PodcastAn Effort Towards Understanding the LGBTQ Community

July 4, 2016by Frank Love0


Podcast Episode:
There is a lot going on in the LGBTQ community, and it affects all of us, whether you are comfortable with it or not. Are you struggling to reconcile a loved one’s choices, preferences and belief with your beliefs? We’re discussing as many of the LGBTQ lifestyle issues as we can unearth … on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Guests: Fr. Joe Muth, CJ Jones, Mezei Jefferson, Adrian and Marie
Date: July 4, 2016

Frank: There’s a lot going on in the LGBTQ community and it affects all of us whether you’re comfortable with it or not. Are you struggling o reconcile a loved one’s choices, preferences and beliefs with yours? We’re discussing as many LGBTQ lifestyle issues as we can on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Yeah. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.

What are some of the difficulties that the LGBTQ community are facing that are unique to them these days?

I’m going to throw that question to Fr. Joe. Fr. Joe?

Fr. Joe: Yes, good morning.

Frank: Weigh in.

Fr. Joe: Well some of the… I’m pastor of the Catholic Church in Baltimore and some of the unique struggles of the LGBTQ community is whether Catholic Church would / does accept that in parishes and trying to find their place. So many Catholic gay and there’s been few people seek for a church where they can just be a part of a church community like anybody else would want to be.

There are a couple of churches in the Baltimore area that are known as a gay-friendly churches but that’s only about 4 or 5 churches, I think. So a few years ago, we started a gay-lesbian outreach group in our church. It’s called LEAD which stands for LGBTQ Educating and Affirming Diversity. So we used that as a vehicle to which gay-lesbian people can find their place in the church and just be—what I might say as normal, ordinary Catholic parish parishioners and get involved in the life of the church.

Frank: Okay, and my stylist friendwho’s on the line, we’re going to introduce him in just a moment but what are some of the political and spiritual implications of the LGBTQ lifestyle?

Fr. Joe: Some of the spiritual implications are as they come together at church community, some of them are couples in a relationship, some of them are couples who want to be married because of their relationship. The Catholic Church is not allowed at the current time to do a lesbian-gay weddings. So many of the people who do get married, get married by a minister of another denomination or the justice as a peace but they still keep their membership as a part of the same [unclear] community.

So that’s somewhat of a political and spiritual struggle for them and for an individual parish church like our own.

Frank: Does anyone else want to weigh in on that?

I’d like to. My name is CJ Jones. It’s not just an issue in the Catholic community but in church in general. I am a member of… Well, first of all, my company is Blue Diamond Entertainment. It is a quality events for mature women in their life, host events for lesbians, women mostly and as a Christian and a Baptist Church, I am blessed to be a part of the ministry of love and acceptance. In Atlanta, there are a few affirming churches but it is still a struggle for the LGBTQ community to practice religion, Christianity and peace. So I’m thankful that I am a member of the church because it is a problem. People want to worship and they are identified as LGBTQ to be comfortable in a safe place [unclear].

Frank: We’ve got a robust line-up to help, to develop our understanding of all things LGBTQ. The first has been the head of the St. Matthew Catholic Church for over 25 years and he’s no stranger to grappling with the issues that trouble a community.

4 years ago, his church started a gay-lesbian outreach group known as LEAD. It provides a community of marginalized people that can support one another and discuss their relationship with the church. Through his work, it appears that the line between supporting the LGBTQ community and remaining loyal to the Catholic Church has been found by using one key concept, maybe two: love and acceptance. To tell us all about is Fr. Joe Muth, Jr.

We’re also joined by the newly married, same-sex couple and members of Fr. Joe’s parish and benefactors of LEAD, they are Adrian and Marie. And we also have the stylist to the stars. With 23 years of experience and service to the hair care industry and a resume that includes styles that have graced the pages of Hair Color and Design, and Modern Salon Magazines, as well as decorated the Mtv and Comedy Central networks, he’s no stranger to the LGBTQ community because he’s also a gay man. He’s here to share some of the challenges and victories that he’s encountered along his journey. He is Mezei Jefferson.

And rounding out our all-star cast is an events and party planner extraordinaire. Her niche market is what she terms “mature women in the life”. She had her first party when she was 5 and she’s been partying ever since. And she’s currently preparing for the largest black pride event in the country, if not the world, during this upcoming labor day weekend. She is CJ Jones.

Frank: So…

CJ: Hello everyone.

Frank: If you want to learn how married life is going for the LGBTQ-ers, how the community is dealing with the aftermath of the tragic events at the Pulse Night Club and how you can gain a more compassionate perspective on the challenges that come with those who live this lifestyle, then stay tuned as your Frank Relationships Team raises LGBTQ awareness on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Welcome to the show, everybody.

Fr. Joe: Good morning, again.

CJ: Good morning, thank you.

Frank: Before we get deep into today’s subject matter, I want to check in to see what’s going on in the news. That’s a short segment that we do that I’d like everybody to participate in. So guests, don’t be bashful. We want you to… We don’t want to be the only ones running our mouth during the segment. And Fr. Joe, you may get plenty of times in the confessional with this topic.

The first up is there’s a… Nancy tells me about the Steve Harvey’s Summer Sex Challenge.

Nancy: Okay, okay, okay, let’s just like cut the crap right now. you see how he preface this?

CJ: Yes.

Frank: I put it on you.

Nancy: He said “Nancy, tells me…”

Frank: I don’t know anything about it other than… I don’t know…

Nancy: Now if it was a… I don’t want to say “politically correct” because Frank has politically correct challenges. He’s challenged in that regard. But he… If he felt like truly in his shoes with it, he would just announce it.

Frank: I’m not in my shoes with… I don’t know anything about it.

Nancy: Now he’s clueless… Well Nancy said…

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Yes…

Frank: Here to stipulatations.

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: If you’re in a new relationship, Steve Harvey is suggesting no sex for 90 days so that you get to know each other on a deeper level and if you’re married or in a long term committed relationship, have sex everyday for 90 days to brighten the spark in your relationship.

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: I’ma toss this to the married folks on the line. Well, the two married people on the line, Adrian and Marie. What you got? What do you say about this?

Nancy: They’re not talking. And I would like to say Mezei is also married so feel free Mezei to jump in.

Mezei: Well, actually I agree with it. I think sex is a big part of a relationship. It’s not everything but it is a big part because it brings that intimacy and that connection that… you know, that I think if you’re not having sex really you don’t have… As far as being single and not having sex for 90 days, actually I also agree with that. I’m kind of old-fashioned and I’ve never been one who just want to jump into bed. I would like to get to know somebody and my motto’s always kind of been, I want someone that can stimulate my mind as well as everything else. You know, so that things [unclear] when we’re having sex, I want to have that when we’re not having sex. So I think in that 90 days, that gives you time to really know somebody and still [unclear] and just not give your body away to whoever comes along.

