Tag Archives: homophobia

Tuesday

RIPMark

“What do you need?”

It’s an awkward question. I don’t get asked it often enough to have answers ready either.

When I first heard of Mark Carson’s murder I instantly got a migraine. Not because I was still intoxicated and processing the events of the night before. Nor was it because I work right there and that could’ve been me. I saw his picture and knew this would become something more than I was psychologically prepared to deal with at the moment.

The first internal email came late Saturday afternoon. The troops were being gathered. We were going to march and rally to condemn this unspeakable violence. And I make a horrible company man.

The news started blowing up on social media. “A gay man was killed in cold blood? In the heart of Greenwich Village? This still happens in NYC in 2013?”

Newsflash everyone: the Village doesn’t belong to the queers any more, especially Black gay men. The Hangar is still there, but the neighborhood looks vastly different since I was an undergrad ten years ago. Between the new residents who despise the youth of color, annoying tourists and increased police presence, I try to get out of there as soon as I clock out.

Speaking of police why would I want to mourn the death of another Black gay man with a woman who endorses a policy that disproportionally affects Black/brown men and LGBTQ people of color? And it’s complicated; I love Christine Quinn. I actually like Bloomberg too, but I’m in the habit of letting people know what’s working for me and what isn’t.

The first interview I saw with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly seemed suspect to me. I’ve never seen the NYPD so quick to call an incident a hate crime. He almost seemed happy. Anything that calls for more police excites him. More police is the last thing I need right now.

By the time they started promoting the rally publicly, the peanut gallery was already fighting. “Despite what most think of Christine and her political bullshit tonight is not the night to attack her in any way. Please tonight is not the night. We need to unite and show up.”

Well when is a good time to have a more nuanced conversation?

I wanted to have one earlier in the year when Jabbar Campbell was beat by police in his own apartment, but no one wanted to have one then either. Isn’t this groupthink/no dissenting opinions BS the same thing that gets us in trouble every time there’s a terrorist attack? Have we not learned anything from that false claim of weapons of mass destruction?

By the time Loreal texted me I had an even bigger headache so I decided to stay home Monday. Unfortunately that didn’t make me feel any better.

I had to go to the supermarket to get bread. The (Black male) cashier doubled charged me for my peanut butter and I didn’t want to go back to complain. Disillusioned and uninterested, he clearly doesn’t like his job. On the corner the Negroes were taking about the usual bullshit (“ruthless mafia niggas” and such). I wanted to slam my groceries to the concrete and scream, “A man was killed Friday night. A gay Black man that lives up here. This isn’t Scarface you idiots!” Truth be told, it was just another afternoon in Harlem.

Darian asked where the LGBT people of color were. There’s an article on Mused Magazine with one comment. If it was a story about Beyonce or tops vs. bottoms there would be dozens. I suppose that’s better than Discreet City cracking jokes?

And I get it. I don’t condone any of it, but I get it. People handle stress in different ways.

Today on Facebook Persian sex master (who’s a counselor) asked for resources for talking to African American teens about internalized racism. I wanted to say, “Tell them to forget about it and if they’re brave enough, just get it over with now. Even if you get past all the internalized stuff, you’ll wake up in a country that wasn’t made for you. And it just gets harder to take as you get older because your resources will diminish.”

I hate when I get like this…all Dark Phoenix; kill, kill, kill, burn it all to the ground. And it happens more often than I like to admit.

I had to curse White Wifey out. She’s been begging for a date since she returned to NYC and I just don’t have time. “You’re smart, beautiful and you have a vagina. You shouldn’t be this pressed.” (aka leave me the fuck alone).

