Chicago man celebrates 'Pride in the Pews' within the Black Church, calls for queers to share stories

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago man, who identifies as a queer Christian, has launched a nationwide campaign called Pride in the Pews in order to celebrate people like him within the Black Church.

"What Pride in the Pews is trying to do is queer the Black Church one testimony at a time," said Don Abram, the founder of Pride in the Pews.

He is calling on queer Christians in the Black Church to share their stories. It's part of Pride in the Pews' "Can I Get Witness?" Project.

"So that we can begin to change the narrative around the Black Church and refute theologies that are antagonistic toward queer people in the Black Church," he said.

Abram started the campaign in response to the George Floyd protests.

"While they were chanting on Friday, 'Black Lives Matter,' many would go to churches and in some cases would preach that queer lives did not," he said.

Abram, who is now in his mid-20s, recalls his own struggles as he was beginning as a preacher at the age of 14.

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"I chose to be straight because to do otherwise would cause me to be rejected from my community." he said.

The Harvard Divinity School graduate now embraces his full self.
"God loves all of me. My queerness. My blackness," he said.

Sky Sealey is on the Pride in the Pews Advisory Council.

"Don's story is one of that many can actually relate to," Sealey said.

Abram is planning to record 66 Black queer Christians speaking their truth. That is the number of books in the Bible. He hopes those testimonies lead to a more inclusive Black Church.

"I want to create spaces in the Black Church where regardless of your sexual identity or your gender identity, you are affirmed," Abram said.

If you would like to share your story with Pride in the Pews, you can sign up here: "Can I Get A Witness?" Project.
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