Frank: Does that have any—does your belief there have any religious ref—is it connected to a religion at all? Or is it simply your belief?

Nancy: Yeah, what works for you?

Mezei: I assume it gets really… Well, a little bit of both. You know, being black, growing up in a black church, you are taught that and then… I’m not going to lie, as of a young person, we all had our wild day, one night [unclear] but most of us had our wild days but as an adult, I really realized this isn’t the life that I want to live and especially being a gay man, I saw that we were always stereotyped that we just want to have sex and we have sex with everybody in anywhere, and I never felt that. That wasn’t me. So I think that was part of it… One, I didn’t want to live up to the stereotypes; two, for religious reasons; and three, just because my parents did good and brought me up right.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: And—what’d you got, Nancy?

Nancy: Actually, I think we’re having like a little bit of click, click on the line and Fr. Joe, you’re the only person on the land line so I think you’re going to have like be super still… and maybe—

Fr. Joe: To be super still?

Nancy: Yeah, I think it might be—

Fr. Joe: Because of the question or because of the landline?

Nancy: No, no…

Catholic Church: Yeah, yes…

Nancy: Oh no, I don’t want you to be still because of the question but we’re getting like a little teeny bit of feedback and I’m only suspicious because you’re the only one on the landline that it could be you. It could be.

Fr. Joe: Okay. Alright.

Nancy: But no worries, no worries. Jeff’s not worried, we’re not worried. So… But I want to interject that one of the reasons that I thought was particularly cool to bring this in the news topic to this show is number one, pre-marital sex, I think is antique now in terms of challenging the church and face traditions because people, that’s just where they are now. Nobody even—there’s been this resurgence of waiting until you get married. It’s like the next new old thing is waiting until you get married to have sex.

Fr. Joe: Yeah, that’s some of that…

Nancy: Yes, and I think that it’s important that while a lot of people cast dispersions and they judge the LGBTQ community on a lot of different issues and what I think that this pre-marital sex conversation, because ultimately that’s what it is, when to have it, when not to have it especially if you’re just meeting somebody. It really highlights for me the places where we judge a community for the way they live but we forget that we aren’t exactly living biblical lives either. You know?

Fr. Joe: Exactly.

Nancy: Yeah, and to me, this particular challenge highlights the fact that we’ve gotten so comfortable with the way we have—

Frank: One aspect.

Nancy: Yeah, one aspect of the way we’re not going to do what the book says do or atleast what the teachings say do and yet we want to glare at somebody else who’s trying to live the best life they can live also.

Frank: I got to stress that I don’t know what the book says…

Nancy: Oh. It’s quite alright. Most of the people that are living by don’t know what it is either…

Nkenge Cunningham: One of the things that strikes me as a little odd is that—because I’m a teacher. My name is… I’m a teacher and I work with young people.

Nancy: You can tell your name.

Nkenge: Sure. My name is Nancy Cunningham. I work for D.C. public schools. I actually teach at Roosevelt Senior High School.

Nancy: Okay.

Nkenge: And one of the things that contradicts this belief is that the sex education that students see at. Whether they want to or not—

Nancy: Wow.

Nkenge: —whether their parents want them to or not. So the health department comes into the schools and teaches children how to have safe sex in their presentation. There may be one slide on abstinence and the remaining slides are about safe sex. And then they give them the tools before they live to have safe sex.

Nancy: Condoms.

Nkenge: Exactly. Condoms, dental dam, all… I mean, I learned a lot.

Nancy: Okay.

Nkenge: And sometimes you look at the faces of the students and you’re clear that some of them are clueless about sex.

Nancy: Yeah.

Nkenge: And so, to me, how we are preparing these up and coming adults to even take on this challenge, I think we’re contradicting what it is that we’re doing by teaching them about it…

Nancy: Right.

Nkenge: And telling them to wait [unclear]…

Nancy: Right, right.

Nkenge: So that’s—it’s a big contradiction there.

Fr. Joe: And the presentations, is anything talked about terms of abstinence? Is that a consideration or is it just the tools of having safe sex?

Nkenge: When I say there’s like one slide out of 20 on abstinence,—

Nancy: There’s one.

Nkenge: —literally, there’s one slide and I’ve actually gone to the percentages in. You realize you have one slide that says you can also abstain…

Nancy: Yeah…

Nkenge: Everything else is showing them that these are the precautions…

Nancy: [unclear].

Fr. Joe: Sure.

Nkenge: They don’t claim that they claim that because the numbers are high with sexually transmitted disease is there are preventing, but you know, coming from that [unclear] of abstaining as prevention, they really don’t push that.

Fr. Joe: Abstinence is considered only on a religious part of the question or is it considered something as necessary even in relationships of people that are not particularly religious?

Nkenge Yeah… There is no…

Nancy: Separation of church…

Nkenge: Yeah…

Nancy: …and churches. [unclear] not really just conversation going on.
Nkenge: No religious conversation.

Nancy: Got it.

Frank: Do you have a suggestion on what you would like to see happen with your children?

Nkenge: I do because I’m a teacher and a mother of 4. None of my children are having sex.

Nancy: And for the record, she looks like16. Still wish you got 4 kids wants to be adoption…

Frank: But to make your conversation what you just said, relevant, how old are your children?

Nkenge: Right. So my oldest—

Frank: If your 30, that would be…

Nancy: Yeah, problematic.

Nkenge: My oldest is 17.

Frank/Nancy: Okay.

Nkenge: And she’s just graduated from high school so… Sex is something that we talk about quite often. The one right under her is 14 and then there’s a 12, and then a 10 year old. So sex is definitely happening.

Nancy: Happening. Yeah.

Nkenge: I mean, the conversation.

Nancy: The conversation, right. Got it.

Nkenge: They’ve been asking me about my first time and I’m not sure I’m ready to even share but…

Frank: How could you not share that with your 17 year old?

Nkenge: It’s coming.

Frank: Okay.

Nkenge: It’s coming. It’s going to come.

Frank: Alright.

Nkenge: Yeah.

Frank: And I applaud her for even asking.

Nancy: Right.

Frank: Like I…

Nkenge: Right.

Frank: Wow. My daughter, if she asked me that, I would be—

Nancy: Intimidated?

Frank: I’d be amazed.

Nancy: Wow.

Nkenge: Right.

Frank: I’d appreciate her asking that. So you know…

Nkenge: Absolutely. And I think that’s one of the ways that we can start having these conversations about our experiences because our experiences, I mean, I’m proud of my experience with sex whether they were decisions I made that I—at that time I wasn’t very proud of. I’m always willing to share those things and those are the things that we are forgetting to do to share those real life experiences when it came to sex, the regrettable experiences and those that we really cherish. Instead, we put it in a box of, you know, what is right versus wrong when no, this is my experience with it. I think that’s one of the ways that we can actually help make these relationships healthy. Yeah.

