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Community Interview: Angela Green

 


  

Community Interview: Angela Green

Community Interview from the Black Trans Advocacy Conference 2016 with Angela Green, Director of Health Promotion Programs at AIDS Project of the East Bay.

 

How would you describe your spiritual or philosophical perspective?

I hate religion, but I love Jesus.

How has your spiritual or philosophical perspective evolved over time, and what kinds of opportunities and challenges do you think changed your current perspective?

I grew up in a very religious household, though not dogmatic. My father was my friend. I loved music, he loved music. He was a jazz musician back in the 1940s.

Even though we were in the church my father was very lenient about what we did in music and because of my situation and because of what I was experiencing and going through as a youth music became first my refuge and then it became my salvation. Either through playing records in my room or sitting down at the piano or the organ or directing a choir even in all of that it was my refuge.

When I transitioned I could hide when they thought I was a gay male but once I transitioned that was all robbed from me initially and so I was devastated because my spirituality and my relationship with God was very important to me and so I didn't have the maturity at that time to realize that it was still there you know, I could still rely upon it. So I was listening to people and being brainwashed to believe that I was something deviant that was gunna burn in some god forsaken hell.

Then when I thought I had reached my lowest point emotionally it all came back to me I just decided to pray. I found out that the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me is being thrown out of that being tossed and shunned from religion or the Church of God In Christ that’s when I found my true freedom in God was when I was free from that.

How does your philosophical or spiritual perspective support your work in the world?

Wow. I started out in nursing. I went to undergraduate and got my BSN in Nursing and for a few years I was a nurse and then HIV hit. It was GRID at the time: Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome then it turned into HIV. I was one of the ones to volunteer because people didn't wanna work with those patients. You know, you had to put on protective clothing and put on a mask, and gloves. So I started out with that then I went to work for a black physician in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and worked in private practice. He had some patients who were, and this was in the black community in the early 80s, who had HIV - among other things, it was a community clinic.

But then I had a first cousin who came down with HIV and AIDS. When he passed away in 1995, the church refused to allow his body into the church. And it was a church my aunt had gone to her entire adult life. She was a very dedicated member. The pastor was very adamant "you're not going to let that gay boy in here who has that punished ...he got what he deserved."

And so that devastated me and it devastated my aunt. When you have to carry a body around to find a church to have the funeral in that made up my mind to go back to Graduate school I wanted to do something more so I went back and got my Masters in Public Health and my concentration was Infectious Disease and it was HIV and AIDS and I've been working in it ever since. And so part of the work I do now that I'm Director of Health Services for a clinic in Oakland, California and so one of the things that I do with patients, clients, because most of our patients and clients are HIV positive is help them reconnect spiritually and help them reclaim what was robbed from them. Our agency is unapologetically  black and for gay people or LGBT or trans whatever you fall within that spectrum - our spirituality is such an important part of who we are.

I’ve always said that gospel music is the blues of gay people and so I use that in my work and my work is my ministry and my work is my calling.

 

 

  

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