Friday, January 31, 2014

Know Your LGBT History - 'You Are My Friend'

Nowadays, the younger set of gay men fawn over singers like Beyonce and Lady Gaga with their outrageous costumes and dance moves as well as their voices.

Of course, at the risk of sounding like an old queen, in my day it was all about the voice. The pipes. And nothing could move a black gay man like someone who could bring the audience to their knees with a strong vocal delivery.

I've talked about the late singer Sylvester on many occasions in my "Know Your LGBT History" posts, but this is a special one because it emphasizes cultural differences in our community.

The song "You Are My Friend" was written and recorded in 1978 by Patti Labelle and it remains a favorite in her concerts. However, in his 1979 album Living Proof, Sylvester actually did the impossible - he took the song from Patti and made it his own.

Listen to this live recording of the song with Sylvester accompanied by his two back up singers, Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes (who later became the Weather Girls and recorded the classic "It's Raining Men" in the 80s).

For many gay black men of my generation, to listen to this song  or to see a live lip synch performance was   considered as a rite of passage. It combined so many things that we love - a good song, excellent singers, and the foot stomping, shoe removing, self-wig snatching of a good church service.

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Anti-gay rapper needs to be set straight on black, lgbt history, identities

 According to the Huffington Post:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's marriage equality anthem "Same Love" may have rocked the Grammy Awards, but one Texas-based Christian rapper has condemned the track in a very disturbing way.

As The Houston Chronicle is reporting, Bizzle refutes the popular comparisons of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement to the civil rights struggles of the African-American community.

At first I was going to ignore this monstrosity but after reading Bizzle's lyrics, I felt that a gauntlet had been thrown down and it's my duty as an lgbt of color to pick it up. These lyrics in general:

"You'd rather fight God than fight sin," Bizzle rhymes on the track. "The Bible is alright until it calls what you like sin/And I feel so disrespected that you were so desperate/You would compare your sexual habits to my skin."

He then adds, "You can play straight, we can never play white ... 

So apparently Bizzle belongs to the contingent of African-Americans who proclaim the lgbt civil rights movement isn't the same as the African-American civil rights movement. I'm familiar with that bunch, especially of the fact that they scream so loud that no one else with a differing opinion can get a word edgewise in the conversation.

Let's go to school, Bizzle. Any African-American who chooses to use the Bible to bash lgbts are woefully ignorant of their own history in this country when that same book was used to justify slavery and segregation. Furthermore, any African-American who even pushes the idea that "gays can pretend to be straight but blacks can't pretend to be white" show more ignorance. As it was, there were some African-Americans who were light enough to pretend to be white. The term was called "passing" and just like lgbts who seek to hide in the closet, some African-Americans "passed" in order to sidestep hate and discrimination.

So basically, if one would look at the collected history of the lgbt community and the black community in America, one would find many similarities. Both of our communities have been the victims of spiritual, emotional, and physical violence based upon antiquated concepts of inferiority.

I am so damn tired of the ignorance expressed by folks like Bizzle and I am so tired of their need to sacrifice historical reflection for the sake of being bombastic or self-righteous. Lastly, I am tired of being their whipping boy, of having my life psychologically dissected for their benefit. I am not a dead frog in science class that you can cut open and remove the parts that you don't like.

I am an African-American lgbt, I will not be muzzled or forced to choose between two identities. I cannot choose to be black or gay. Hell, I DO NOT want to choose to be black or gay. Both identities provide the crucial, cultural ingredients which make me the fascinating and unstoppable uncrowned male diva that I am.

I am person who is uncompromisingly black and unapologetically gay. Deal with it.

Anti-gay Republican should be pitied for hypocrisy and hubris

Dave Agema won't go away.

Agema is the Republican National Committee member from Michigan whose past and recent comments about lgbts and Islam are so noxious that members of his own party are demanding that he resign. Agema, however, refuses to. Instead, he has chosen to nail himself to the cross of martyrdom.

In a recent interview, Agema makes himself seem like the victim of an alleged left-wing plot to silence conservatives:

"They will use fear, intimidation, physical threats – I can't tell you how many of those I got," he said on the air.  
"... They put fear into everybody's heart when they see me and other people like Chick-fil-A and Phil Robertson, Evander Holyfield, even 'The Bachelor' now." . . . "So I think we need people to stand up," he continued. "It's the old saying: All that's necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing ... and my wife and I prayed about it, we were on our knees, we had people here praying about it – and we just came to the conclusion: If I don't stand, then who?"

Of course, the article, published by the right-wing One News Now, didn't say exactly what Agema has been saying. Allow me to rectify that error with a little enhancement on my part.

Last year on his facebook page, Agema claimed that he had "reams of studies" proving homosexuality to be a so-called dangerous lifestyle.  He originally cited information from Dr. Frank Joseph, a physician whom no one has ever heard of.  The information cited is called Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals.

But there is something I noticed about Joseph's information which needs to be stated.

Those who have read this blog should remember this book on the left because I have referred to it many times. It is an awful comic book published in the late 1980s by a man named Dave Hafer called Deathstyle. It, as Joseph's piece cited by Agema, also purported to give "statistics" about homosexuality.

In fact, if one would compare Hafer's comic book and Joseph's piece, one would see startling similarities.


Homosexuals live unhealthy lifestyles, and have historically accounted for the bulk of syphilis, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, the "gay bowel syndrome" (which attacks the intestinal tract), tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus



37% of homosexuals engage in sadomasochism, which accounts for many accidental deaths. In San Francisco, classes were held to teach homosexuals how to not kill their partners during sadomasochism.



Homosexuals are 100 times more likely to be murdered (usually by another homosexual) than the average person, 25 times more likely to commit suicide, and 19 times more likely to die in a traffic accident. 21% of lesbians die of murder, suicide or traffic accident, which is at a rate of 534 times higher than the number of white heterosexual females aged 25-44 who die of these things.



 Homosexuals prey on children. 33% of homosexuals ADMIT to minor/adult sex. There is a notable homosexual group, consisting of thousands of members, known as the North American Man and Boy Love Association ( NAMBLA). This is a child molesting homosexual group whose cry is "SEX BEFORE 8 BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE." This group can be seen marching in most major homosexual parades across the United States. Homosexuals commit more than 33% of all reported child molestations in the United States, which, assuming homosexuals make up 2% of the population, means that 1 in 20 homosexuals is a child molester, while 1 in 490 heterosexuals is a child molester.


Both Hafer's comic book and Joseph's piece are filled with false information coming from cherry-picked sources published decades ago or just plain bad studies from junk science sources. One source in particular which they both share, Paul Cameron, is a man who has been either censured or dismissed from several medical associations for his bad research methodologies and outrageously homophobic claims. Amongst other things, Cameron has claimed that gay men "seduce" children on a regular basis, that is when they are not stuffing gerbils up their rectums.

But Agema not sees nothing wrong with citing Joseph. In fact he thinks it's more than appropriate.

One word which comes to mind whenever I read about Agema is not morality but hubris. Hubris is defined by extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. 

In this case, it's Agema's insisting that his statements against homosexuality is akin to standing up for Biblical principles but every time he utters them, he contradicts those principles because while it is up for debate whether or not homosexuality is a sin, it is definitely factual to call bearing false witness a sin.

The sad thing is that Agema doesn't even realize it.

Agema's not to be admired. He's to be pitied.