Nancy: Got it.

CJ: I’d like to chime in on that a little bit.

Frank; Please.

CJ: I went to Wilson High School in Washington D.C.

Frank: Ah, what year did you come out?

CJ: I’m 45 years old.

Frank: We might have been in school together.

CJ: And I just go to that sex education class. I think the assumption with the schools is that the children are going to be exposed to it whether they have the class or not and I do not have any children but I can kind of sort of put myself in that situation wondering “is my child is having sex?” or are they thinking about it? I like to be on the other side and tell parents that you may not think they are, but a lot of times they are or they’re thinking about it and it just needs to be addressed. I did not have a sex conversation at all with my mother and I probably wasn’t the best child as far as being educated sexually. So in situations, I’ve involved myself in situations that maybe I probably shouldn’t have been involved in as well as being afraid to get pregnant because that was the sex education that I got.

Nkenge: Right.

CJ: I did not get pregnant.

Nkenge: Right.

CJ: I don’t want to take care of a child. So there was a fear attached to mine which was not necessarily the reason why a person should not have sex. They should be educated on the ramifications of having sex and possibly getting pregnant or… and sex with some type of the [unclear] having sex. It’s a very important conversation for children and the best person to have it is your parents even though it’s a very uncomfortable subject, probably for your child and the parent. I would encourage parents to go ahead and start the conversation.

Nkenge: Right.

CJ: You don’t wait for your child to do it. That’s speaking from a child’s perspective as an adult, not from a parent’s perspective because I’m not a parent. So…

Frank: Welcome to Frank Relationships, a show for you my brethren who like me, are too young to be considered old and too old to be considered young. It’s also for those of you that love and support us. We’re here to provide weekly wisdom, conversation and the information that’ll help create better parents and partners.

I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.

You can also find me on ABC’s Good Morning Washington most Friday mornings during the 9 o’ clock hour. If you’re listening to the show on Blog Talk Radio, please follow us and if via iTunes, please subscribe so that you can effortlessly get each week’s show.

Also, if you’re enjoying the show and of course you are, please share with your family and/or friends on your favourite social media platform. We are looking to add new friends to our social media family over the course of the next week so please help us, help our community by spreading the word about the show.

Greetings to my super duper co-host, Nancy Goldring.

Nancy: Good morning, Frank.

Frank: The consummate generalist.

Nancy: Indeed.

Frank: We’re also joined by today’s visiting co-host, Nkenge Cunningham. Greetings, Nkenge.

Nkenge: Greetings.

Frank: Well, I would ask you who are you and what do you do but you already… [cross talking] Yes, we already know that. alright, alright. Moving on…

Nancy: He’s a little slow in the intake today. Go on…

Frank: AS is the case this week with Nkenge, there’s a visiting guest co-host chair available every week here in the studio. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area or travelling to the D.C. area and want to join us in the studio on a given Thursday morning, email me at frank@franklove.com and let me know.

Nancy: So Frank, before we go into further, I just need to know something.

Frank: Kick it.

Nancy: So… Nkenge, I don’t know if you know, and its only kind of leaked out to me recently, but Frank travels like a lot.

Nkenge: Okay.

Nancy: A lot. So I’m on the brink of saying… Where’ve you been Frank and where’re you going?

Nkenge: Hey.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Women love to ask like that.

Nkenge: That’s nice, that’s nice….

Nancy: Where’ve you been? And where’re you going?

Nkenge: And where’re you going?

Frank: You getting that text right now from my wife?

Nancy: Because she wants to know too.

Frank: She knows. Thank you.

Nancy: Awesome.

Frank: She actually rolls with me sometimes.

Nancy: Awesome.

Frank: Last week, I was in New Hide Park, New York and last week I was also in German Town, Tennessee which is right outside of Memphis.

Nancy: Wow.

Frank: Soon as the show’s finished recording today, I’m in Cleveland. And then next week, I’m going to Dallas…

Nkenge: Wow.

Frank: And then the following week, I’m going to some place like Harvey, Illinois.

Nancy: Deep.

Frank: You ever heard of Harvey, Illinois?

Nancy: I have not.

Nkenge: Never.

Frank: Yeah, so…

Nancy: I have not.

Frank: Well I’ll be there.

Nancy: You know, he gets to do all those travelling…

Frank: Frank in the house.

Nancy: …and what do I do? Hammer away—

Frank: Yes.

Nancy: —getting this show down…

Frank: Thank you.

Nancy: You know…

Frank: Thank you.

Nkenge: Thank you, that’s right. Good response.

Nancy: I think that’s cool.

Frank: Well… And if anybody wants me to come visit, book club, church, whatever have you…

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: Email me at frank@franklove.com. Thanks for setting that up, Nancy.

Nancy: Oh. See, see… I try to like…

Nkenge: Yeah…

Nancy: And he always manages to make it work for himself. It’s just killer. I’m telling you…

Frank: Okay. Alright. Fr. Joe, would you tell us about the evolution of you and your church as an advocate for the LGBTQ community?

Fr. Joe: Yeah about 6 years ago, we were invited to a cook-out actually at my brother’s house and there’s an organization in the Washington area called New Ways Ministry and they wanted to kind of—and they’re a liaison group between the LGBTQ community and the Catholic Church. They just wanted to kind of talk to people about their mission and what they’re doing. And so we had a number of people from the church come to this gathering. At the end of the gathering, somebody said “So what are we going to do?” the woman who asked that question, she’s a woman in the parish. She has 5 children and has a gay son and a lesbian daughter. She said, “We need to sit down and talk about this.” So we started to sit down to talk about it and eventually, our group LEAD started out of that small little gathering of conversation.

So LEAD is made up of people that are gay, people that are lesbian, people that are couples and parents of gay and lesbian children, and people referred to us as allies who support the gay and lesbian people on the issues. We’ve been meeting now once a month for about 5 years.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: Got any story of success how you received?

Fr. Joe: Well when we started, it was during the… initially around the same-sex marriage debate in the state of Maryland. But the LEAD group was very conscientious about going around to the other parish groups and say “This is who we are, this is why we’re here, we want to be a part of a church like anybody else and…”

You know there were some conversations about people whether they were going to accept them or not but they were very forthright, open and the conversations developed and they’re another parish group right now… and it’s been very accepted on the parish level and I meet with bishop on a regular basis to let him know what’s going on and he’s been very gracious and accepting of this group and things like that. so we’ve had a number of interesting developments along these lines. It’s kind of—help us grow and develop along these ways.

