All Articles Tagged "black gays"
(TheLoop21) — A couple of Fridays ago, I was on my couch reading a novel when my cell phone started buzzing. Friends around the country were texting heartfelt messages congratulating New York for becoming the sixth state in the United States to pass a gay marriage bill into law. My response to the news was an audible “meh,” and I returned to my book. My ambivalence about gay marriage is an echo of things past and reflects an unexpressed feeling that, as a gay woman of color, I am still separate from the larger collective of gay people often featured as the face of the movement. On June 25, the day after the gay marriage bill passed in New York, many of the celebration photos posted on television news programs and on the Internet showed ecstatic, glowing white faces. A perusal of the background of these images showed a scant smattering of brown faces among the crowd. Being part of a minority group—black lesbians—I felt even farther away from what was a genuine political victory for the larger gay community.
(Black Enterprise) — Sabin D. Blake, 34, has navigated the professional obstacles of being African American and gay throughout his career. Blake, a dealer organizational manager, Northeast region, for General Motors Corp., is no longer in the closet. That hasn’t always been the case though; for years, he lived a double life using non-gender specific pronouns such as “they” to describe individuals he has dated during casual conversations with colleagues. “Being a double minority you choose what you present. I could hide being gay, I definitely couldn’t hide being black,” says Blake who kept his sexual orientation hidden for several reasons including fear for his personal safety. “I had these relationships with people where I would be going to dinner with their families. I was involved in their lives but I wasn’t being who I really was.” Once keeping the secret became too disheartening, Blake made the decision to gradually reveal his sexual orientation to fellow GM employees and business associates. “It was hurtful not being authentic. And my energy was being sucked away,” he says. But each time he told someone he was gay it became easier for him. “It freed me. It allowed me to be more productive, more creative, and more innovative at work,” he says.
(Project Q) — When Atlanta blogger Darian Aaron decided a year ago to take a respite from his popular blog,Living Out Loud, he wanted to focus his writing on a decidedly different format: a coffee table book. The book explores black LGBT issues by profiling 18 same-sex couples of color. With “When Love Takes Over: A Celebration of SGL Couples of Color” now out, Aaron is back to crafting new content for Living Out Loud. But he won’t promise his audience daily updates – there is a fulltime job and partner to attend to, after all. We recently caught up with Aaron, just a day after putting his hands on “When Love Takes Over” for the first time, and chatted about the blog, the book and what his day-to-day life is like now.
(AOL Black Voices) — In the two-plus weeks since Don Lemon announced he is gay in tandem with the release of his new memoir, ’Transparent,’ the CNN anchor has received both kudos and criticism. The praise is geared toward the courage it took to openly embrace his homosexuality as a public figure. The criticism lies mainly with the language Lemon used in his announcement. Lemon told the ‘New York Times’, where the news of his announcement first broke: “It’s quite different for an African-American male…It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” Lemon also mentioned black women specifically, expressing his concern “that black women will say the same things [about me being gay] as they do about how black men should be dating black women.” We spoke to Lemon recently about those comments and his perspective on homosexuality in the black community, how life has changed since becoming an openly gay public figure and the women who still have a crush on him.
Jozen Cummings: How long did you know you were gay before you came out so publicly?
DL: I say in the book, I’ve always known I was gay. I think the exact quote in the book is, “Since I was knee high to a duck I’ve always known I was gay.” I had crushes on boys – it wasn’t in a sexual way, because kids aren’t that way, they don’t really know, they just know they have a crush on someone. I don’t remember the first person I came out to, but I didn’t come out to my mom until I was 30 years old.
When I first heard about, then subsequently read the letter, written by Dr. Robert Franklin, president of Morehouse College, to his alumni about the forthcoming Mean Girls of Morehouse story, featured in this month’s Vibe Magazine, I kind of understood where he was coming from.
A story centered on the year-old Appropriate Attire Policy, instituted by the 143-year old all male institution, seemed likely to fan the flames of the gay rights movement. After reading the actual article, and then Dr. Franklin’s letter again, I am definitely convinced that there is something more happening, which needs to be addressed.
If you haven’t read the piece, the article highlighted a few Morehouse students, known sort of affectionately as the Plastics (hence the Mean Girls reference), who represent the small gay and gender-bending group on the University’s campus. These students’ preference for heels, makeup and expensive handbags has put them at odds with the recently instituted dress policy, which among other things, bans the wearing of feminine clothing like dresses, tunics, purses and high heeled pumps.
After much public outcry, Dr. Franklin and his staff defended the policy with claims that it was intended to produce leaders like Martin Luther King, Samuel Jackson and Spike Lee. Interesting considering that the only three things the they have in common are that they are male, graduates of Morehouse and apparently straight. However, Morehouse College is a private educational institution and it reserves the right to set the kind of standards that it feels is proper for the students in attendance.
Yet I still can’t help but think that Dr. Franklin, the staff and some of the student body are totally missing out on what could be a valuable teachable moment. As an institution of higher learning, which prides itself on building leaders, I find it odd that the College is pushing for a dress policy, which only seeks to reinforce the strict and narrow definitions of manhood.
As the University’s vice president of student affairs believed that the issue centers exclusively around “five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men,” the message is clear: it is more important that men adhere to hyper-masculine representations of manhood, without giving credence to the overall character development of these young men on the inside.
Instead of focusing on how we could get these gender-bending men to follow the pack, a more appropriate approach could have been to have open campus-wide dialog on the strict codes of masculinity and show these future leaders that there are many ways to be a man. The rules of masculinity are not only tough on young men, who are gay, but also young men, including the non-athletic, the creative and the financial challenged, who simply don’t fit the traditional mold of manhood.
Much like all-women colleges and universities, which encourages women to explore and challenge all aspects of femininity, all-men colleges and universities, should also be providing the same safe environment for all of its young student body. Whether its gender bending or some other shallow reference to manhood (such as baggy jeans and doo-rags, which the University has also banned), I think that it is important that young men feel supported, acknowledged and valued, without criticism, or insecurity.
Perhaps this change of approach could have spared Gregory Love, a Morehouse man, who was savagely beaten with an aluminum baseball bat by fellow student Aaron Price, who didn’t take too kindly to the apparent sexual attention from Love. Perhaps if Price would have been properly guided by the elders on campus to not feel threatened or emasculated by attention from the same sex, Price would have been prepared to deal with the countless other “differences” in this grand universe.
As my mother – and father – used to tell me, it’s not so much about what you wear, but the person that resides underneath. And while I strongly believe that manhood and womanhood are both social constructs, I do believe that a real man can be defined as being responsible, having good character and showing kindness and compassion to others, which are ironically all the markers of a good human being – regardless of gender.