March 15, 2022

A new documentary short by first-time filmmaker Qiydaar Foster explores LGBTQ+ affirmation in the Black Church, and the journey to get there.

WASHINGTON– On March 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET, PFLAG National will premier online its latest short film, "Taking the Long Road Home.” Directed by first-time filmmaker Qiydaar Foster, who uses pronouns he, him and his, the film explores the question: “Is there room in the Black Church for LGBTQ+ people of faith?” Told through the lens of Foster’s own faith journey as an Afro-Latino queer person, the audience meets six Black ordained ministers who identify as LGBTQ+ or as allies and together seek to answer that question.

Foster said of the film, “This project with PFLAG comes at a point in my life where I am able to hold space and hopefully see new avenues of faith and fellowship in church life that I always felt were out of my reach because of my sexuality. I hope it helps to reach other people who are on a similar faith journey because they or a loved one is LGBTQ+.”  

“Love of God and love of an LGBTQ+ child are not mutually exclusive. It is a truth that PFLAG as an organization has worked in deep fellowship with families to reconcile,” said PFLAG National Executive Director Brian K. Bond, who is a devout Catholic and openly gay. “In a very ‘PFLAG’ way, ‘Taking the Long Road Home’ reaches viewers where they are, and provides an entry point for exploring deep questions of faith for LGBTQ+ people and their families.”

Taking the Long Road Home” includes interviews with Rev. Michael J. Crumpler, Rev. Debra J. Hopkins, Rev. Mykal Shannon, Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Rev. Dr. Christine Y. Wiley and Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley. The film was produced by Nick Oceano and Niketta Scott, and edited by Jake Korupp

Other recent short films presented by PFLAG National include “A Place to Call Home” (2021) directed by Stephanie Tran (they/them) and produced by Oceano (he/him), and “Las Familias de PFLAG en Español” (2019) directed and produced by Oceano. In 2021, Melissa Harris-Perry hosted the series “What Makes Pride” from PFLAG National, uplifting the work and lives of LGBTQ+ BIPOC people, communities, and grassroots organizations. Each Thursday, viewers can tune-in at 4:30 p.m. ET for PFLAG’s Straight for Equality series “Something to Talk About Live!” where today’s newsmakers and community leaders discuss hot topics affecting the LGBTQ+ community. On Thursday, March 17, filmmaker and activist Brendan Fay will be on for a show titled, “Catholic, Irish, LGBTQ+ – And Proud Of All Three!Rev. Hopkins, who is featured in “Taking the Long Road Home” will be a guest of the show on March 31, in celebration of Transgender Day of Visibility

"Taking the Long Road Home” will be available online beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 16 at PFLAG.org/LongRoadHome.

Photos of Qyidaar Foster, Rev. Michael Crumpler, Rev. Mykal Shannon, Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley, Rev. Dr. Christine Wiley, Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, and Rev. Debra Hopkins along with "Taking the Long Road Home: coming soon at PFLAG.org/LongRoadHome"

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ABOUT PFLAG NATIONAL
PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With nearly 400 chapters and 250,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. To learn more, visit pflag.org, like us on Facebook (/pflag), watch us on YouTube (/pflag), or follow us on Twitter (@pflag) or Instagram (@pflag). 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Qiydaar Foster (he/him/his) is a Black Panamanian-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A cinephile since childhood, he eventually found his way to his true calling in feature and documentary filmmaking. He is particularly excited to partner with PFLAG National, the nation’s largest and oldest organization serving LGBTQ+ people, their families and allies, to bring the message of “Taking The Long Road Home” to Black families who are on a faith journey of LGBTQ+ affirmation.

ABOUT THE FILM SUBJECTS
Rev. Michael J. Crumpler (he/him/his) works as the LGBTQ and multicultural programs director at the Unitarian Universalist Association and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Michael lives in Brooklyn, NY and is very active in social justice ministry at the historic Judson Memorial Church of New York City, where he served as president of the board, (2016-2018). He is most passionate about intersectional ministry centered in Blackness, queerness, HIV/AIDS, economic justice, and emotional well-being. Michael has been published in two groundbreaking works related to HIV and AIDS, “OnCurating Issue 42: What You Don't Know About AIDS Could Fill a Museum” and “Spiritual Care in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter”.

Rev. Debra J. Hopkins (she/her/hers) is a Trans Woman of Color and the founding pastor of Essentials for Life Ministries, a non-denominational online ministry that puts emphasis on a liberation theology focused on social, political, and economic oppression, spiritual renewal and wholeness in a fragmented world. She’s the Author of “Not Until You Have Walked In My Shoes: A Journey of Discovery & The Spirit of the Human Heart”' available on Amazon.com, and the founder, president and CEO of There's Still Hope in Charlotte, N.C., a nonprofit organization that provides a transitional housing program for homeless transgender adults, trans victims of  domestic violence, and trans individuals released from incarceration. As an activist, Debra believes “words have POWER” and she believes we can all be a real “Voice for Change” through action, activism, and community involvement that will help put an end to the social and economic discrimination that's ever present in this country. Debra is the parent of three adult children and eight grandchildren.

Rev. Mykal Shannon (he/him/his) is a retired law enforcement sergeant who now resides in Asheboro, NC. He has been an activist representing a voice for marginalized communities and social injustices in the south, for more than 20 years.  He has also started his own fellowship, DYNAMIC FAITH MINISTRIES, that focuses on providing a safe space for those who have felt ostracized in other religious entities. He has served on many boards and been a collective part of a host of events that have represented the voice of change in our culture, and has recently joined the Poor People's Campaign, "A National Call for a Moral Revival," under the direction of Dr  William Barber and Dr. Liz Theo-Harris. Pastor Mykal is the author of "Trans Expressions, The Many Faces Of My FTM Journey”, and is also one of 4 trans clergy leaders in the PBS documentary “Proper Pronouns” by directors Meg Daniels and Manie  Robinson.

Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart (she/her/hers), a daughter of Detroit, is the Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. In this role, she works to strengthen the relationship between City Hall and Philadelphia’s diverse religious communities. Rev. Naomi is also an intergroup relations facilitator and adjunct professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University where she also directs the Villanova Gospel Choir and preaches in ecumenical worship services. Rev. Naomi serves on the boards of SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, The Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Family Pride. She is an advisor to Pride in the Pews and Many Voices, and is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In 2019, she was named one of 9 LGBTQ Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress and was included in The Root 100, an annual list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans, ages 25-45. In 2021, she was named one of “10 under 40 to Watch” by the Philadelphia Tribune. Rev. Naomi is proudly affiliated with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and is grounded in life and love by her wife, their teenager, and their family pets. 

Rev. Christine Y. Wiley, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is pastor Emerita of Covenant Baptist UCC in Washington DC. She has been a significant leader for justice in the Washington DC community and the country. Dr. Wiley serves as an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Social Work teaching in the M.Div./MSW program, and is the director of Pastoral Clinical Services, a counseling and consultation center. She provides consultation with churches, the academy, and government entities. She has three wonderful adult children and six adorable grandchildren. Her research interests are religion, spirituality, African American women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is Pastor Emeritus of the trailblazing Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, DC. A black liberation theologian, prominent civic activist, and gifted musician, he has rendered theological lectures and presentations throughout the nation, and has been published in several major religious books, magazines, and periodicals.  As a practical theologian devoted to bridging the gap between church, academy, and community, he is in the vanguard of African American clergy committed to both the particularity of black liberation and the universality of radical inclusion. His progressive ministry is a model for the effective integration of theory and praxis.

 

 

Laura McGinnis, Media Relations Manager
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