In the USA, Black sexual minority men (BSMM) remain disproportionately impacted upon by HIV and other sexual health issues. Individuals who attend church have lower rates of morbidity and mortality than those that do not; however, church attendance presents a paradox of being protective for some health outcomes and a risk for others among this population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) affirming churches may offer support, but little is known about the role of LGBT-affirming churches in the lives of BSMM and how they may impact HIV and other health outcomes. This study explored the role of LGBT-affirming churches in the lives of BSMM. Nine focus groups (N = 52) were conducted in Baltimore City, Maryland between December 2017 and April 2018. Thematic analysis evaluated domains related to how men perceived, experienced, and engaged with LGBT-affirming churches. Three primary themes identified: (1) preferring traditional church environments over LGBT-affirming churches; (2) experiencing the LGBT-affirming church as a space of acceptance, emotional healing, and modelling loving same-sex relationships; and (3) perceiving LGBT-affirming churches as opportunities to engage community members to promote the well-being of BSMM. A secondary theme identified involvement in the house and ballroom community as an LGBT-affirming religious experience.
- Black sexual minority men
- health promotion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health