Frank: Nice. Mezei…

Mezei: Yes?

Frank: June 26 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of the supreme court’s decision on gay marriage equality. Why did that… Are you married? Oh no, you…

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: You are married. Okay.

Mezei: Yes.

Frank: Why did that matter so much?

Mezei: Well it mattered because gay people want to have the same rights and should have rights as everyone else and not being able to visit your partner in the hospital or if they die and have a house or home together, it was very hard to really keep this because sometimes the family maybe didn’t agree with the situation or agreed with it just because that you were, both alive but they wants one of the partner’s past, they might come and take the house away. I mean, this has happened to numerous friends of mine. And I mean, that wasn’t the reason why I got married but those are some of the key things and you want someone that you can grow old with, spend your life with and have it recognized by everyone. That was mainly one of the reasons why I got married.

You know it was the right person. I know this person, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I wanted the world to know that and have it be legally binding as well.

Frank: Another powerful date is June 28, which is the 47th anniversary of the Stone Wall Rights. Admittedly, up until a few days ago, I didn’t know what the Stone Wall Rights were. I never heard of it. I guess call me ignorant or—

Nancy: Unaware.

Frank: —unaware. Whatever you want to call it.

Nancy: Well to cut you some slack.

Frank: Yeah. But…

Jeff: Ignorant.

Nancy: Oh man…

Frank: Okay. But see… see, Jeff [unclear]…

Nancy: [unclear]

Frank: Jeff’s got a different persp—he’s got a different like positioning because he’s got his 3 in New York. So…

Nancy: Right…

Frank: I mean, I’ve just been to New York a million times but I don’t know…

Nkenge: Visiting…

Frank: I don’t know the landmarks in New York other than Central Park.

Nkenge: Times Square.

Nancy: He needs to get back to the city.

Fr. Joe: Yeah…

Nancy: So much more there.

Frank: So why—maybe CJ, well CJ, why was that significant? Why was Stone Wall significant?

CJ: Well, it was significant because a lot of people lost their lives… the hatred.

Frank: A lot like what? A lot like 5?

CJ: Anytime that happens, whether it’s gay or straight or religious reason, it’s a tragedy. So just to remember that occurrence is… just remembering the people who were involved [unclear]…

Mezei: It was also at the beginning of the gay and liberation movement, a lot of ways to this country.

Nancy: Right.

Fr. Joe: It was really gay people who were tired of being harassed by police and tired of being secretively going to places without being known. It gave them a chance to kind of step out and begin to say, “You know, we are people too. We need to have our rights recognized” and people stood up to begin to say “We’re not taking the harassment anymore and gay liberation was born out of that.”

Frank: And can anybody weigh in on what happened? Because although I know something happened and President Obama named it a national landmark—I believe—I don’t know the story. So can somebody, anyone?

Nancy: Well, I can tell you not because I was there, however…

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Because I know the way he likes to roll… So but what I learned recently actually, was that the police raids of places like Stone Wall was common and what made Stone Wall uncommon and correct me if I’m wrong, anyone on the line—was that it was one of the… it may be the first time documented, first time, that the people fought back.

Fr. Joe: That’s right.

Nancy: And said “no more.”

Mezei: Correct. Yes.

Nkenge: [unclear].

Frank: And… there’s a movie that I’m thinking about. I don’t remember the name of it but it was an Al Pacino movie. Somebody’s got to remember the name of it. It was an Al Pacino movie where he was a police officer and he was sent into the gay community—

Fr. Joe: Was it Serpico?

Frank: No, that’s another one but that’s one about police corruption. But this was an Al Pacino movie where he was sent into the gay community. He was a heterosexual and to investigate something but at the end of the movie, he ended up becoming gay.

Nancy: Really?

Frank: Yeah. I don’t remember the name…

CJ: He was probably already gay.

Frank: Well okay, alright.

Nancy: As a whole other show, CJ.

[Cross talking]

Fr. Joe: Frank?

Frank: Yes?

Fr. Joe: Frank, I would say that probably I don’t remember that specific movie but he probably did become gay, he probably recognized that he was gay.

Nancy: That he was gay, right…

Jeff: It’s called “Cruising.”

Frank: Cruising. That’s—okay.

Nancy: Cruising, wow…

Jeff: 1980.

Frank: 1980, alright. Interesting. And so, is anybody familiar with this movie other than, I guess me?

Nancy: On to the next question.

Frank: Wow.

Frank: Okay, okay.

Nancy: Interesting, interesting.

Frank: Okay. I would love—I can’t believe I know a movie…

Nancy: Don’t rest on your [unclear] right?

Frank: Okay. But Fr. Joe though, the church’s position has remained consistent over many, many years to say the least. But how have you managed to create a line between the church and the LGBTQ community that’s able to remain and sustain?

Fr. Joe: Well I can say something about that but then maybe Adrian and Marie want to say something about that because they’ve walked that line themselves.

Frank/Nancy: Okay.

Fr. Joe: But I’ve maintained the line by reaching out to gayness with people myself and having them know that St. Matthew is a welcoming place but also on let’s say on the other side, the hierarchy side going down on a regular basis to talk to the bishop to let him know what we’re doing. So that he doesn’t get surprised or sandbagged or hear what’s going on and have to call me in or something. So I just let him know upfront beforehand in what we’re doing and he appreciates that as a different way of handling things rather than finding out you might say about what we’re doing and all that kind of stuff.

So it’s been a fairly healthy relationship on both sides with the gay and lesbian community and with the bishop of the diocese but Adrian and Marie might have something to say about that because they are the ones who have actually weather the storm in their life and are coming to terms to [unclear] and the parish community.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: Adrian and Marie, what say you?

Adrian: Yeah, I mean there are a lot of layers to our church, a lot of layers to our humanity, if you will and the way Marie and I came to the church was—came back to the Catholic Church if you will. We were kind of raised Catholic a little bit but then came back really—because there’s this beautiful thing about the Catholic Church. It’s called these Catholic social principle, Catholic social teaching. And the one thing that I really embrace from those is that everyone has god-given dignity within themselves and if we have the ability to have our own dignity and then we get the dignity of everybody else, then we are truly within the gospel.

And so that’s what we believed in. We believe that our church has the opportunity to model that to other communities as well. [unclear] we try to live our life, going down the street, going into church, going into work. It really is—everybody has this beautiful part of them that we really want to [unclear].

Frank: And how has the face of advocacy changed over the years for individuals like yourselves? So Fr. Joe, how has it changed over the years in the church? And Adrian and—or anyone, how have you seen it changed as a member of the community?

