Monday, January 10, 2005

Slaves of the LGBT Community

I don't know about you but I'm really upset about homophobia and nothing makes my skin crawl more then homophobic African Americans. I just don't get it. We've faced discrimination since the beginning of time and instead of opening our hearts somehow "The Man" has the last laugh. We've propelled ourselves from Black on Black crime to burying gay African Americans and only a handful of African American leaders have stood to defend these courageous human beings. I have done some research on the National Black Justice Association, an organization that deserves more kudos then Martha Stewart (althougth, I always defend Martha, as a woman, they made an example of her that was just unecessary, Enron corporate assholes, watch your back, Haliburton, your nose is sprouting more lies then Pinnochio on heroin). Here is my run on sentence:

As we come to terms with a new president (that most of us with common sense did not vote for), celebrate the holidays and pre-purchase V.I.P. tickets to the most sought after New Year’s Eve bash in select cities throughout the world, we owe it to ourselves as members of the an accepting community to discuss a very controversial topic. Our Gay African American sisters and brothers who continue to grapple with their double if not triple indignities (Gay, Lesbian, person of color, Christian) will need our focus.

African American pastors around the United States have made headlines preaching their message regarding the sanctity of marriage and denouncing the LGBT community for destroying the moral values of this nation by demanding equal rights, above all, the right to marry. The African American community has always held strong ties to the church, labeling it the center of their lives. Unfortunately many places of worship are wrought with homophobic, conservative beliefs that use the bible to illustrate that Gay people are not God’s children. It seems that religion will yet again play the catalyst in the enslavement of our Gay sisters and brothers who continue to set the Gay civil rights movement back to pre-Stonewall by not speaking up and coming out. History tells us that African American slaves were forced into Christianity and later clung to it to like a safety blanket before Rosa Parks bravely refused to give up her seat in Alabama, sparking a movement. How long will it take for African American pastors and their members to come to terms with their own hatred and misunderstanding of love, sex and gender? It is ironic that America was once convinced that African Americans were subhuman and used the bible to preach that fact, feeding us a White Jesus, Mary and Joseph and African Americans continue to eat it up. They have forgotten the case of Loving vs. Virginia where love prevailed over racist miscegenation laws forbidding the mingling of Black and White men and women. African Americans have a steep history in being exploited and judged, yet when it is clear that Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, many African American religious leaders not only turn their backs on justice but they in turn diminish the self-esteem of our Gay sisters and brothers.

The GLBT community has come a long way in accepting Gay sisters and brothers of color into their rainbow of love but there is still far more work needed in order to succeed. A debate has existed for decades about the treatment of African American Lesbians and Gays in the community and the question remains: Is the White GLBT community responsible for this divide or do African American Lesbians and Gays commit to invisibility? One could easily answer that both are at fault. African American Lesbians and Gays need to need to band together with the rest of their community and put an end to invisibility. White Lesbians and Gays need to recognize that there is currently only one advocacy organization, The National Black Justice Coalition, (www.nbjcoalition.org) that primarily assists Lesbian and Gay African Americans in their fight for equal rights. One organization among a slew of others to defend our Gay sisters and brothers from religious conservatives who would rather shame them and teach the rest of the African American community to do the same hardly seems fair. It is time to put an end to our pre-historic views on race and get over ourselves.

No one is to blame for the backlash our Gay brothers and sisters are facing from their own community and many of their churches. We need to reach out and educate ourselves on this topic to further understand the stigma of homosexuality in the African American community and how severe it is. Is it any wonder that as an African American woman I am at the highest risk for HIV/AIDS in the world? How daunting is that? Many African American men are living a double life because they are too ashamed to come out to their wives and African American pastors would rather ignore the “down low” phenomenon and allow African American women to be infected daily.

Religious leaders such as the Reverend Gregory Daniels of the United Voters for Truth and Change in Chicago insist on adhering to the old slave master’s message of bigotry. Reverend Daniels has made some waves with his commentary on gay marriage where he went so far as to say that "if the KKK opposes gay marriage I would ride with them.” I’d like to know what kind of substance he was on when he stated that emphatically to the world. Have these people completely lost their sensibilities? No straight white male I know would want anything to do with the Klan and here we have a man of color who preaches the word of God and holds hatred in his heart.

We are certainly no strangers to hypocrisy in this country but this argument about whether gay marriage is a civil rights issue is madness. The National Black Justice Association
called supporters of marriage equality to counter a march led by Bishop Eddie L. Long of Atlanta’s mega church, New Birth, to oppose the right of gays and lesbians to marry. The march began on the steps of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation in Atlanta. It is unfathomable that African American ministers can desecrate the symbol of civil rights by rallying for bigotry in lieu of fundraising to save the lives of African American women who continue to be exposed to the HIV virus at an alarming rate. That task would call on the entire African American community to begin talking about same sex relationships and gender roles as well uprooting archaic attitudes about marriage. Coretta Scott King is a huge supporter of civil rights for the GLBT community and it is despicable that that these ministers used her deceased husband’s foundation as a starting point to begin a war on members of the human race.

Let’s pick our Gay sisters and brothers up and let them know that silence is slavery and that slavery should not be a repeat episode in our nation’s history.

I'm working on writing for a local gay and lesbian paper in Sacramento. I used this opinion piece as a sample. This issue is really important to me at the moment. I just hope that others see it and not dismiss as something that doesn't effect them. Prejudice effects everyone who inhabits this earth and I'm just sick of the bullshit. I want people to open up and stop using fear as an excuse and most importantly to discontinue denying their fears.

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