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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Heading In The Right Direction

The Future Is Now

by j. brotherlove

What makes your today better than your yesterday?

Every day, I attempt to educate myself about some new aspect of the world, challenge my existing beliefs and prejudices, expand my circles of influence, and validate what I hold be true. I don’t always succeed; but that’s my goal. The great thing about establishing goals is even when you don’t accomplish them fully; at least you’re headed in the right direction.

Never has the black LGBT community been in better position to raise our visibility, improve relationships with the larger society and garner the respect we deserve as human beings. In short, now is the time to improve our future.

Black Gay Pride is just one opportunity for us to address issues and empower our circumstances and ourselves. But you only get out of it what you put into it. It’s easy to get distracted by the flamboyant side of Pride’s late night parties and outlandish sexual behavior. To be fair, partying and sex is a part of life. The problem arises when those activities comprise your entire LGBT experience. After all, life is about balance. Don’t disregard the chance to connect with brothers and sisters from all over the country and attend workshops and events that instill self-esteem, purpose and validate our sense of self in a country that challenges our existence daily.

This year alone has seen a rise in the anti-gay marriage agenda, HIV/AIDS cases in people of color and an obsession over “living on the down low” (note: the CDC researcher who conducted the study cited for proof of black bisexual men spreading HIV recently declared her study has been misinterpreted). Despite these challenges, we must use our resources to fight back because nobody is going to do it for us (you may want to re-read this sentence).

First, we must recognize that opportunities for improving our future already exist. In any given city there are nonprofit organizations and groups in need of members, money and motivation. Seek them out and use your talents to make a positive impact. Anything from organizational skills, political contacts, financial contributions and a flair for design is an asset. After joining, keep in mind you are a part of an organization. Too many of our groups get stifled or dismantled due to in-fighting or individuals who want to act as dictators. If you cannot find a group whose mission speaks to your spirit, start you own. Chances are if you sense a void there’s an audience to fill it.

The black LGBT community has shown a hunger for new outlets and expression. In response we have two black, gay DVD series on the market (The Closet and Noah’s Arc); a full-length film (The Ski Trip); a multitude of books by black, gay authors; and an increase in social groups focused on couples (Together In Love); vacationing (San Juan Brothas) and gay, hip hop (Peace Out South).

But we can do better. For instance, a community as powerful and talented as ours should be able to establish and maintain a respected, national news, print publication. For this to become a reality we will have to check our egos and support our venture.

Also, we can provide more support for existing organizations, eliminate tension around diversity (tops/bottoms, butch/femme, positive/negative, out/DL), support our transgender community, celebrate (rather than undermine) relationships and stay open to interaction outside of clubs and bars. Most importantly, gay men and lesbians need to work and play together more often. No real success will come from us winning battles separately. When we are focused and working in harmony we will achieve unity. And that is power.

Originally published in ITLA’s 2004 Pride Guide.

pub: 09/01/2004 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 2 | subscribe
1. dennis

Wow. This was really insightful. I’ll be back.

I am so glad you posted this on your site. This is such a timely article I was forcing people to read it all weekend.

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