Hey ! I just wanted to let you guys know that updates will probably be light this week as I'm preparing myself for an amazing opportunity that presented itself on yesterday. For all of you who believe in prayer please keep me in mind as this is the break I've been waiting on. Meanwhile, please enjoy the archives.
Have you ever felt like you don't know where you are or how you got there? Have you ever felt uncertain about your life? Have you ever felt so much sorrow that you were consumed by it? Have you ever felt so much joy it scared you? When will these questions have meaning for you? Finding Me is a film that explores these questions through the eyes of Faybien Allen, a young black homosexual who has reached the point in his life where he begins to ask himself these questions.
I came across this project on youtube and it was such a good find that I had to share it with you guys here on my site. The film stars RayMartell Moore as Faybien Allen, Eugene Turner as Greg Marsh, J'Nara Corbin as Amera Jones, Carl Garnett as Cory Briggs, and the familiar faces of Clik cover model Maurice Murrell as Jay Timber, and the creator of the Derrick L. Briggs Book Club, Derrick L. Briggs as Lonnie Wilson.
With so few movies available that tell our stories as black same gender loving people, I'm always excited to add another film to the small list of stories that reflect our lives. I look forward to learning more about this project and the people involved and as soon as I do I look forward to sharing it with all of you.
In the meantime you can visit thanks4findingme.com for more info and the sexy youtube clip below.
You guys might remember an interview I did with emerging Atlanta author/poet Antron Brown for his book Bohemian Rebel: Naked and Exposed Volume 1 a few months ago. Since our chat Antron's book has taken off and he's in the process of completing volume 2 to be released in early 2008. He was recently feautred on Brave Soul Collective where he shared hi story of coming out, revealing his HIV status, and his life's work. He's self published, determined, christian, and out. You can learn more about Antron from our last interview here and also listen to an excerpt from his new book here .
David Atlanta's October issue highlights the many flavors of Atlanta men and included are three brothers I thought were worth mentioning here. Whenever I come across black gay men who are not afraid to be out and proud,especially in the south, I think it's worth sharing with as many people as possible. These men are all different much like the community at large, but they are all successful, black, gay, and unashamed. Thanks to David Atlanta for this article.
There is so much I want to say after reading this letter but I will refrain from doing so. I'm sure you'll be able to read between the lines and figure out exactly where Obama and his advisors stand on the controversial "Embrace The Change Tour" , Donnie McClurkin's views, and the black communities approval of homophobia. This controversy has been dissapointing and eye-opening at the same time. I would like to end my coverage with a comment I read from an anonymous post over at salon.com that I found to be thought provoking and extremely profound.
"You can be uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle but it should never blind you to the humanity of each person you encounter, nor should it cause you to reject people or view them as inferior because they are different from you. Certainly the black community knows that truth first hand."-Anonymous
Update: I promised I was done talking about camp Obama so I'll let bloggers Rod McCollum , Pam Spaulding, and Clay Cane do the talking...and they've got a lot to say!
Joint Letter from the African American Religious and LGBT Leadership Teams
CHICAGO, IL- Obama supporters and leaders in the LGBT and African American faith communities released the following letter today calling on members of their communities to come together to find common ground.
To Whom It May Concern:
As representatives of Barack Obama supporters from the African American religious community and the gay community, we are issuing a statement together for the first time. Our letter addresses the recent issue of Pastor Donnie McClurkin singing at Senator Obama’s “Embrace the Change” concert series. In the midst of division, we hope and believe that this is a moment to bring together communities that have been divided for far too long.
A few things are clear.
First, Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.
At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin’s beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.
Finally, we believe that the only way for these two sides to find common ground is to do so together.
Not at arms length. Not in a war of words with press and pundits. Only together.
It is clear that Barack Obama is the only candidate who has made bringing these two often disparate groups together a goal. In gatherings of LGBT Americans and African Americans of faith, Obama has stated that all individuals should be afforded full civil rights regardless of their sexual orientation, and that homophobia must be eradicated in every corner of our nation. If we are to end homophobia and secure full civil rights for gay Americans, then we need an advocate within the Black community like Barack Obama.
At the same time, while Obama has said that he "strongly disagrees" with Pastor McClurkin's comments, he will not exclude from his campaign the many Americans including many in the African American community who believe the same as Pastor McClurkin.
We believe that Barack Obama is constructing a tent big enough for LGBT Americans who know that their sexual orientation is an innate and treasured part of their being, and for African American ministers and citizens who believe that their religion prevents them from fully embracing their gay brothers and sisters. And if we are to confront our shared challenges we have to join together, build on common ground, and engage in a civil dialogue even when we disagree.