Fr. Joe: Well… I’ll go first. In the community’s changed because of real stricture against gay and lesbian people years ago and some of that still exist but there’s more of a welcoming presence at some parish communities—not just Catholic but another church communities throughout the Baltimore area. There’s a number of Methodist churches and [unclear] churches and [unclear] churches that are very open to the gay and lesbian community, and more on a public way not so much privately of past to saying “by the way, you’re welcome here.” So it’s become more of a public welcoming of gay and lesbian community and that’s been one big shift over the years.

Nancy: Adrian and Marie?

Marie: I mean I think definitely when Pope Francis became the pope, he made a big difference as far as the tone of the institutional church which has a huge impact globally. I mean, I think that’s the thing that we have to remember right is that the global Catholic Church had just so many countries, and countries and different places socially in regards to the human rights and in regards to LGBTQ people.

So for example, I believe it was 2013 or 2014 like the advocate, the gay magazine made Pope Francis like [unclear] for them and lots of people in the gay community, like it ruffled their feathers. They were kind of upset that just because the pope said “who am I to judge?” he was then on the cover of the advocate. But you know… there’s such a huge impact to the pope saying that. I mean, in our country—I mean it may make a huge difference in our country but you have to remember like in countries like my own, like Dominican Republic for the pope to say, you know mostly Catholic country, for the pope to say “who am I to judge?” It might be the difference of somebody being killed or beat up or… you know, it’s a matter of survival in this country.

And so, I think that there’s been a [unclear] in the tone of the institutional church which I think lends itself for communities to then, you know, for the small feature to be [unclear] for the people to be able to claim their space in the church and live their lives authentically and begin coming out of the closet in the church. Because like, [unclear] there’s so many people in the church that are feeling various roles or keeping things running who are gay, who are lesbian, who are trans, who are queer, who are bisexual.

So I think that there’s been a big shift, I mean I think there’s a long way to go still but you know, progress is [unclear]…

Frank: There’s—

Fr. Joe: What Marie says is important for us at St. Matthew because we have people in our church. 45 different countries.

Nancy: Wow.

Fr. Joe: We have a big immigrant mix of people across the world that come here who made their home at Baltimore and it’s really important that we address this because of the great mix of people that we have here in our parish.

Frank: Something you said Marie,that I want to piggyback on… We did a show years ago with a gentleman who was talking about the gay and lesbian community in Jamaica and some of the things that he’s dealt with, he was saying that you can be killed in Jamaica for being gay. I mean, for those of you who want to listen to that show, you can check out the archives of the show.

Another aspect that we haven’t quite touched on yet is that there are people in your church I would assume—because it’s just a microcosm of larger society that are not okay with LEAD. Is that correct or not okay with the gay and lesbian lifestyle or the LGBTQ community. Well first, verify that. Is that true? And if it is, what’s that interaction like?

Fr. Joe: Yeah, there are some people and there have been—they are handful of people who have talked to me and some of them have gone to another parish because they felt that comfortable about a church, a welcoming gay and lesbian people in an open way and they’ve gone to another parish but when they’ve left, I said to them, “Are you going to another parish because you think there’s no gay and lesbian people there either?”

Nancy: Wow.

Fr. Joe: “Or do you just think you’re going there because you’re not as publicly aware?” So that some have left the church, gone to another Catholic parish because they have [unclear] we thought which is fine. People are free to go where they want depending on the parish that they’re connected to. But there has been some [unclear] that hasn’t been a public outcry but it has most of the time, people would either come and talk to me or they would just leave and I would have to track them down to find out where they are and have a conversation about that.

Nancy: You know Fr. Joe…

Fr. Joe: Yes?

Nancy; I had a brief conversation with Adrian and Marie last night and one of the things that came up in conversation was this whole idea of homosexuality in nature. And one of the brief videos you sent us, you make a comment about the birds and trees and you say there [unclear] birds and there are ravens versus there are gay person like the tree is to hold all birds and there was some illusion to the fact that there is homosexuality in nature. Can yuo give us some background on where you were going in that particular homily?

Fr. Joe: Yes, from my deep scientific background…

Nancy: Come on…

Fr. Joe: I was just a [unclear] fact, I mean I wasn’t saying that based on a scientific evidence. I was [unclear] to the fact that in nature, there is homosexuality of all levels. I mean, that’s I get [unclear] studies in percentages and all that but just my own basic knowledge of the world and of life and I was just using that in the homily to kind of bring that message home to people that people are welcome to all the birds [unclear] to the tree and all of the people are welcome to the church…

Nancy: Got it, got it.

Fr. Joe: …no matter what condition or circumstance may be. Yeah.

Nancy: Okay.

Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re joined by Fr. Joe Muth of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore. His parish has a gay and lesbian outreach known as LEAD. It provides a community of marginalized people that can support one another and discuss their relationship with the church. We also have 2 of Fr. Joe’s parishioners. They’re same-sex newlyweds, Adrian and Marie and then we have the stylist to the stars, Mezei Jefferon who’s a guy’s man and the restaurateur and event party planner extraordinaire, CJ Jones. We’re discussing issues related to the LGBTQ community.

Fr. Joe, can you please tell us what you’re up to and how we can find you?

Fr. Joe: Yes, you can find me at the St. Matthew’s in Baltimore. Would you like my address or—?

Frank: Sure. Whatever you’d like to give.

Fr. Joe: the address is 5401 Loch Raven Blvd, Baltimore, MD. The phone is 410-433-2300. You’re welcome to call or come by to visit. We have church services on the weekend at 8:45 and 11 on Sunday. You’re welcome to come by and visit and see what’s going on.

Frank: And Mezei?

Fr. Joe: We have a pretty lively experience and you’re welcome to be a part of it.

Frank: Nice. And Mezei, what are you up to?

Mezei: Actually right now, we are in essence. So we have activation at Essence weekend. So anybody is down here, stop by our booth [unclear] Carson booth and say what’s up, get some product and some consultations.

Nancy: Oh. Consultations…

Frank: One of the things that rolls right into my next question… and you are knee-deep into the entertainment and beauty… Yeah, I guess the [unclear]—

Nancy: Fashion…

Frank: Fashion community. How is… It is to someone like myself, I’m heterosexual, married, I watch tv once in a while but there’s so much—when I see someone getting their hair done, it appears that that person is—if it’s a male, it is often someone who seems to identify… I don’t even know how to say this right. It’s someone who identifies—

Nancy: Help us out, Mezei…

Frank: —with the gay community or with the LGBTQ community. Please, talk about that coexistence, your experience there, anything you want to say because I need education.

Mezei: Okay, well you know… I agree with you to a point. When I was a stylist in the salon, a lot of other men that were in the salon or that I knew that did hair were gay males. The—

Frank: Give it a percentage.

Mezei: —interesting part…

Frank: Give it a loose percentage. We’re not holding you to it.

Mezei: Yeah, yeah.

Frank: But 80? 30? 100?

