Archbishop Carl Bean dies aged 77

Archbishop Carl Bean singer of gay pride anthem I Was Born This Way has passed away

Carl Bean, the US gospel artist and minister who sang the gay pride anthem I Was Born This Way, has died aged 77.

A statement from the Unity Fellowship Church Movement, a church for Black LGBTQ+ worshippers founded by Bean, said he “made transition into eternal life” following a lengthy illness.

A charismatic figure who attracted legions of gay and straight supporters, Bean was well-known in Los Angeles for establishing Unity Fellowship Church of Christ (UFC) in 1982 and implementing the Minority AIDS Project (MAP) in 1985, which was the first organization of its kind started during a period when the disease was relatively new.

Unity Fellowship, often noted as the first Black church for LGBTQ persons, has grown to more than 17 affiliates in the U.S. and the Caribbean. MAP, which still operates in South L.A. serving more 1,500 people a year, offers prevention, care and treatment services for low-income African American and Latino individuals at a high risk or living with the HIV/AIDS virus.

“I will never forget to go to the Brotherhood Crusades office in Lawson and ask for a visit with Mr. Bakewell,” Bean recalls. “Mr. Bakewell’s door was a little open, and when I heard the words HIV and AIDS, he came out and told me to put me in Brenda. Brenda then told me, It requires God’s intervention and God’s will. Meet Mr. Bakewell on the street. “

He also founded Minority Aids Project in 1985, which offers care and treatment for low-income Black and Latino HIV and Aids sufferers in Los Angeles.

An intersection in the city was renamed Archbishop Carl Bean Square in 2019. In 2010, he published a memoir, I Was Born This Way.

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