She got off nicely. I also cursed out my niece who has been texting me incessantly since Mother’s Day. She recently got an iPod touch and is out of school for the moment. “Go play with your little sister. Your mother spent thousands of dollars (and ruined this family) to have her so you wouldn’t be alone, go play with her.” She lamented: she wants a younger brother and prefers to hang out with teenagers. She’ll be fine: she was institutionalized a few months ago with a mood disorder and is so doped up on Abilify she won’t be giving anyone any trouble anytime soon. Besides, she’s not even eleven and is already over 200lbs. If she’s fat and ugly I don’t have to worry about her having sex in middle school and it buys me some time. I can’t fly across the country to give “the bird and the bees” talk, I have bigger fish to fry right now:

Like my loans
Or grant writing (cause these social workers don’t know how to do anything other than talk about their feelings)
Or saving this city from HIV

Speaking of HIV, another White friend who lives roughly six blocks from where Mark Carson was murdered was upset because I had to cancel on him too. I had to explain what happened.

“Wow. That’s really sad.”

Did he not hear all the queers marching down the street Monday night? Even being HIV positive, White privilege is a beautiful thing; you can just ignore things/problems you don’t deem applicable and carry on. Must be nice.

“What do you need?”

The question actually came up a few weeks ago. After we saw Iron Man 3, another female friend asked me how my father was doing. I completely forgot I told her months ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I often forget who I tell what these days. I would never unload everything on one person (like people often do to me). That would be unfair.

Truth is I need a lot:

I need a real vacation. The staycation was great but clearly not enough.

I need $150 to pay for associated costs related to this blog.

I need everyone to stop calling about their bullshit relationship problems.

I really needed Christina to tour this year. Desperately. She looks great though.

I need to write about Charles Ramsey, Jason Collins, Mr. Cee and everything else that has been going on lately.

I need to finish my damn thesis.

I need to drink less. All it’s led to is crying in front of people uncontrollably and that can’t happen again.

I need White people to be more aware of minority stress.

I also don’t have time to explain to them who Lena Horne or Eartha Kitt are.

I need to prepare to be the only Black person on staff again (whose job isn’t tied to a mop and bucket) and the stress that will undoubtedly bring.

I need a new primary care physician so I can get checked out for hypertension and find out more about my cancer risk.

I need us to be able to have an intelligent, elevated conversation about race and how it complicates issues like gun violence, hate crimes, etc. Cause you know, the data shows LGBT people of color disproportionally face more violence.

I need people to stop freaking out when I say things like that. It’s not the Oppression Olympics, it’s the facts Jack.

I need the media to plaster Elliot Morales’ mug shot anywhere and everywhere like they do when a Black man is accused of any crime.

I need people to stop pretending like this isn’t about gender presentation and higher standards of Black masculinity. When Mark’s friends remember him as “fabulous” we all know what that means.

BTW, I don’t need stories about Mark being harassed at his job by homophobic customers. I need to know what his favorite color was.

Mark deserves better than this.
Sakia Gunn deserves better than this.

Everyone killed by hate deserves better than this!

They deserve allies that are not only committed to the work but know what is really going on and how we got here in the first place. Complicated problems need complicated and coordinated solutions.

What do I need?

Honestly, I really just need a moment. A moment to take a breath: to reflect, to regroup. Another sex master quit her job a few months ago. She cares so much it was consuming her. She was so over it she threw her hands up and hibernated. She gets to play with babies and her dog and other happy things now. I wish I could do that.

Ultimately that’s why I didn’t go to the rally Monday night. Not because of politics, not because of any particular beef. I knew Tuesday, when the dust settled; when the barricades were removed and everyone went back to their lives I would have to return to the front lines for the next LGBT person who needed help. I called my sister, wished her a happy birthday, hung out with Loreal one last time before she goes to do HIV prevention work in Africa for two months and went to bed. I need all the rest I can get.

Because the struggle continues.

Quotes of the Week: Special Frank Ocean Edition

Ill Doctrine: Frank Ocean’s Independence Day from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.

I have experienced this. And I have loved him.
Jay Smooth (Animal/Ill Doctrine)

Frank Ocean is triflin! He was trying to take that girl’s man.
As told to Pharaohc1ous

I thought Ocean might just be playing with characters when I first heard his songs using male pronouns. In a sense, he is — but in the same way that anyone on the down low does. The character you create may be your own tragically false self.
Ann Powers (NPR)

Being gay in the black community is still frowned on. The black community has a lot of growing to do. We really really do.
The Skorpion Kevin Simmons via Twitter

At least Frank Ocean had the courage to come out. You’d be surprised, some of these rappers are so far in the closet they’re in Narnia.
Novel via Twitter (and he would know!)