Mezei: I would say a good 50-50.

Nancy: 50-50?

Mezei: Or a 60-40.

Frank: 60-40 on the… which side?

Mezei: 60 – gay, 40 – straight.

Frank: Okay.

Nkenge: Okay.

Mezei: [unclear] a lot of hairdressers are straight.

Nancy: Okay.

Mezei: Straight males.

Nancy: Okay.

Mezei; But the thing that I found interesting when I started doing education and kind of took my career to a higher level, I was one of the minorities as far as homosexual male.

Nancy: Oh really?

Nkenge: Wow.

Mezei: Yes.

Frank: So when you decided to up your game, you feel like it changed the landscape? The landscape changed?

Mezei: Yes.

Frank: Really?

Mezei: It did. Yeah. And obviously I’m speaking just for my career path. I was on a team of stylists and there was… I would say 15-20 guys out of maybe 100 people that were on the team nationwide and I was one of only 2 that were openly gay. Now if someone was closeted, then I don’t know but out of openly gay, there was only 2 of us.

Frank: You got any speculation of how many might have been closeted?

Nancy: Mezei…

Nkenge: Looking for stats…

Mezei: I’m not going to touch that.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Thank you. Thank you.

Frank: I mean it’s a real…

Nancy: Thank you.

Frank: It’s real. It’s a real component of the conversation. And I’ve got to—there’s a question that I—or there’s an issue that I hear people talk about all the time and it’s what is up wih the very feminine aspect of being a gay male? So you have… there seems to be different qua—or segments of being a gay male. You have men who have… Well see—

Nancy: But there’s a polarity, there’s an extreme…

Frank: Yeah.

Nancy; There are men that you would never dream were homosexual and then there are men that they—

Frank: Very feminine and almost what some call “flaming”.

Nancy: They accentuate the fun.

Mezei: Right.

Frank/Nancy: Yes.

Frank: And then you have men who have sex with men and they don’t considered themselves “gay”… So please, help me out.

Mezei: Okay.

Frank: What you got?

Mezei: So… Well I’ll speak for myself.

Frank: Nkenge is looking at me like “what?”

Mezei: But I think when you’re growing up gay, you don’t have a lot of visibility to role models—atleast not in my time. In this day and age, you have a lot more which is great. But in my time, only gays you saw on tv or in the news were the very effeminate men.

Frank: No, that’s not true. That’s not true.

Nancy: In the movies?

Frank: The Rock Huds—

Nancy: In the movies.

Frank: No, Rock Hudson who was a—he was a man-man.

Nancy: No, he’s saying “who we’re openly gay”…

Frank: Okay. You didn’t say “openly”, he said “gay.”

Nancy: Right. Yeah, that were open.

Frank: The only gay men. But see, there’s a difference.

Mezei: Right.

Frank: Openly gay and gay are—

Mezei: Right. True, openly gay.

Frank: Okay, okay.

Nkenge: Right.

Mezei: So I think sometimes people lean towards being more feminine just because they think that when you’re gay or when you come out as gay, you have to fall into a category. But for me, I’ve always felt that—you know, you have to be true to yourself and I never wanted to dress up in drag, not that there’s anything wrong with it. And I just was never openly feminine and a lot of people, a lot of co-workers for years, didn’t know I was gay until I would say something. So I just think it’s how you feel and sometimes it is your surroundings and what you see, you kind of gravitate towards one side or the other. Now for the [unclear] guys, I just think that they’re just not ready to come out or they’re afraid of what society is going to say. I have a hard time with that just because I feel like once I came out to my family and my family and friends accepted me, then I felt felt good inside that I can’t be around those type of people like there’s nothing against them and I’m not one of those people that would ever out anybody but the closeted that’s fine but I feel it’s negativity because you have to be true to yourself and if you’re not living your truth self then how can you ever be truly happy?

Nancy: In your professional life, now I know you say where you are now you’re one of just 2 openly gay men. Talk to us like about the challenges and the victories of your life as a gay man.

Mezei: I have been fortunate and I wouldn’t say the challenges were just more [unclear]… Bullying and people calling names and things like that… when I was not—I didn’t consider myself gay then so them seeing it really bothered me.

Nancy It was hurtful.

Mezei: And then—because I was having the internal struggle as well. So I would say that was the hardest part but with that being said, it was no way near what gay youths are going through today.

Nancy: Wow.

Mezei: There’s nothing like that. My heart goes out to the youth of today because I don’t know if I could deal with them. [unclear] that they deal with considering now we have social media, and all of that so like that as a big elemnt to it.

Nancy: Okay.

Mezei: So that would probably be my most negative. My most positive is my family and friends. Like I come from a big family, I have 7 brothers, all of which were very accepting and all of my best friends are straight. So they were very accepting and my family, I always tell my family like “ Sometimes I wish you were one of those families that they just—“ I came out and then we never discussed it because my family is overly involved in [unclear] and who [unclear]. Yeah. Before my wedding, my mother said, “So we started talking to adoption agencies…” and I was like, “[unclear] the wedding have to wait?”

Nancy: She wants grandchildren.

Nkenge: That’s right.

Nancy: Nice.

Mezei: Yeah, well she’s got 7 other boys so she’s [unclear]…

Nancy: Nice.

Mezei: So I would say that’s my biggest success. It’s just maintaining a relationship with my family and friends and not having to hide who I am. You know, they are all very involved in my life and that has helped me in not making so like I have to hide who I am or when I’m around my family, I can’t talk about who I’m dating or what’s going on in my life. They’ve always been very involved.

Nancy: Beautiful.

Mezei: Career-wise, I really—if it has ever [unclear] my career, I don’t know. Like I’ve never felt as work ostracized or criticized behind my back for anything like that. Everybody’s been pretty… it’s been pretty well received and I feel like the people that didn’t receive it well kept it to themselves.

Nancy: Got it. Got it. That’s fabulous.

Frank: I know you got a job off the line so thanks for joining us, Mezei.

Mezei: Oh thanks for having me.

Nancy: Yes, thank you, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Good luck with the event.

Mezei: Thank you, buh-bye.

Nn: Okay.

Nkenge: Buh-bye.

Frank: Marie and Adrian, how long had you guys been together before the marriage equality legislations passed?

Marie: So we’ve been together—oh [unclear] know these things don’t I…

Frank: No you don’t… No…

Nkenge: Somebody did their homework.

Frank: Yeah. I’m like you, I don’t know how long I was…

Marie: [unclear] backwards very well. I got to work on that. yeah, it’s like 3 ½ years now.

Nancy: Okay.

Marie: And so we came around right when these things were starting to peak…

Nkenge: Okay.