We also ask Senator Obama’s critics to consider the alternatives. Would we prefer a candidate who ignores the realities in the African American community and cuts off millions of Blacks who believe things offensive to many Americans? Or a panderer who tells African Americans what they want to hear, at the expense of our gay brothers and sisters? Or would we rather stand with Barack Obama, who speaks truth in love to both sides, pulling no punches but foreclosing no opportunities to engage?
We stand with Senator Obama. We stand with him because of the solutions he is proposing for our nation. We stand with him because of his character and his judgment. But the most important reason we stand with him is because today, as he has done all along, Barack Obama is causing us to stand together.
That's the kind of President we need, and we are proud to support him.
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Chair, Obama National African American Religious Leaders Working Group
Chair, Obama National LGBT Leadership Council
Former Member of Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors
Tobias Barrington Wolff
Chair, Obama LGBT Policy Committee
Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
The Reverend Stephen John Thurston
National Baptist Convention of America
The Reverend Alvin Love
Baptist General State Convention of Illinois, Inc.
Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr.
Office of Ecumenical & Urban Affairs
African Methodist Episcopal Church
President, The Phelon Group, Inc.
Former Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors
New York, NY
Former COO, Human Rights Campaign
Former Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors
Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner
Skinner Leadership Institute
Tracy’s Landing, MD
Rev. Michael Pfleger
St. Sabina, Chicago
Rev. Edward Taylor
San Jose, CA
The Reverend Robert H. Thompson
Des Moines, IA
Hon. Jon Cooper
Majority Leader, Suffolk County (NY) Legislature
Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr., Pastor
Mt. Zion Congregational UCC
In an attempt to appease the outraged LGBT community over Donnie McClurkin's appearance in his "Embrace The Change Tour" this weekend in South Carolina the Obama Camp announced hours ago that they would be inviting an openly gay minister to open up each performance. Obama and his advisors had already made a huge mistake by not foreseeing the potential controversy by adding McClurkin to the roster in the beginning but now they've gone from bad to worse.
Rev. Andy Sidden, openly gay pastor of Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C. has been invited to speak to the hundreds of black people who will attend this three day tour. This announcement came shortly after a conference call with LGBT leaders including Joe Solmonese of the HRC.
"I spoke with Sen. Barack Obama today and expressed to him our community’s disappointment for his decision to continue to remain associated with Rev. McClurkin, an anti-gay preacher who states the need to ‘break the curse of homosexuality.’ There is no gospel in Donnie McClurkin’s message for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. That’s a message that certainly doesn’t belong on any Presidential candidate’s stage."
"I did thank him for announcing he would be adding an openly gay minister as part of the tour and for his willingness to call on religious leaders to open a dialogue about homophobia. We hope that Sen. Obama will move forward and facilitate face to face meetings with religious leaders, like Rev. McClurkin, and the GLBT community to confront the issue of homophobia", Solmonese said.
Keith Boykin writes on his blog, "I don't know if the Obama campaign realizes this, but inviting a white gay pastor to speak at a black gospel concert is not a smart move. Whoever is advising Obama really needs to reach out to people in the black community and re-think this whole approach."
I don't think Obama is a bad guy and he's been very consistent with his support of the LGBT community. It's unfortunate that he hasn't reached out to the black gay community because we could have stopped him from making two mistakes in one week that could ultimately cost him the nomination. I'm sure he would like for all of this negative attention to turn but this move has only added more fuel to the fire. Whose idea was it to send a white gay minister to speak to a crowd of black southern Christians?
John Amaechi said something on Oprah that in my opinion is being reinforced by this whole mess. After a book signing he said a black woman came up to him and thanked him for telling his story because she never knew black gays existed. Apparently neither does Obama's advisors.
More Updates :10/24 The pressure on Barack Obama's campaign to sever all ties with homophobic gospel singer Donnie McClurkin has been elevated today from a statement issued by The Human Rights Campaign. HRC is calling for Obama to immediately cancel the event or risk losing support from the LGBT community. HRC is incredibly influential in progressive political circles and could dramatically affect Obama's chance at securing the Democratic nomination. Obama's campaign is scheduled to have a conference call with members of the LGBT community at noon today in an attempt to fix this mess.
The National Black Justice Coalition has also requested to meet with Barack Obama to address the concerns of the black gay community over his decision.
A lot of people in and out of the community don't understand why gay activists are so outraged over Donnie McClurkin's message and his presence on this tour. So let's revisit the infamous quotes from Donnie over the years courtesy of columnist Wayne Besen.
