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Inviting In: Brenton Brock

It was my close friend, Darnell, who I met in seminary, that introduced me to this radical notion of “inviting in.” Prior to our conversation, at a local Shake Shack in New York City, I had been terrified to “come out,” to the people I love the most. This new idea of “inviting in” runs counter to the abusive trope of “coming out.” This idea of coming out always centers others as we neglect ourselves, again. For years, I grew afraid of my own self and centered my dearest loved ones as the possibility of ‘showing up in the world’ as a Black gay man grew more and more haunting. This idea of “coming out” presupposes an encaged space that gay people psychologically live in and eats away at any light into his/her/their truest and happiest self. I was afraid of their response to who I am and caged myself in a psychological closest. It’s so ironic how those we love the most can also be the same individuals who can ignite in us the most fear and self-hatred. The dominant culture would encourage us to “come out.” And, for God's sake, the church simultaneously wants us to “come out” as well. Sheesh. Yet, through this conversation about extending an invitation to the people, I loved the most, and now the world, into what has become the healthiest place of my life has become a sacred day of celebration. Welcome. 


Brenton Miles Brock

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.