Salem College addresses LGBT and religion with upcoming film screening

by Kashif Stone


“While few and far in between, there are some churches that are very accepting of the LGBTQ community,” said Monica Boyd director of the Office of Career and Professional Development at Salem College. “In fact there are some churches that cater to that particular audience. I can only hope that the rest of the mainstream churches will become more accepting of all members, whether they are LBGTQ, excons, ex-drug addicts, reformed prostitutes, fornicators, adulterers, and the like.” Boyd is behind the upcoming screening of BET digital original film “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church” at Salem College.

“Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church” explores the complicated dynamics of the relationships between members of the Black LGBTQ community and the church. The film addresses questions such as: “Can a person be Christian and Gay?” or “What does God ‘think’ about someone who embraces the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer lifestyle?” “Holler If You Hear Me” addresses the subject at hand with individuals who are living the lifestyle, dealing with their family, and their respective churches.

Released in the fall of 2015, the film was produced by Clay Cane, a New York Citybased award winning journalist, author, television personality, documentary filmmaker, and the Entertainment Editor for Cane traveled to Atlanta, considered a mecca of the LGBTQ community, where church and LGBTQ culture cross paths unlike any other place, to tackle one of the most taboo topics in the Black community. Many of Cane’s other works cover topics of pop culture, sexuality, race, religion, and social justice. The film portrays a message of understanding and hope for the LGBTQ community.

The groundbreaking documentary was nominated for Outstanding Digital Journalism (Multimedia) at the 27 th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. “I am so thankful GLAAD recognized this work,” said Cane in a statement after receiving notice of the film’s nomination. “This documentary gives voice to a community who have been silenced. I am grateful their voices have been heard and now recognized by GLAAD.” The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community and issues that affect their lives. “Holler If You Hear Me” marks the first BET digital original film ever to be nominated for a GLAAD award.

Salem College’s decision to screen this film was based upon their iLead leadership development program. Under the direction of Monica Boyd, a component of the program is the iLead Speaker series, in which various speakers discuss a variety of topics from career, budgeting, and ethics, to social justice, sexuality, and other personal development topics. Boyd reviewed the “Holler If You Hear Me” documentary online and felt that it was an excellent topic to include in the program’s speaker series. “This is a topic that is not often talked about, and with it, comes a myriad of secondary and tertiary issues such as bullying, depression, and even suicide,” said Boyd. “As a result of showcasing this film, it is my hope that we will help at least one person with gaining insight into the challenges faced by those in the LGBTQ community as it relates to their faith, family, and within.”

Salem is a liberal arts campus that celebrates diversity and the screening of this film defines that component of the college even greater. Dr. Kimya N. Dennis, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Criminal Studies, said “Salem’s mission of screening this film is to influence everyone with particular emphasis on people with certain identities as it pertains to race, and ethnicity, gender identity, LGBTS identifying individuals, religiosity, and the like. Additionally, the film’s screening has an impact across religions, with emphasis on Black gays in the church, which, considering the existing intentional and unintentional segregation in religions, is predominately not addressed by the black church.” !


The screening of the film is free and open to the public. The screening will take place on March 5th at 1 pm in the Elberson Fine Arts Center at Salem College.