** "Homosexuality has really ravished our children. It started in my generation. I was touched by it and I struggled with it and all that for years and there was nobody to deal with it. I started dealing with it in my sermons and even when we do our concerts." (An interview with www.FamilyChristian.com)
** "Everybody is going to the same hell. The religious hypocrite will go to the same hell as the murderer and homosexual. My job is to say that sin is wrong and kill the sin, not the sinner." (The Voice, 16 July 2001)
** Commenting on New York City's Harvey Milk School, which caters to gay students, he said, "The gloves are off. And if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose." (CBN, 700 Club Sept. 23, 2003)
...And for your amusement Donnie's recent statement that he's been misquoted many, many, many, times here courtesy of goodasyou.org .
Update: Barack Obama released the following statement on the Donnie McClurkin controversy on his website. Activist Jasmyne Cannick observes the statement is posted in the LGBT section of his site and not under his general newsroom where all of his statements and press releases are usually found.
"I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens. I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country. I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as President of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division." -Barack Obama
Journalist and blogger Rod McCollum follows the Obama/McClurkin controversy on his site and points out how this story is being completely ignored by the black mainstream media, Christian websites, and gospel music stations.
Presidential nominee hopeful Barack Obama's campaign recently announced their plan for a gospel concert across South Carolina in an effort to gain some ground on front runner Hillary Clinton who is leading in the polls by 24 percent. The "Embrace The Change" tour is expected to land in three cities in South Carolina and feature performances by ex-gay Donnie McClurkin and anti-gay singers Mary Mary, Byron Cage, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Hezekiah Walker, a minister who has repeatedly had to deal with rumors regarding his own sexuality for years.
I first heard about this story on Rod 2.0 and later noticed that it was picking up steam across the blogosphere and that many LGBT Obama supporters were not happy about his decision. Obviously this is another example of a politician pandering for votes from the right and from the more conservative voters in his base. I think Barack Obama has made it very clear where he stands on issues that are important to the LGBT community and while I don't have Obama fever I'm not in the least surprised at his actions, and that could be due to the fact that he has yet to impress me. It's not enough for me to vote for a candidate because his skin is the same color as mine and so far to me this seems to be his mantra.
“This is another example of how Barack Obama is defying conventional wisdom about how politics is done and giving new meaning to meeting people at the grassroots level,” Joshua DuBois, the campaign’s religious affairs director, said in a release. “This concert tour is going to bring new people into the political process and engage people of faith in an unprecedented way.”
Let's get real for a moment. There is one thing that people in the red states identify with collectively and that's homophobia and the gospel acts lined up will without a doubt deliver. Donnie McClurkin has been spreading his dangerous message of "change" for years and Mary Mary compares homosexuals to murderers and prostitutes.
Republican politicians have used the LGBT community to divide this country and energize their base by gay bashing and promoting fear for decades and with this tour Barack Obama stoops to the same pathetic political level. There is nothing God-fearing black folks accept more than a good fire and brimstone sermon condeming "the gays" or better yet a powerful testimony from an ex-gay who is 48 years old and unmarried. At $10 a ticket this tour will sell out in South Carolina and everyone involved will benefit at the expense of gays and lesbians all over this country.
Once the election is over this poor decision made by Barack Obama and his camp will be long forgotten(if he loses) but the homophobic messages by McClurkin and other gospel singers is apart of their appeal and will live on. I long for the day when black gays and lesbians stop supporting their music and find the courage to walk out of churches that turn a house of prayer into a house of pain.
Read other posts on Donnie McClurkin:
A Letter to Donnie McClurkin
Donnie McClurkin Profile
A Letter To Mom
Earl Ofari Hutchinson On Obama & McClurkin
Last night I watched in utter disbelief as Tyra Banks and Dr. Richard Lippa, a psychology professor from Cal State Fullerton looked for stereotypical gay traits in 6 male volunteers to determine their sexual orientation.
Dr. Lippa looked for "hair whorls" in the back of the subject's head, if the whorl's were clockwise the subject was most likely straight and if the whorl was counter-clockwise the subject was most likely gay. If that doesn't sound ridiculous there was also the finger test. If the ring finger was longer than the index finger the subject was most likely gay according to Dr. Lippa. He went on to say that this study is not 100% factual probably in an effort to keep him from looking like a fool and from embarrassing the institution that gave him a degreee.
But even more troubling was the audience reaction to the men involved in the test. It was painfully obvious that many people still believe all gay men are effeminate, walk with a swish, and are artistic and overly expressive. They were at a loss for words when a guy they believed to be straight because he was athletic and was photographed with a rifle turned out to be gay.
