’s speech regarded how black culture makes a gay black man feel as if he is unable to be honest about his sexuality, and he said this can be a problem when these men find themselves in relationships with women. He spoke about stereotypes regarding black males and how they are expected to be strong and masculine.
His point wasn’t lost on those present.
“Being a black woman, I have experienced hardships, but I didn’t realize what black gay men go through,” freshman Dleudonne Jean said.