“I’m sorry I’m running late, church got out late,” Chris Weaver, also known as drag queen Nedra Belle, said as he entered the gay bar. He came straight from performing in two church services with the praise team to the gay bar for his weekly show Sermon.
“But you know black church,” he said, pouring his makeup bag all over the counter in an unused service area of the gay bar. “We always running late.”
Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., 29-year-old Chris Weaver says it was his godmother who first took him to church. “When I was about three, my godmother used to take me to church. I would come back and put on my dad’s shirt and preach the message we heard that day,” he said.
His mother, curious about her son’s infatuation with church, began to go and has gone ever since. Chris’ love for church only grew. His first job out of college was at a Des Moines, Iowa mega church with thirteen thousand members. Chris was a worship leader singing at multiple services each Sunday.
It was in Iowa that Chris grappled with, and eventually accepted, his sexuality. He quietly began to go to local gay bars, but his church soon found out. The megachurch was part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, a denomination which allows individual churches to be affirming of LGBTQ people. Unfortunately, his church was not. Read more via NBC