I'm not sure what message Tyra was trying to send with this show but it was a complete mess and should have never made it on air. I know Tyra is not homophobic and is an ally for gay rights so I hope that GLAAD decides to take it easy on her when they denounce this show.
I have a confession. I don’t read a lot of books. Blogs, yes…books, no. So when Eric Ware contacted me to introduce me to his latest novel “The Down Low Diaries” he already had two strikes against him. The first strike as I just mentioned and the second being my personal disdain for anything involving the down low. If I had come across this book in my local bookstore I would have most likely never opened it and it would have been my lost. This book has to be the most entertaining gay fiction I’ve come across in a long time.
The “hero” of the book is a character with no name but his sexual relationships with both men and women and the instant sexual gratification he attains is only temporary, but the pain of living life on the down low seems to linger long after he climaxes.
This book is his diary and inside the reader is given the opportunity to experience every secret glance and sexual encounter of our hero and the men involved in this subculture.
Ware does a magnificent job at breathing life into every character in his book. Every moment between the characters are written so descriptively that it’s almost impossible not to relate to the story on some level. You may not agree with their choices but you feel for them once the inevitable occurs; they’re forced to deal with the truth and the consequences of their actions.
There is no shortage of drama, suspense, and sex in this novel (and the sex is hot!) From the first page Ware’s ability for sharp and exciting storytelling captures the reader and doesn’t let go until the very end and I knew if he could grab my attention from the start I would complete the book .
The question of whether it’s better to come out openly as a gay man and face possible rejection or remain living on the down low is a question the main character wrestles with throughout the book. Men on the DL are often demonized but we rarely take the time to find out the life events that have turned them away from leading authentic lives and further into the closet.
This book is less about the hype of the down low as we know it and more about one man’s lifelong journey of acceptance after all of the pain he’s experienced and caused others.
In less than 300 pages and in bold print, The Down Low Diaries by Eric Ware is an easy read. It’s honest and in your face. It’s one of those books that you’ll want to share with all of your friends when you’re done reading. I’m almost certain that I’ll be reading it again and not just because the author is from my hometown.
The Down Low Diaries is available at Border’s Books and Amazon.com . You can read a sample by clicking here .
It seems the black X marked across the high school yearbook photo of two New Jersey teens and the anti-gay comments by rapper Ja Rule has inspired self proclaimed "Gayngsta" rapper Deadlee to take action. On December 1st Deadlee is asking all gay and lesbian couples to publicly express their love for each other on buses, subways, streets, malls, airports, and other public places just like the heterosexual community as apart of the first annual World Kiss Out.
"Many people accuse lesbian, gay and bisexual people of 'flaunting' their sexuality when they talk about their partner, hold hands or kiss one another in public," says Deadlee. "These are activities that heterosexual couples do all the time. Due to homophobic reactions, some lesbian, gay and bisexual people are actually forced to hide their sexuality in public, not flaunt it. On December 1, we hide no more. said Deadlee."
I've never been one for public displays of affection (until recently...blame it on Trey) but I've always despised the double standard that exists when it comes to this practice. I couldn't tell you the number of times during the day I'm subjected to straight couples casually dry humping in public, it upsets me beyond comprehension that they don't recognize that they're "flaunting" their sexuality. My only concern for this day is the safety of those who choose to participate. We live in a world where people would rather see two men at war rather than holding hands. If you read the comments posted on allhiphop.com you'll see exactly what I mean.
I love the idea of this day and would eagerly participate. I just have a hard time getting my boyfriend to consent to PDA on a regular day so I don't know if December 1st will be any different..lol . The people behind this effort encourages you to send a picture of you and your partners kissing, holding hands, hugging - all in good taste - for a special yearbook in honor of the New Jersey teens. Include your first names city, state, and country. Send all photos to WORLDKISSOUT@GMAIL.COM
Noah's Arc fans may be disappointed the show is no longer in production but three cast members haven't stopped giving fans new reasons to fall in love with them all over again. Daryl Stephens (Noah), Jensen Atwood (Wade), and Wilson Cruz(Junito) have been working non-stop since production wrapped on the Arc. Daryl was last seen in the popular indie flick Boy Culture, Wilson Cruz is one of the voices in the new LOGO animated series Rick and Steve, and Jensen Atwood is turning up the heat on Dante's Cove on the here! network.
I couldn't resist posting the amazing cover of the September issue of LA's Frontier Magazine featuring Daryl, Wilson, and LOGO president Brian Graden. I have my friend Jeff in Seattle to thank for the photo as well as a hot clip of Jensen on Dante's Cove. Unfortunately it was too hot to be posted on my blog, but don't worry you can check out a PG-13 clip here as well as screen captures below. God I love my MAC ! Enjoy!