I commend Frank Ocean for coming out and saying it, but it’s not a first because there’s plenty of black male gay singers. Even when they don’t admit it, you kind of know. If you heard somebody like… I don’t want to say a name, because people will talk… but like somebody in the Wu-Tang Clan or something, if they came out then that would be groundbreaking. That would be totally challenging.
color Chuck D unimpressed

The glory of Ocean’s “coming out,” is that he never used the words “gay” or “bisexual.” The New Orleans native only described love between two people. His choice of language was paramount: Sexual orientation must be acknowledged beyond the labels and above the groin.
Clay Cane (HuffPost Gay Voices)

There is “coming out” and there is “I love this man.”

The former allows heterosexuals to feel good about themselves; it creates space, otherness, between “straight” love and “gay” or “queer” love; it maintains the status quo.

The latter, meanwhile, is a declarative statement devoid of labels. It is expression. It is — to sound slightly trite — a human thing to say. Love is love; there is no otherness; the status quo is threatened, if not outright attacked.

There is no shame in declaring one’s love for another.
Mensah Demary (Thought Catalog)

Frank Ocean gay, this nigga gettin endorsements, more sales, etc. Bitch! Only thing I got when I came out was condoms & HIV brochures.
AmazinXai with a good point

Peace to Frank Ocean and all of us trying to be fully self actualized and free.
Josie Pickens via Twitter

Every single one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart. Frank just found his.
Russell Simmons (Global Grind)

My son is brave and honest and I am very proud of him. I wish more people in the world could be brave enough to be who they really are.
Frank’s mom Katonya Breaux Riley via Twitter

But you’re not an activist. You’re a Black man in America whose star is on the rise, working in hip-hop and soul, where gender constructs are cartoonishly fixed.
dream hampton (Life and Times)

People must come to recognize that gay and bisexual people also have hearts, emotions, relationships that are just as significant as anyone else’s. I hate that we still have to fight to get folks to see that in 2012…
Jamilah Lemieux (Ebony.com)

The courage he displayed in his beautiful and eloquent letter was touching on many levels. Frank broke down a wall that should never have been built. The overwhelming show of support from his peers was awesome and inspiring. Island Def Jam is so proud to stand beside Frank Ocean — the artist and man — now and always.
Island Def Jam President Joie Manda

Hopefully, in the wake of his letter, the urban community will fully embrace Ocean for his honesty and bravery. It’s impossible he’s alone.
Gerrick D. Kennedy (LA Times)

The world accepted R. Kelly after peeing on a little girl.
The world accepted Chris Brown after beating on his girlfriend Rihanna.
Will we accept Frank Ocean after him writing about his first love being a man?
Wes (AconnectionTV)

You never lose when you live your truth.
Charlamagne Tha God (power 105.1 The Breakfast Club)

Spotlight: Youth Pride Chorus

Youth Pride Chorus.jpg

You know what’s better than Glee?
The real thing.

Youth Pride Chorus (YPC), part of the LGBT Center’s Youth Enrichment Services (YES) programming here in New York City is one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed.

We take for granted even today, many kids get kicked out of their home simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. And with youth coming out younger and younger, many of these kids end up on the street. Even worse, with the budget crisis affecting municipalities across the country, LGBT youth are often a population thrown under the bus.

Although my parents were never really there for me emotionally, thank God I always had the basics (roof over my head, clothes, food). I can’t imagine being homeless at fifteen. It takes a lot of courage to stay positive with so much to deal with.

Under the leadership of Wes Webb (artistic director), Matthew Fetbrandt (music director) and YES staff members, the kids put on two major concerts a year as well as special performances around the city. It’s an intervention really; they get to socialize, learn leadership skills and obtain the social support many of them don’t get from their families.

I fondly remember my time in band in junior high and high school. I played the clarinet (womp womp) and it was one of my favorite classes as a young adult.

