Mother, son team unleash a new voice in the black LGBTQ community

Gwendolyn Clemons makes her own affirmations. She writes and hangs daily post its to remind her to keep reaching for her goals.

 

Mother and son duo, Gwendolyn and Davin Clemons, created the Unleashed brand to help members of the LGBTQ community by giving healthy relationship advice, building self esteem and awareness, and discussing issues related to their community.

Gwendolyn and Davin are both black and identify as same gender loving. They said they saw a need for a voice in the black, gay community. Gwendolyn said that while there are organizations in the white community funneling information and services, it wasn’t always reaching the black gay community.

Gwendolyn said, “Instead of complaining, let’s do something about it. Let’s start our own, not to

compete, but just to make sure that the services are well rounded.”

The black LGBTQ community, according to Gwendolyn, wasn’t taking advantage of the organizations and services being offered in Memphis because they didn’t feel included and that the services weren’t directed toward them.

She said that the black LGBTQ community didn’t feel included because there weren’t enough black representatives.

“We do have cultural differences,” Gwendolyn said. “We have a really dynamic cultural difference, but it’s okay to be different. It doesn’t mean one thing is better than the other one. We just have different cultures.”

One of the biggest parts of black culture is the community’s ties to spirituality. Gwendolyn and Davin are both pastors in their church, the Cathedral of Praise. Their church is an all-inclusive place of worship and is welcomes members of the LGBTQ community. This is where their work began.

“Actually we were going to start a ministry, but we didn’t want to disrupt the dynamics of the church,” Gwendolyn said.

Gwendolyn and Davin started the foundation for the Unleashed Brand by counseling and teaching relationship workshops for the church. She said that when they decided to start Relationships Unleashed, they didn’t want the church to feel like they were going out on their own.

When the duo started the Unleashed Voice radio show on KWAM 990, Davin said they had to break down the spiritual stigmas that are placed on those who identify as LGBTQ.

“Spirituality has such a strong hold on the heterosexual community and the same gender loving and gay community, so we had to break that wall and that stigma down,” Davin said. “When we first started the radio show, we just kept pounding on religion because we knew that it is so oppressive when it’s used in the wrong way.”

Now the Unleashed brand is about to release a magazine, which will also be geared towards the LGBTQ community. With a non-profit, a radio show and a magazine, Gwendolyn and Davin hope to help those who feel neglected come out and become part of the community.

“We aim at targeting that voice that’s unheard in the community,” Davin said.

 

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About the Author

Kelsey Giliam
Being a 901 native, I love all things Memphis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know all about my city or the people who live here. This semester I will be covering the LGBTQ community, and I hope to give our readers a clearer picture of the people and issues of the community. When I’m not writing for the Mirror, I’m a senior in the U of M department of journalism and work at a senior living community and Tsunami in midtown.

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