You love him, you hate him...you hate on him but you can't get enough of him. Many of you may know Trent Jackson from his hilarious internet radio show on his blog Just Ask Trent or as an author from his first self published novel "At This Moment". Well Trent is back with the follow up to the widely successful novel that introduced his literary talent to the world.
In his new novel, “Full Circle,” we resume at Mavericks breaking point, where in a feeble suicide attempt, Maverick unintentionally discovers why he allows himself to be entrapped in vicious negative cycles. People in his life seem more like delusional characters in a Prime-time movie than the faithful confidantes he once thought they were. The novel follows Maverick as he tries to pick up the pieces in his life while readers will suspensefully question whether Maverick will allow his past family tragedy, failed relationships, insecurity or newfound love distract him from his own happiness. Or will he find all the right things at the wrong time to further push his unstable nature into oblivion?
The only thing that I think may be bigger than Trent's talent is his personality and his sincere desire to be a positive force in the community by being visible and unashamedly black and gay. I took a moment last night to talk to my friend and share in the excitement of the release of Full Circle, his love life, the competition, and all of the other projects under the Trent Jackson brand.
Click here to listen to my interview with Trent.
Purchase your copy of Full Circle here .
Just when I thought I wasn't going to have anything to write about today my friend LT wakes me up at 9 A.M. , and anyone who knows me knows not to call me before 10 so this had to be good. He informed me that our local urban radio station V-103 were discussing gay adoption on The Frank and Wanda Show. I don't know why I rushed to my computer to stream the show live because I knew some homophobe would be on the air getting me all riled up first thing this morning.
Miss Sophia ( the resident drag queen dj) had a close friend call in to explain the process he's going through to adopt a child with his partner and according to Wanda and a caller he became quite defensive when he was asked the ususal ignorant homophobic questions and eventually hung up. But the call that made me sit straight up in my bed was one by a black female who was so against gay adoption she said she would rather see children in the home of Ku Klux Klan members than being raised by two gay parents. Did you get that? Yeah she said the Klan ! But she took it a step further and said homosexuality should be a crime in America.
I don't know why I get surprised when I hear hate speech like this because I'm fully aware of the disdain that some peole have for the gay community, but it's a totally different feeling when you hear it being streamed live from someone's mouth.Her argument is that being gay is a choice and children are impressionable and if they are raised by gay parents they will conform and "magically" lose their hetero identities.
Let's tackle the choice idea first:
I've written about this many times and I believe sexuality is innate and not a choice and multiple studies align with that belief.I still have yet to enter into discourse with a heterosexual who can tell me the exact day and time they chose to be heterosexual. The huge majority will tell you that it was not a conscience decision but indigenous to who they are. Then why can't people accept the fact that a huge part of the population is gay by design and not by choice? The answer is that they would have to refrain from viscious homophobic attacks and would no longer be justified in their hatred. Bottom line.
Children raised by gay parents will somehow turn gay:
This is such a ridiculous argument. If I weren't so angry right now I would probably laugh, maybe later. This thinking falls in line with homosexuality being a contagious disease. It's not something you catch or even taught it's something you ARE and no amount of football in the front yard with dad or pointless hookups with females is going to change that if that's who a person is at their core. Charlen Cothran has fooled the 700 Club and Americans everywhere. I was raised in a traditional two parent household and I knew I was gay at age 7. I was not molested or raped or exposed to men in leather chaps and 10 inch heels.
I know exactly why the brotha who called up the show was so defensive. If he's like me he's tired of his life, his relationship, and his family being marginalized. He's tired of having to defend his existence, tired of having to explain to the world what compassion is really all about when they profess to already have it but never utilize it, he's tired of having his life lumped into the same category with murderers, pedophiles, and rapists when all he wants to do is work and provide for his family.
If society holds the belief that children are best cared for in a traditional family setting then please allow me to put the vaseline on your hands before you slap all of the single mothers in their faces so it'll sting even harder. These women have played both roles and in many cases reared upstanding individuals. In 2007 the word family encompasses more than the Leave It To Beaver ideal of the 50's.
What's really best for all of these kids who are caught up in the system is that they are placed with families who have a genuine desire to love and care for them for the rest of their lives. People who are against gay adoption aren't really concerned with the children as much as they are concerned with their families appearing superior.
Labels: Gay Adoption
Blogger Michael Crawford of Bloggernista has a great interview with Donald Powell Project Director of GMAD(Gay Men of African Descent) in New York City. Donald introduces GMAD's latest campaign Wipe Out! Focused on reducing the stigma attached to SGL black men and those living with HIV/AIDS . GMAD's mission is to empower gay men of African descent through education, advocacy, health and wellness promotion and social support and has been doing so for over 20 years.