The performances are a mix of classic and current pop, rock and folk songs. YPC also has the distinction of performing my favorite cover of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful. I saw it in person and was in tears. It’s no coincidence the song was recently named the most empowering song of the last ten years, according to a poll conducted by Stonewall, an organization striving for LGB equality. You can check out the performance below.

I’m so proud of “the baby gays.” For more information on YPC, check out their facebook page. And if you’re able to, please donate to YPC and help support the next generation of LGBT superstars.

Band-Aid on a Gunshot Wound

Empowering young people (and all ages actually) to think positively about sex and in a way that benefits oneself, would help people to negotiate what they do and how they do it more safely and sanely… Encouraging people to care more for themselves will decrease their choice to have risky sex across the board, as well as increase their willingness to seek testing and treatment.
StevieWe’re Still Here

A few months ago, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) debuted a campaigned attempting to convince more gay/bisexual men to use condoms. The graphic print and TV ad: It’s Never Just HIV pissed a lot of people off.

No seriously, some folks are really upset. There’s even a petition to stop it. Haven’t seen it yet? Feel free to watch below (viewer discretion is advised).

Yeah, not for the faint of heart. The ad is stigmatizing, misleading and previous research has shown using fear in public health campaigns such as this does not change behavior.

I did want to offer some key context I think has been missing from the conversation thus far:

All the DOHMH campaigns are negative this “season”
They didn’t just throw the gays under the bus, check out their campaigns to get New Yorkers to stop smoking and eat healthier:

DOH smoking.jpg

Ugh. I can’t begin to tell you how nauseating it is to see these around town (especially after I’ve had lunch!).

DOHMH has run positive ads before. This bulletin even has a good amount of LGBT representation. But they’ve decided to play disappointed parent this year.

Public health is broken
I know it’s stating the obvious, but bear with me.

News flash: When it comes to health care in the United States demand far outweighs the supply. Not only are many people uninsured, but state and city budgets are being slashed. Nothing seems to be working and agencies are getting desperate.

We’ve banned smoking in almost every part of NYC and people continue to kill themselves (and everyone around them) with nicotine.

Obesity has been linked to all sorts of health ills (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, etc.) yet people continue to eat crap.

And we continue to throw condoms at people (there’s even an app for that!) and the rates of HIV continue to rise, especially in young gay/bisexual men of color. It’s a crisis on all fronts. We’ve put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound and the system isn’t going to sustain itself for much longer. The DOHMH has no problem using homophobia, stigma and other graphic images if they think it will get people to take better care of themselves.

It’s the Poverty Stupid!
You don’t have to give me the “sociologist speech” (the isms that rule our world: racism, classism, sexism, etc. are to blame here). Having worked to combat HIV/AIDS for over eight years as a black gay man myself, I get it both personally and professionally.
People smoke because it calms them down and makes them feel better (and if everyone had access to mental health services maybe less people would smoke).

Food desserts exist, even here in NYC where it’s hard to get healthy food around your neighborhood. And if you do have access, it’s probably expensive.

There are many reasons why people have unprotected sex: not just because they don’t have condoms readily available.

Personal responsibly alone won’t fix these problems. I’m just thinking I’m not going to hold my breath and wait for my government to have my back. Maybe I’m cynical about these sorts of things?

Lived experience trumps public service announcements (PSAs)

At the end of the day social marketing campaigns can’t validate people who already are invalided in their day-to-day experiences. Visibility is important, I’ll be the first one to preach that. But if I’m HIV positive and people discriminate me at my job, online or at school because of it, seeing Derrick and Jaszi make out on my way to the subway isn’t going to (long term) make me feel better about my situation.

Speaking of adorable Jaszi, check out this other campaign: We’re Still Here by hivstopswithme.org (with can also be seen around NYC).

It’s sad to think this sort of campaign is needed in today’s world, but it is. The larger conversation here needs to be around how we treat one another as people and how that effects the decisions we make: sexual health and otherwise.

The real question is not “How do we get gay/bisexual men to use protection more?” but “What circumstances lead people to not use condoms consistently in the first place?” It seems small, but the shift could make all the difference.

