Allegheny County DA Candidate Turahn Jenkins Says LGBTQ People are Sinful

This afternoon, candidate Turahn Jenkins met with representatives from the LGBTQ community to discuss concerns about his affiliation with a church that has a stated belief that homosexuality is sinful. These concerns were part of a dialogue that took place earlier in the week on my Facebook timeline.

I’ve confirmed with four sources that Mr. Jenkins stated that he believes this to be true, that we are sinful. ‘We’ being gay and transgender people. I waited for multiple sources to confirm because I don’t want any one person to bear the burden of being disbelieved, targeted, or criticized.

I reached out to the campaign for comment. No official response as of yet.

Earlier in the week, Jenkins responded to concerns about his affiliation with an anti-LGBTQ church via Twitter

I don’t know what to say. Over the past 13 years, I’ve asked a lot of uncomfortable questions because of my gut feeling. This is one of those times when I feel horrified to have my suspicions confirmed. How could allies allow those specific LGBTQ people to walk into that meeting without warning them? It is like an ambush.

The fallout from this disclosure will have disparate impacts on the larger LGBTQ community and QTPOC in particular. There’s no good news here, just more trauma and pain at the hands of Christianity. And less opportunity to replace Zappala who himself needs to have this level of frank conversation with multiple communities.

Note that this election will take place in 2019. It is not part of the 2018 election cycle. There is time for other candidates to declare.

Let’s be clear – you can’t hold the belief that LGBTQ people are sinful by nature and be an effective elected official. You can’t duhumanize people and then serve them justice. Take a look at my earlier post, Why Campaign Staff & Supporters Have to Ask Hard Questions About Religious Liberty and LGBTQ Identity, for more on how to prevent this trauma moving forward.

Updated to reflect the date of the next election for the office of District Attorney of Allegheny County.

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