Their current campaign "Words Kill Too" started this past spring and is scheduled to run through 2009. During the interview Powell was asked about ways that Black LGBT people can speak out against anti-gay slurs in their communities and his response was right on point.
"First, we need to take a stand and make a choice not to embrace or support that which does not embrace or support us. It is important that we, like all Black peoples, utilize our dollar, our voice, and our vote to speak out against oppression in all its forms (racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, and ageism). It is very critical for black gays to find ways to become more visible where they live or work. The more visible we are through our everyday lives, the greater the opportunities there will be to change people’s misconceptions of us. It also will dispel the myth that we are ashamed of who we are and would rather live our lives in the dark. Finally, it is important to support organizations like GMAD and the National Black Justice Coalition that exist to raise awareness about the black gay reality and to empower the community to live free of fear and intimidation."
If you've been reading this blog for a while then you're probably aware that I'm unapologetically black, gay, and Christian. For many gays and lesbians reconciling their sexuality with their faith has not been an easy task. Many churches condemn same gender loving people and they use the bible as their reason for doing so. But we know the bible has been used to justify many forms of discrimination over the years form slavery, women's rights, interracial marriage, and Jim Crow, man's interpretation of scripture has started wars and ended lives all in the name of God.
There is a new film that has taken dozens of film festivals by storm. For The Bible Tells Me So, grand jury prize nominee at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival addresses the years of spiritual abuse by the church and fundamentalist extremists towards the LGBT community.
Tonia Proteat of Atlanta tells her coming out story and the years of rejection she faced from her family. Tonia is the only black gay or lesbian participant in the movie that features Bishop Gene Robinson and Chrissy Gephardt.
For The Bible Tells Me So is being screened all over the U.S. and will arrive in Atlanta this Friday (Oct. 19) as apart of the Out On Film Festival. If you're in town then you don't want to miss this important film. Check out the trailer above and look for a review next week.
I know the situation I'm about to describe has never happened to you but you've seen it many times and probably wondered who came up with this dumb idea. Have you ever gone to the movies and noticed two men who are obviously friends (if not more) sit with one seat in between them? I really want to know who created this unspoken rule that two men could not sit by each other in a dark theater without someone questioning their sexuality.
I've wanted to write about this for some time but I never did because I guess in the back of my mind I thought it was only an isolated incident. But I've noticed this odd behavior over the years at many different theaters primarily by black men and since questioning these men directly was not an option I'm relying on you for answers.
I welcome any theories you may have on this subject since I'm sure I'm not the only person who has witnessed this. Leave me a comment and I will explore your thoughts in a future post. Thanks!
I'm sure many of you went to the movies this past weekend to see Why Did I Get Married? if you were able to get tickets. Congrats to Tyler Perry and his brilliant cast for having the number one movie this weekend at the box office . Hollywood keeps under estimating Tyler's work but he delivers his best work to date with this movie. Instead of writing the usual review I decided to make a video blog. Get ready to follow Trey and I as we journey to see Why Did I Get Married at Atlantic Station in Atlanta and my thoughts on the film afterwards.
This has got to be an exciting time in Tyler Perry's life. While there are so many people rooting for him there's a ton of people waiting and even planning his demise. Check out this message to his fans after the box office numbers started to roll in. Enjoy the movie and my review !
I was shocked and deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the gay bashing of friend and fellow writer Ramone Johnson. Ramone was attacked outside of Splash Bar in NYC last Friday night by an individual who approached him as he accompanied a friend during a smoke break in a breezeway near the club. The attacker yelled anti-gay slurs and spit in Ramone's face before landing a punch to his face and repeatedly kicking him in the stomach. To add insult to injury, when Ramone ran back inside the club in an attempt to seek refuge he was told by the bouncers and management that he had to leave despite the possibility of the attacker still waiting for him outside.
Ramone released this statement on this tragic event in a post on his site:
As I write this I don't know what hurts worse: My stomach or my eye or the fact that a gay bar kicked me out and refused to help me. I've spent the past five years trying to empower gay men, hoping with all my heart that we can one day roam the streets without being afraid, and here I sit at my computer, hurting physically and psychologically. If we can't protect ourselves who will? In five years I've managed to post nothing but positive comments about any establishment or gay product. During this time my mindset was that there is enough negativity out there for me not to join in and down other gays. Yet I sit here wondering why I even bother when a gay bar (albeit a tragic one called Splash Bar NYC) threw me out to the wolves.