This should be our focus moving forward.

Quotes of the Week – Ending 1.2.11

Lost my phone last night! If you find it, that’s not my penis. I was just holding it for a friend.
kassemg via Twitter

(coworker yelling)
You don’t steal a fat girl’s cookies. Especially when she’s stressed out!
Oh honey I know, I learned the hard way.

I bet she doesn’t give him any pussy for at least a month after this.
commenter bitch PLEASE – Katy Perry is an Angel of the Morning (Superficial)

Who fellates cotton candy?
I know a few people Anthony F. Coleman

Girl at the gay club was crying in the corner and when we asked if she was ok she said, “My husband is making out with a guy on the stage.”
Nanooboy via Twitter

Wouldn’t you know it: I get the scanner again and the girl flirts as she selects me. Loves the tattoo on my stomach, she saw it as I lifted my belt.
Steve Pena getting molested by the TSA

I wonder how she’s gonna react the first time she sees us fuck. Is she gonna think daddy is hurting daddy?
Brent Everett gets a chihuahua

What do you call it when your mother’s sister stops blowing you right before you’re about to ejaculate? Aunticlimactic!
The Fat Jew via Twitter

Stripped by Christina Aguilera is the best CD to listen to when you get high.
It’s pretty good sober too ralphfv

Why are some of these southern boys cute but not too bright?
You tell me Kevin

If someone says “no homo,” is that offensive towards gay people?
You’ve got to be kidding me Reggie Bush!

The Wikileaks situation is now firmly centered in personalities rather than issues like everything else in our inch-deep culture.
Dave Goodchild via Twitter

Suicide is a way of telling God, “You can’t fire me, I quit.”
jsmith189 via Twitter

Chris Brown needs a mentor, or a MADE coach or something.
Urban Prince via Twitter

Maybe you’ll work harder if I start ignoring you again.
Derrick L. Briggs may be on to something

Politics is like a relationship with a man. You don’t give him all your time, all your money and all your support and ask for nothing in return.
Rod McCullom via Twitter

It is difficult to establish equality at a systemic level when internalized inequality is embedded in collective consciousness.
Cynthia Ryals via Twitter

Fake friends are like shadows, always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour.
yung_freshh via Twitter

Hey I have an idea: How about for 2011 we do what we actually say? Just a thought!
Michael Miles via Twitter

The more you know, the more you don’t care.
ShawnQT via Twitter

Honestly, I just need to marry rich, get a G650, take a couple years and see the world.
Mr. Jones via Twitter
(cosign)

Good guys deserve a break too.
Amen Trent Jackson

Why This Whole Chris Brown Thing Is A Joke

ChrisTwit1.jpg


Remorseful McGee

The Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence incident was the biggest teachable moment in Black American sexuality in 2009 and we failed miserably. Yes, we all failed: the music industry, the fans and Chris himself.

The ensuing aftermath was the best opportunity to have a honest conversation about race and gender relations in the United States. Almost two years later, not only did that not happen but Chris’s recent “Twitter fight” with former B2K member RazB proved he hasn’t learned much since the incident. Let’s examine some of what went wrong:

Continue reading Why This Whole Chris Brown Thing Is A Joke

Quotes of the Week – Ending 10.3.10

I hate when Asians play dumb.
Urban Prince via Twitter

Oh hell nawww!

comment below if you think he’s sexy, if not
…then FUCK YOU!
1on1 with Adam Irby (YoBoiNewnue)

I saw the devil last night and it was good. everyone should go see it!!!
ralphfv via Twitter
(I think he meant the movie Devil…lol)

I’ll be your bad friend, but I refuse to be your fat friend.
White Girl Problems via Twitter

A ugly girl will fuck the shit out of your man when you’re not looking.
ImInappropriate via Twitter

If I meet one more bottom that pees siting down…
D0wJ0nEs via Twitter

I love dribbling…not down my chin, but with the ball.
*gasp*
basketball humor courtesy of John Amaechi