Marie: …in a way. But I will say… So we were able to get legally married in the state of Maryland. Thank you to a lot of folks who did a lot of hard work on that, on the frontline on that piece. But you know… I didn’t want to say something real quick, you know we’re on the radio and we were talking about our friend [unclear]… and we don’t look like Rosie O’Donnell or Ellen, you know… like they’re these iconic lesbians out there but like there’s a lot of images of what everybody looks like. I just don’t know—and [unclear] I think about is Michael Saccomanno as an athlete and what’s that going to mean for young guys coming up as athletes and being gay and finally having a voice out there that sounds like their’s and that they can relate to.

I don’t want to go back there but I just think about those images that we’ve been said into our heads of what gay and lesbian people look like, what they sound like, what they act like, well you’ll never know who you’re coming across or what they live in. I don’t know, just treat everybody with respect if we can.

Frank: Absolutely.

Fr. Joe: We talk about LEAD here at the parish. We really talk about the fact that we’re saving lives, young people that struggle with their sexuality, their sexual identity. Sometimes, the suicide rate is pretty high and we try to provide an opportunity for people to atleast be able to talk and talk through what they’re going through. So we see ourselves as sometimes saving lives, not just having a parish group that kind of help people get along with each other.

Frank: Nice.

Nkenge: Yeah, so I just—Mezei shared about his family being a big anchor of support. I wanted to ask Marie and Adrian, how does your family show support in your relationship?

Frank: If they do.

Marie: Our families have been incredibly supportive actually. They were crucial part of our wedding, so important for us that they were there. I mean actually, still a lot of my family’s still in the Dominican Republic and so… we weren’t sure how many of them were going to show up just because it’s a long track from there to Baltimore. And so we made sure they knew they were invited but we also made sure that they knew that they weren’t expected to come. And a little bit too also… I knew it would be, although they supported us and they love us, I think it’s also culturally difficult, right? But oh my gosh, we thought like we were going to have like between 120 to 130 people at our wedding. We ended up with 156 which is crazy.

Nkenge: Wow.

Marie: And so much in my family came up and even my grandmother who I have a very special relationship with, who I think is still reconciling the fact that I’m gay, she made it. She came even though she didn’t totally agree with it. She loves me and she loves Adrian and it was important for her to be there. so we’ve been very lucky, I would say—I mean not without struggles but definitely very lucky.

Well [unclear] but yeah, we invited people and if they wanted to come, they’re welcome too and if they don’t want to come, that’s alright. We can’t decide what’s in their heart. We can just decide in ours and open it up as best we can.

Frank: Nice.

Nkenge: Nice.

Frank: You guys may remember at the beginning of the year, we did a show with Master Yao Nyamakye—

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: —on tantra.

Nancy: Sure.

Nkenge: Tantra.

Frank: You can check out the show in our archives. Well he’s got a full weekend of full workshops coming up in the D.C. area during the weekend of July 22 and you’re invited to join him. For more information, visit masteryao57.eventbrite.com. That’s amsteryao57.eventbrite.com I’ll also post the link on this show on franklove.com.

This is Frank Relationships, a show for you, my brethren who, like me, are too young to be considered old and too old to be considered young. It’s also for those of you that love and support us. We’re here to provide weekly wisdom, conversation and the information that will help you be a better parent and partner.

You can find this in our archive shows. They’re well over a hundred at franklove.com on Blog Talk, iTunes and Stitcher. And once again, Miko’s here to give us some financial wisdom.

Take it away, Miko.

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Frank: Thanks, Miko. It’s important that we pay respects, atleast in my eyes, it’s important that we pay respects to the folks who are affected by the recent shooting at The Pulse Nightclub. And so, I want to just open the floor and have—is there anything or anyone would like to say because 50 people were killed?

Nancy: 49.

Frank: 49 people were killed. That’s such an impact. I mean, that’s huge. When I found out about the story, someone said to me, 15 people. I thought I heard 15 and then he said, “No, 50.”

Nkenge: 50, right.

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: And I said, What?!” I mean that’s the number is just—I mean 1 is plenty; 2, wow; 15… 50?

Nkenge: Right.

Nancy: Absurd.

Frank: Please.

CJ: Terrible, terrible tragedy. I was sharing Nancy just last night that… But I do in community is I provide a safe haven for LGBTQ community, specifically more lesbian women. So when the community comes to my events, they know they’re going to be safe and the issue is that any people—we just odnt have a lot of places to go where we can fellowship, congregate, have fun, network. So the place that’s more common for that over the years has been the nightclubs, bars, the special parties that we have because within those walls, you can be your true self.

Now other people, we can do that to other places. I try to live with the most authentic life that I can whether I’m at church, whether I’m at an event, whether I’m working at my own bar. So the tragedy is that could have been my event. That could have been my party. And so so many of us identify with that and we were so hurt because we’ve been in those situations for a lot of our lives. It was more so a violation and to know that someone can come inside your place of peace, your place of comfort and just wreck that ideology is just scary. That’s why it resonated all over the world with not just the LGBTQ community, but I’m sure the straight community also. There were some people that had plenty of compassion and could understand the ramifications of that act. It’s just the tragedy but we’ve decided at Atlanta that we won’t live in fear and we will continue on with our pride [unclear] celebrations. Of course, the community at Atlanta and the mayor and the chief of police have agreed to beef up security, mayor, so that just in case there’s any out there thinking that they can do something like that in Atlanta that atleast we may be a little bit more prepared and I think [unclear] at Atlanta but that’s not something that we would think would happen when we go out.

Nancy: Right, right.

CJ: To prepare something like that is saying that “we are not safe in our safe haven, [unclear].” [unclear] 22, you want to be safe? But ou dot want to be safe because people are bombing, and shooting, and disrupting your place of…

Nancy: your lifestyle and everything…

CJ:…your place of your lifestyle, exactly. So…

Frank: It’s—

CJ: It’s just terrible. Hopefully it will have it open the eyes of people who didn’t even consider the fact that there are issues like that everyday. People just don’t go around shooting guns but they say things out of their mouths, their ideologies, the things they preach are against us, the hate. I was telling Nancy also that a common fear is leaving the club.

Nancy: Right.

CJ; Not necessarily in the club but walking home to your car, walking to the train… There are several incidents where LGBTQ individuals are harassed. I have a bar, I have a young lesbian. She’s 18 years old. She just cleans up for me, she does hookah, she was harassed walking home. And then I don’t even have a gay club. This is a regular bar, by some street thug, walking home from work.

It’s just a shame that someone would have to worry about that because of their sexuality and they’ve just assumed she was because she was more… not as feminine as [unclear] but it just saddens me that I feel responsible for her and she was thumped going home—

Nancy: Wow.

CJ: [unclear] some work at my restaurant. So it is a fear, it is a concern but we can’t live in fear. We have to try to go on as best we know how so that other people watching know that they can’t just bomb us and shoot us and think that we’re just not going to be in existence and not go on as we were before.