Thank my higher power that I, nor anyone else, was seriously hurt, but the pain is piercing. I feel for other victims of hate crimes. I feel for those who've been hurt or accosted just because of who they are. I feel for an establishment that loves to take our gay dollars, but could care less about us once the doors are closed. I feel for the people out there that think violence and hatred is the answer. I feel alone working in vain for a cause that seems so far beyond my reach. And yet I sit here writing to you instead of tending to my wounds, because for some reason I can't stop caring. I can't stop writing and hoping that one day I can gossip with my friends outside a club without being kicked in the stomach.
My prayers go out to Ramone and any person that has been subjected to violence based on their sexual orientation. It's emphatically wrong and it makes me sick to my stomach to know that we live in a country where legislation is not on the books to protect LGBT people from sick individuals like Ramone's attacker. And this happened in New York City of all places. This just proves that ignorance and bigotry is not limited to the red states.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on two prominent Alabama ministers who died a sudden and tragic death. This post sparked a great deal of emotion and debate in my hometown to the point where it was being e-mailed all over the city,my inbox was being flooded with e-mails, my phone was ringing off the hook, and a reporter from The Montgomery Advertiser even contacted me. When I sat down to write that post I had no idea that it would receive such a huge reaction, after all nothing I said wasn't already common knowledge, but like every situation in life there is always something to learn and this would not be an exception. What I learned is that it's not always expedient to tell the truth.
After wrestling with how my post would affect the family of one of the slain ministers and fearing for my family's personal safety I decided to take it down and for that reason only. It was never my intention to cause the family any more pain and I personally couldn't live with knowing I may have contributed to their suffering. However, I stand by every word of what I wrote and I don't apologize for anything that has taken place.
I came to the conclusion after a long discussion with respected friends and clergy that the problem wasn't that the sexuality of one of the ministers in question was indeed fact, the problem was that I was bold enough to write it and force people to deal with the truth and their own homophobia. You see not everyone can handle the truth, it's one thing to know in the back of your mind or suspect that someone might be gay, but when it's verbalized is when it becomes real and all hell begins to break loose!
Can you imagine what this world would be like if we respected the differences in every human being instead of ostracising, bashing, and spiritually abusing them ? There would be no down low because men wouldn't feel the need to hide who they are or enter into sham relationships. The rates of suicide for gay and lesbian teens would drop dramatically and not another child would have to fear being rejected and kicked out of his home because of his orientation.
My little hometown has a lot of work to do when it comes to embracing the differences in people, everything there is still black and white. Blacks on the west side of town and whites on the east side. Gays in the closet and for the few brave enough to come out they're scorned. It sounds like somebody in Montgomery decided that liberalism and progress was a bad thing. I'm just glad I had the courage to leave .
For those of you who requested a follow up on the initial post that sparked all of this controversy click on the two links below. As always truth prevails.
Police Arrest Suspect in Boswell Murder
Aldridge Autopsy Report(pdf)
For all of you who missed Keith Boykin on Judge Hatchett you can view his appearance in the video above. Congrats Keith! And a special thank you to Jeff in Seattle for hooking me up yet again.
Today is National Coming Out Day and the Human Rights Campaign along with GLADD has launched a national campaign to encourage those who are closeted to come out. But more importantly they're encouraging the people on the receivng end to be tolerant and accepting of those who choose to disclose such an important aspect of their lives. HRC has a special guide to coming out for African-Americans with tons of great information on their website along with a video message from President Joe Solmonese. GLAAD has enlisted the help of over 20 celebrities from tv, film, and sports in their "Be an Ally and A Friend" commercials set to begin airing today.
Coming out is often a difficult decision because once you say those two words(I'm gay) out loud you can't take it back. I came out at 16 and it was simultaneously one of the most liberating and the most emotionally draining experiences I've ever had, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. Leading a double life and lying to the people I cared about was never an option for me. No matter what the consequences were I personally knew that my closet was a place for my clothes and not for me to hide. If I acted ashamed of who I was then society would feel validated in their mistreatment of me and others who loved as I did. My advice is to come out in your own time when you know exactly who you are and you'e prepared to deal with the sometimes harsh reality of being out.
There are plenty of resources and people who can help you on your journey. Since I can never get enough of seeing strong black LGBT people who are thriving and making a difference in the community, I decided to create a slideshow of some of the people who are making an impact on our community and the world. This list is by no means official and if I left someone out please accept my apology.