Terry McMillan’s gaydar is the beta version.
PrettyBrownGirl via Twitter

It’s stupid ass DL/married dudes that are giving us garden variety gays a bad name.
Patrik-Ian Polk via Twitter

A paper cut is a tree’s last revenge.
PeterGriffinn via Twitter

Sarah Palin is sitting stage right. Lady, let go of your politics for one night already!
Dancing with the Stars commentary by Erik

In anticipation of gay days, Disneyland renames ride to Butt Pirates of the Caribbean.
Jeremy via Twitter

Treat your website like your pussy…it needs to smell fresh an do more tricks than the next bish.
Kitty Bradshaw via Twitter

Organized religion: Where misogyny, homophobia, sexual predation, hatred, exclusion, hypocrisy, and civil unrest happen.
Mr. Jones via Twitter

People are bombarded with misinformation day in and day out.
Cornel West via Twitter

Knowing that I’m crazy keeps me sane.
Scrivs via Twitter

There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.
The Quote Whore via Twitter

You can have it all. Just not all at once.
Oprah

Quotes of the Week – Ending 9.26.10

A female coworker yesterday said men don’t lotion as often as women do. I disagreed. Men use plenty of lotion. Trust me.
Mr. Jones via Twitter

NO!!! Not on my Martha Stewart sheets!

I just saved a ton of money on child support by switching to condoms.
overheard by LuvliiYPosh

Ashton Kutcher was bound to get tired of that 50 year old snatch. Why is Demi surprised?
jamz via Twitter

You ever watch a nipple get hard?
Urban Prince via Twitter

If you’re going to send naked pics to my email make sure they are appeasing to my eyes.
Kevin Simmons via Twitter

There’s no place warmer than the back of my throat.
online profile

I’ll eat anything, as long as it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie, sugar-free and organic.
whitegirlproblems via Twitter

So we’re not gonna discuss Angelo’s mail-order bride?
Top Chef reunion commentary by Karsh

Gays are the most powerful beings to ever walk the Earth; by simply being they can destroy marriages, the military…society itself.
Muscle Law via Twitter

Facebook is down. Not sure if we did that, but we should claim credit anyway. Hitting the infidels where it hurts, etc.
Al-Qaeda via Twitter

Saddam Hussein had a yacht, it’s named “ocean breeze”…you’d think he’d name it something more intimidating like “infidel tide.”
Betsy Dorsett via Twitter

Oh man I saw my first real live ankle bracelet person. Does that mean they’re bad?
ilikejoaquin via Twitter
(ankle bracelet person? really?)

Is Diddy’s train ever gonna get to Paris?
PrettyMikey via Twitter

I renamed my iPhone to ‘The Titanic’. Each time I connect it to iTunes, I see “The Titanic is syncing!
overheard by Jacob Cass

Most of the laugh tracks you hear on television were recorded in the 1950s, which means a lot of the people you hear laughing are dead.
DebbieDowner ralphfv

I’m no where near a gold digger. But I’m not fuckin’ with you if you can’t buy dinner and at least three Patron Margaritas.
Trent Jackson via Twitter
(cosign)

Growing up, I was always told to be honest with others. As I grew up, I noticed honesty isn’t something that people wanted. So I’d lie.
Ryan Drake via Twitter

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

Why settle for a couple of days of fun when you can live everyday in perfect bliss?
Trent Jackson via Twitter

When Comedians Become Medical Experts

(An open letter to Barbara Walters)

Dear Ms. Walters,

Hi, my name is Tony. I have a background in journalism, but have been doing social science based HIV/AIDS research for the last seven years (mainly concerning gay/bisexual men of color). Making sure accurate and current information about sexuality reaches the general public is so important to me I am pursuing a masters degree to supplement my media training. Continue reading When Comedians Become Medical Experts

Closets Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: anti-gay zealot turns out to be a hypocrite and an undercover homosexual himself. Wait, you have heard that one before?

I think what’s being left out of the George Rekers commentary is how complex issues of internalized homophobia and coming out are. It may seem like semantics, but there is a big difference between internalized homophobia and shame, denial, hypocrisy and discretion.

Continue reading Closets Come in Many Shapes and Sizes