Nancy: Right.

CJ: So it’s important to remember those victims, that their lives are not in vain. They have… that action has started conversation, politicians have to talk about it. Minister and preachers have to talk about it. I mean, if you don’t, you’re not being sensitive.

So my pastor says that something good is going to come out of that tragedy. Things happen that are tragic, however, how we handle them—I just don’t want those individuals, supporting our individuals’ lives to be in vain. Right?

Nancy: Right.

Frank: Indeed.

CJ: Way to…

Nancy: You know—

CJ: …to spark conversation because of those tragedies.

Nancy: Okay so… the thing I like about what you said is that those people need to be remembered and just last night, Fr. Joe’s parish did a candlelight vigil. You want to tell us a little bit about how it went?

Fr. Joe: Yeah, we had a great vigil, probably over 200 people last night. There were Muslims, Jews, Christians, gay people, lesbian people, a whole mix of the [unclear] of our community came together with a solid candlelight prayer to remember folks who were killed in Orlando. One of the things about that is the clergy gathering I was at [unclear] Baptist Minister said, “Isn’t it kind of a shame that gay and lesbian people felt more comfortable in a bar than they did in the church? They felt safer at a bar than they did in the church.” That’s really is kind of an [unclear] of the church that has to be more welcoming to people to say, “No, you can feel safe here.” We want to create churches that are safe places for gay and lesbian people too and that’s part of the reason that we have LEAD and part of the reason that we’re trying to develop this outreach.

But yeah, last night we had a great conversation and it’s not a privilege but to honor those who were killed and to remember them in a special way so that what’s just being said, we can move and do a more positive relational approach to the gay and lesbian community in a welcoming spirit.

Frank: Now, god, I mean, Jeff just raised the issue. I have to… I got to touch on it, because when you guys were talking about the safe place in the nightclubs, I was thinking to myself “Wow, because if I go to a nightclub, I don’t feel safe.” I mean, the individuals in that community feel… they got something that I don’t have, and that’s great.

Now, ironically when we’re in—when someone like myself… and I don’t really go to the clubs but a heterosexual like myself may go to a club. If there’s a shooting, it’s probably by another heterosexual. Now, at this club where there was a shooting of 50 people—who presumably were gay or lesbian—they were shot by someone who was gay.

Nancy: But not openly gay.

Frank: Well—

CJ: Yeah. Kind of struggled.

Frank: So—

CJ: Like when [unclear] he struggled with his own probably sexuality.

Frank: So you have some of the same dynamic in the heterosexual community of violence within that community, spilling over into the gay community. That’s interesting.

Fr. Joe: But there’s a different [unclear/cross talking] like random violence of somebody shooting somebody and targeted violence is somebody targeting a particular—

Nancy: Community.

Fr. Joe: —community because they’re gay or lesbian.

Frank: Well, we… in the black community, it could be argued that we’re shooting each other in the club because we’re black. Even black people. I mean, it’s…

Nkenge: Right.

Frank: There’s a lot to be—there’s a lot of levels to that conversation but you know…

Marie: Well the common [unclear] usually is that these people don’t have anywhere to belong themselves. They got no other reason to live, they’re angry, they’re frustrated and they’re not being heard by somebody. So they’re going to make a big thing to get heard. And so they don’t believe so [unclear]—it’s not even like, I mean, you don’t want to like live with all these things. I mean I think the core issue behind a lot of these shootings is just that we aren’t making basis for enough people to feel safe, enough people to belong in their own community.

Nkenge: Yes.

Marie: So if we can give them a better reason to live, and oppose to a higher reason to die almost…

Nkenge: Yes.

Nancy: Great.

Frank: You—
[Cross talking]

Nancy: Great point.

Frank: What?

CJ: Someone would have affirmed this young man in his life. He probably wouldn’t have ended up doing such a heinous act. There’s somewhere—there was disconnect somewhere where he was not alright with who he was because when you attack people generally an inward feeling somehow, whether it’s words, [unclear] and type of violence, there’s an inner struggle there.

Nancy: Right.

Frank: Unfortunately—

CJ: And he was just not affirmed and that which that is so important to be affirmed, to be accepted and say “You are okay in your skin. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, we love who you choose to have sex with. You are okay.” And people are more happy causing [unclear] than inclusion. And I think people that do that just don’t feel included. They just don’t [unclear/cross talking]—

Marie: May I chime in…

CJ: —they don’t feel good about themselves.

Frank: Yes, please quickly… because I got to—

Nancy: We got to wrap up. This is awesome but we got to wrap up.

Nkenge: Start at something…

Marie: Just a touch on the safe [unclear] thing, you know I think we can’t talk about The Pulse Nightclub shooting without talking about that it was Latino night at the club. And what that means is… so that means that people in the Latino community that were gay and lesbian and trans and bisexual who were at that nightclub probably some of them were not even out in their own community and in their family. I cannot emphasize like what if these days that kind of club is. And that’s evidenced by the fact that some of the parents—which doesn’t surprise me at all as a Latina, some of the parents are finding out that their kids have been killed while at the same time they were finding out that they were gay, you know?

Nancy: Wow.

Marie: And that just says so much about how far are we to come in all of our communities to have these conversations and like you were saying Nancy, and feel loved and accepted in our own skin.

Nancy: Yeah, yeah.

Frank: You’ve been listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been joined by Fr. Joe Muth of the St. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore. His parish has a gay and lesbian outreach group known as LEAD and it provides a community of marginalized people that can support one another and discuss their relationship with the church. Fr. Muth, can you give us that phone number one more time?

Fr. Joe: It’s 410-433-2300.

Frank: Thanks for joining us. I know you got to go.

Fr. Joe: Yup. I very much appreciate it.

Frank: You bet.

Nancy: Sure.

Frank: We also have got two of Fr. Joe’s parishioners. They’re same-sex newlyweds, Adrian and Marie. Adrian and Marie, thanks for joining us. We had the stylist to the stars, Mezei Jefferson and the restauranteur, event and party planner extraordinaire, CJ Jones.

Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed The Pulse Nightclub, the many faces of the LGBTQ community and the Catholic Church. Thank you to my guest co-host, Nkenge.

Nkenge: Anytime. Thank you.

Frank: Thank you to my co-host, Nancy.

Nancy: Thank you, Frank.

Frank: Thanks to Jeff Newman, my engineer and thank you to my great guest, Fr. Joe Muth. His parishioners Adrian and Marie, Mezei Jefferson and CJ Jones. You’ve been great.

I hope you’ve had as much fun and learned as much as I have hanging out with today’s all-star ensemble.

As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.

Let us know what you think of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.

This is Frank love.


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