Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who Are We, Without the Labels...

After years of researching & writing about the gay community, I’ve concluded there’s a link to HIV in the black gay community with the fact there's no public voice for black gay people. The gay subculture, in general, is underrepresented in media, general knowledge history and Hollywood despite the fact the entertainment business is fraught with gay people serving as make up artists, hair & fashion stylists, directors and more. Nevertheless, gay people are summarily discriminated against & excluded unless the creative genius is needed.

With respect to black gay men, no one has given us permission to be who we are, thus, many live in secret. Parents should be the first to offer support, but in many cases they aren't because of their own [religious] beliefs. As a result, the [gay] community is comprised of people that have been rejected by its own families, churches, friends, and ultimately the world.

The black church has always been the foundation for black people. It’s credited with how black people function as a whole & quite frankly could single handedly claim responsibility for carrying the African American community from slavery through civil rights to present day struggles. There's a spirit among black people and that spirit is sometimes manipulated & seduced by our spiritual leaders. We now live in a time where our thoughts "controlled" by bishops or preachers. The church has contorted God’s words for its selfish purposes. Some Christians have been so brainwashed that they can’t hear the voice of God because they’re so transfixed on the pastor’s words. Others seem confused about what God wants from them because of the admonishments from spiritual teachers; many of whom aren't meeting the standards they've outlined for their congregations. It isn’t until a bishop, pastor or priest falls from grace, behind some sort of scandal, that Christians are forced to remember they too are human and fall short.

The black church could “change the game” in the fight against HIV/AIDS by starting a dialogue about the reality of AIDS in our communities. After all, 80% of black people believe in a higher power. Instead, the church has opted to stand by and do nothing as this disease decimates the black race leaving the brunt of the burden & indelible scar of HIV on black women. The black church has broached other subjects that plagued the community i.e. civil rights & race relations, but a dialogue about HIV/AIDS would lend itself to conversations about premarital sex or worse homosexuality which both are prevalent in the congregations AND the pulpits. Nevertheless, the church has avoided the topic. In fact, few have HIV/AIDS ministries.

After years of navigating through life with bottled up feelings, gay men often become promiscuous, perhaps, in an effort to play “catch up” for all the years of not acting on the feelings. Additionally, most become susceptible to one or more vices that lead to anonymous sex; from loitering in public parks looking for sex [with a stranger], to bath houses, to sex parties, to online sex sites or even marriage with hopes of quelling the desire to be with another man. A great preponderance find themselves soul searching; in search to nullify the “feelings" or a way to release pent up feelings & emotions that have been ignored for years.

Week after week these men are badgered & besmirched in churches by the pastors they tithe. The end result is a subculture full of injured men with so many layers that no one has taken time to peel back, including the injured man himself. These same injured men make futile attempts to have relationships that often times are co-dependent. Both parties take turns licking the other’s wounds instead of stepping back to nurse his own wounds after years of verbal, sometimes physical, abuse inflicted upon him from years of being called sissy, punk or faggot by family, friends, even strangers.

A vast majority of gay men, irrespective of race, lose so many years hoping & wishing they weren’t gay, and before fully accepting oneself or acknowledging to oneself “I’m gay”, the popular choice is to make repeated attempts at [same sex] relationships without thoroughly understanding the psychology behind the feelings.

Gay men are synonymous with aesthetics and everything luxury, but the irony is the lack of self worth as a result of years of disenfranchisement....

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  1. Fabulous post. Thank you for writing this. IT makes me very sad, and often angry - how unChristian some Christians can be... We have come along way..yet sometimes it seems we have so far still to go. I never could understand not loving your child because of their sexuality. I saw a few of my gay men friends shunned by their family...and they adopted others to be part of their family. One was the son of a pastor.

    Glad I read your blog thru the Greeting card site! Will bookmark it!

  2. Thank you Patti! So glad you stumled across the blog.

  3. I totally agree and to take it a step further lets talk about todays black youth. It is like everyone is ignoring the obvious. Why are we not doing more to educate our young people? Why are health teachers standing in front of a classroom of gay and lesbain teens (look around at the abundance of same sex relationships in our black youth today , especially our young girls who dress as though they are young men) discussing ways a woman contracts HIV/STD from a man, or describing healthy relationships between a man and woman, etc.... I thought you were suppose to tailor your lesson to your audience???? We are still scared to talk about whats all around us WHY??? FEAR, IGNORANCE...They say Church separate from state but is it really????Therefore, our teens are not listening and are lost and feel that they have no resources/support. They need to be embraced. As a result they are growing up as lost adults who utimately have casual sex looking for that love and support they never received from home, school, etc..and sadly when that love is not found they turn to drugs or end up with HIV. We have not came far at all and it seems as if it is getting worse.
    I think it is a shame to not be able to be who you are. Who are we to judge anyone? HIV knows no name, face, race, or gender. Anyone of us can contract it whether, black, white, asian, gay or straight. The ignorance and homophobia that lies within our community further explains the increasing rate of new HIV infections and they will only continue to soar if we do not put our ignorance/fear aside. Thank you Craig for being brave enough to write on issues such as this one. Continue to shed the light.

  4. LOL! sorry for the long comment you know i am passionate about this subject :)

  5. In today's black church, it is easier for a congregation to accept a pastor that has sexed tons of members, while he is married and completely go against everything that he teaches, than to accept a gay member with open arms. I never understood that thought process but that's what happens in my world.