Jermaine Lee

Program Manager of Behavioral Intervention, PowerHouse Project (Charlotte, NC)

God was my first love and for me right around 15 or 16, I feel like that was really my first break-up. God and I broke up. Because I realized this part of me isn’t going anywhere and if my being gay is something that the God of my understanding cannot accept, then we can’t be together.

Jermaine grew up in Florida attending a Caribbean Apostolic Church.

Deeply devoted to his pastor and the circle of men who embraced him early on, he spent years struggling with the homophobic messages that he often heard during service.

By the age of 12, he felt like he was living a double life, closeting himself so that he could be immersed in the faith experience that he so adored. Just a few years later, he left the church, because he felt rejected by God and his ministry.

Jermaine subsequently embarked upon an intensive study of Biblical scripture, as well as traditional African religions that honor gay and transgender people. Through it all, he found his self-worth and in his 20′s joined a church that welcomes gay and transgender congregants. He describes the years where he stopped attending church as difficult and heartbreaking.