Monday, February 08, 2010

Don't forget about us during Black History Month

With Oscar season and Black History Month rolling around at the same time, it's gratifying to see Lee Daniels get recognition for being the first black gay man nominated in the category of Best Director.

However, some media reports got it wrong when they claimed that he is the first gay black man to receive an Oscar nomination. The late actor Paul Winfield receives that honor because of his 1972 Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Sounder.

This error is especially poignant to me because it illustrates just how difficult it is for members of the black gay community to receive any type of recognition for what we have contributed to society.

Usually we are ignored during Black History Month. Or worse yet, our achievements are noted but our orientation is stepped over as if its dog dirt on a freshly manicured lawn.

This could happen for a number of reasons but I like to place a degree of blame on this ridiculous war that the black and gay communities find themselves manipulated into regarding who suffered the most. Regardless of the points made by either group, the one who receives the largest casualties in this battle for position is the gay community of color.

The richness of our lives and our contributions to America are diminished because we are seen as commodities in this tug of war.

Meanwhile, young black gays and lesbians are exploited and taught to hate themselves by either self-hating ministers or other black leaders with an agenda.

But despite this, I take a degree of solace in something.

No matter how the spotlight of attention from the larger gay community eludes us, no matter how many black minister lackeys the (predominantly white) leadership of the religious right can dredge up to deny the connection between the gay and black communities, no matter how many times our lives are seemingly diminished or ignored by well-meaning gay and black leaders, certain facts about who we are don't change.

We are:

Barbara Jordan, who taught Americans a new love and respect for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution during the Nixon impeachment trials,

Lorraine Hansberry, who explored how racism can destroy the souls of black men and women through her monumental play, A Raisin in the Sun,

Bayard Rustin, who shook up the world by successfully planning and executing the 1963 March on Washington,

and Lee Daniels and Paul Winfield, who reached and continues to reach the top of their profession through skill and poise.

These five are only a small number of the thousands of same gender loving people of color who taught Americans to dance, sing, dress, and love each other and themselves a little more.

I refuse to accept any notion that the black gay community is simply a commodity in a useless war of position. Nor should any part of our identities be sacrificed for the sake of expediency.

So as we go through Black History Month 2010, I implore everyone to not forget about the black gay community.

Because we simply won't let you.

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Religious right trying to divide black, gay communities (again) and other Monday midday news briefs

Hate Crimes Protection for Gays Is "Demeaning [to] the Black Community" - The old game of "divide and conquer." The religious right could care less about the lgbt or black communities.

Weird how far-right turns all of prez's LGBT picks into 'bigots'. Funny how that works, huh? - Anatomy of a religious right distortion.

Potomac students get fliers saying therapy turns gays straight - Don't be so quick to dance for joy, PFOX. This is a victory for lgbt clubs and organizations also. If you can distribute your lying fliers, then lgbt friendly ones can distribute THEIR truthful ones.

Military Times poll shows sharp decline in support for DADT - Slowly but surely, DADT is going out the door.

Harold Ford Jr. Rejects the ‘Ex-Gay’ Myth in Maureen Dowd Column - We ain't falling for your pro-lgbt semblance, Mr. Ford. But it's nice to hear you kowtow.

Gay African-American becomes first to garner Oscar nomination - Article gets it wrong. Paul Winfield, who received a nomination in 1972 for Best Actor (Sounder) was the first. But it's good that Daniels is getting attention.

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In honor of 200,000, a reason to oppose interracial dating

Yesterday, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters celebrated its 200,000th hit. Not bad for a part-time blog, huh. In celebration of this, I want to republish one of my most popular posts. It is especially poignant today when one takes into account the increasingly amount of venom recently against the lgbt community from the religious right:

I've been having a very interesting email exchange with Peter LaBarbera regarding his stigmatization of the lgbt community.

For LaBarbera, every lie he tells is justifiable because of his belief that gay men have "health risks" greater than that of heterosexuals. In fact, it's something he likes to highlight every chance he gets:

“Barack Obama’s homosexual agenda is beginning to take shape – but he has no election mandate to impose GLSEN’s radical vision of celebrating homosexuality, bisexuality and gender confusion (transsexuality) in U.S. schools,” LaBarbera said. “Anti-religious bigots should not be setting policy for schools — and promoting dangerous sex and gender identities to youth is the antithesis of ‘safety.’ (Men who have sex with other men (MSM) suffer from much higher rates of sexual diseases – including anal cancer, HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea — than non-MSMs.)


LaBarbera also argues that many liberal school districts teach false facts about AIDS. He says they imply that everyone is at equal risk for contracting the disease -- even though in 2005 71 percent of U.S. male AIDS cases involved homosexuals. He contends that many American young people are not being informed about other health risks associated with homosexuality either -- such as increased infections of the Hepatitis B or C virus and the herpes virus. "We have all this evidence out there that homosexual behavior is dangerous," the activist point out, "and yet our politically correct elites are promoting gay identity" to teens and children.

And he is not the only one to assert this "gays are dangerous because of their behavior" claim:

If there was ever a clarion call for our entire society to say with one united voice that homosexual behavior is a danger to health and should be discouraged at all costs, this is it. We've found one voice as a society with regard to drug use and drunk driving; it's time we find it with regard to homosexual behavior. - Bryan Fischer

In fact, multiple studies have established that homosexual conduct, especially among males, is considerably more hazardous to one’s health than a lifetime of chain smoking. - Matt Barber

The "homosexuality is a health risk" factoid is a popular talking point in religious right circles. It stems from manipulating legitimate medical information regarding disease and the lgbt community. Rather than go into detail about just how this information is manipulated, I'm going to take another route.

I found this video on youtube. I dare anyone to tell me the difference between it and the nonsense about the supposed "health risks of homosexuality" factoid pushed by the religious right:

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