Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-02
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Monroe Views: Black Gay Magazine Sells Its Soul to 'Ex-Gay' Forces
by Irene Monroe
2007-04-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


by Irene Monroe

Charlene E. Cothran sent shock waves throughout African-American LGBT communities nationwide. The longtime African-American lesbian publisher and editor-in-chief of Venus Magazine recently wrote an article entitled, 'REDEEMED! 10 ways to get out of 'The Life' if you want out!' In it, she wrote that she's now not only 'saved'—having turned her life over to Jesus—but 'straight' as well.

A staple in the African-American community, Venus Magazine was the first and only queer magazine owned and operated by a Black lesbian that spoke to and about the unique intersections of being Black and LGBTQ in both the African-American and white queer communities.

And Venus' loyal readership had hoped the magazine would do for its queer population what revered publications like Ebony and Jet magazines did for all people of the African Diaspora—that is, change society's negative and misinformed perceptions about us.

But as a fledgling magazine with the threat of folding always hanging over its head, Cothran opted to take financial support from Black churches funded by white right-wing Christian organizations that emphasize 'reparative therapies.' In fact, she opted to be her own magazine's 'ex-gay' poster girl rather than let the magazine fold. And with her four-year-old publication, Kitchen Table News, funded by Black church support, Cothran has not only sold her soul for paltry pieces of silver and gold, but she has also sold out the African-American LGBTQ community for her ravenous desire to save her magazine by any means possible.

Those betrayed the most by Cothran's purported conversion are her New Jersey queer African-American brothers and sisters who helped get Venus up and running in its early years.

'It is my personal opinion that you have done so for money—for business advantage. For this, your own religion provides the best one-word summary—JUDAS,' stated a letter to the editor in Venus that was signed 'Members of New Jersey's LGBT Community.'

However, when confronted with these allegations, Cothran states the contrary:

'Venus has managed to pay for itself AND Kitchen Table News. In fact, we are considering closing Kitchen Table News because, after four years, it simply is not paying for itself. As for support from Black churches, we have been and continue to be avoided by them financially. Any support given usually comes in the form of an ad here and there, but these ads are few and far between. We have sought support from professional Black clergy associations in New Jersey, but have not gotten a single official or unofficial, public or private endorsement to date.'

What Cothran isn't telling us is that not only is she getting financial support from Black churches, but they have helped her land anti-HIV ads from big pharmaceutical companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbott Laboratories that pay for half the cost of the magazine, with the other half paid for by the Black churches promoting 'ex-gay' ads targeted to the African-American LGBTQ community. One of these ads features Rev. Carla Thomas Royster, founder and pastor of Blessed Redeemer Church in Burlington, N.J. The ad states, 'Only God brings us out of the closet: An uncensored testimony of one woman's struggle with life and a lesbian spirit.'

But Cothran's strategy to keep Venus alive is foolhardy ( at best ) and deliberately deceptive ( at worst ) to both her former readership as well as to the Black churches she convinced her magazine would win over souls.

In Cothran changing neither the magazine's name nor its readership, she convinced her financial backers that her Christian 'ex-gay' rhetoric would be an easy sell. But she is bringing in neither the money nor the multitudes. Using the Moses motif, a narrative embedded in Black church liberation theology where God gives him the Ten Commandments, Cothran positions herself as a Moses-like figure with her list of 10 'demandments' that will deliver us out of a life of sin.

But Cothran has found that no one is buying her truth.

She states, 'Although I have lived as a lesbian for my entire adult life, it is without a doubt my soul's purpose to use my gifts to LOVINGLY share the truth about how we got here: how we came to be gay and lesbian, how we can enjoy our 'lifestyle' and how we came to believe that this was OK with God.'

Cothran not only colluded with the Black church in bashing LGBTQ people, but she also participated in her own exile. Having neither the Black church community to welcome her back into their fold as the prodigal daughter, nor the LGBTQ community that once accepted and revered her, Cothran stands alone.

And she's coming to realize that she was not only journalistically irresponsible with her blind ambition to save her magazine, but she was also ethically reckless with a readership that would have accepted her folding her magazine respectfully rather than using us for her personal gain.

And what does it mean to gain the world but lose your soul? Cothran's actions show she knows of neither.

************


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Ignorance and shortsightedness lead us to the Supreme Court 2019-10-02 - We will always find ourselves going back to the courts to fight for inclusion until we place the needs of the most vulnerable ...


Gay News

LETTER Attorneys needed 2019-10-02 - Dear Editor: According to the report "The Justice Gap," low-income Americans receive no or inadequate legal help for 86 percent for ...


Gay News

Activists halt U.S. Conference on AIDS to protest CDC 2019-09-18 - Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) surely saw it coming. Protests are part ...


Gay News

VIEWS Visibility isn't the goal 2019-09-18 - In mid-July, I interviewed non-binary rapper CJ Run. In discussing the coming out of gay country rapper Lil Nas X, Run articulated something ...


Gay News

REELING 2019 The reviews are in 2019-09-17 - Reeling 2019: The 37th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival will take place Sept. 19-29 at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema and Music Box Theatre. ...


Gay News

VIEWS A straight man's foray into an LGBTQ world 2019-09-04 - My first assignment for Windy City Times looked something like this: I hopped in my car and drove from my white, middle-class, cookie-cutter ...


Gay News

Remembering Michael Bauer, a call to pick up the baton 2019-09-03 - Remarks as prepared for delivery at the memorial service for community leader Mike Bauer, Sept. 3, 2019. I'm here to speak for ...


Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


Gay News

We need to talk about the 'Pose' hospital episode right now 2019-08-07 - The TV show Pose, on FX, is nothing less than astounding to me. So much could have gone wrong, with the era, the ...


Gay News

OP-ED How 'Queen Sugar' increases Black LGBTQ visibility 2019-08-06 - In 2018, there were more LGBTQ people of color on TV than their white counterparts. OWN's Queen Sugar is part of a quiet ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.