Labels: Coming Out
I swear Keith Boykin is everywhere these days from BET to CNN and now a special appearance on Judge Hatchett. On today's episode Judge Hatchett is calling in Keith to do an intervention in the life of Tae, a gay teen who's mother says his life is spinning out of control. Tae is repeatedly harrased at school because he is gay and admits to taking it out on his mother. Keith provides a positive example of what Tae can accomplish as a young black gay man. Check your local listings for showtimes.
Have you guys seen Sunday Best and Exalted on BET? It looks like the creative heads at BET are really trying to come up with quality programming that entertains at the same time. I don't think I've watched BET consistently since Teen Summit went off the air, I never really had a reason to. But that has all changed because I'm addicted to their new gospel American Idol style competition where they search for undiscovered talent. Mary Mary and Bebe Winans are judges and while they don't have the charm of Simon, Randy, or Paula they're fun to watch, especially Bebe. I just have one question for him, Bebe...how u doin? But I'm learning the real drama is happening over on BET's message board. All of the holier than thou bible-toting Christians are in a heavy debate over whether or not this show is "holy and anointed" or just a money making machine. Read for yourself here .
Exalted follows the lives of celebrity ministers. First up was Prophetess Juanita Bynum /the new face of domestic violence. Hate her or love her, Juanita Bynum has a huge following and this show traces her life back to the early days of her ministry to the fateful night in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel where she was beaten by her soon to be ex-husband Bishop Thomas Weeks. I go back and forth about how I feel about Juanita but her life is indeed interesting and entertaining. So entertaining I was glued to the tv for an hour. Kudos to BET for the writing, production, and Blair Underwood's outstanding narration. Check out both shows weekly on BET.
Ok so the jury is still out on this new controversial bisexual dating show starring Tila Tequila, model and myspace celebrity. I watched the show for the first time last night with Trey and we both agreed it wasn't anything we hadn't seen before, but that was before the lesbians arrived to compete for Tequila's affection. It seems MTV is sticking to the same tired "Real World" fromula of sex, alcohol, hottubs, hot bodies, fights and more sex in this new dating show. I'm not a raving fan yet but I'm willing to give it another chance.
Logo premiered it's new series Ex's and Ohs earlier this week and between Tila Tequila and this show I think I'm going into lesbian overload! I really want to like this show because it's new and its not much on LOGO I haven't already seen a million times, but boy does it need some work. But on the flip side I was really excited that LOGO was aware that black lesbians exists and included a couple in the show. The jury is still out but I'm willing to give this show one more chance.
Everyday gays and lesbians are prevented from being married. What would you do if you couldn't marry the person you love?
" Don't Let This Be Your Second Date" Written, Produced, and Directed by New York gay activist Eric Leven. This has to be one of the most powerul HIV/AIDS prevention videos I've ever seen.
Nancy and Naomi Pierre's Testimony. This video is proof that God still performs miracles. Make sure you have some tissue near by. Thanks DeCedric!
Hello ! I hope everyone had a wondeful holiday. I'm on assignment for Clik Magazine this week so I will not be able to update the site daily. I'm really excited about this assignment and I look forward to sharing it with you guys in the Nov/Dec issue as well as on this site. I'm also forcing myself to take a much needed break, but don't worry I'm sure I'll resurface on National Coming Out Day on Thursday.
I can't begin to thank you guys enough for all of the e-mails and myspace messages I received last week, your support is greatly appreciated. I'm gonna take the next few days and crank out this article, fly a little, sleep a lot, and spend time with Trey. I promise to return refreshed and ready to go !
I hinted last week that an interview with Jonthan Plummer was in the near future. Well today you'll be able to hear Jonathan talk about his new book "Balancing Act" and his life in his own words. This is the beginning of a new era for Jonathan, he's leaving the scandals behind and re-introducing himself to the world as an author and a fashionista. I'm sure many of you still have burning questions to ask him regarding his marriage and ultimately his divorce from Terry McMillan as did I, but let me forewarn you that this interview is not a tabloid tell-all, but of course I had to ask.
You can listen to the interview by clickinghere . I also highly recommend reading this book review of Balancing Act by out author Stanley Bennet Clay. Enjoy!
The past 48 hours of my life have been a whirlwind. I decided yesterday to no longer pretend only a certain segment of the population are interested or have access to my blog. When I started writing a year and a half ago I would tell all of my friends that I wanted to be the next Keith Boykin, little did I know that was next to impossible and came with a steep price. All I knew was that there was something inside of me telling me that I had to stand up and speak out on behalf of a community that has been marginalized, misunderstood, mistreated, and characterized as sub-human and undeserving of the basic rights and priveleges that are afforded to every other citizen.
I'm a fighter. I always have been and I always will be. When most people would crumble in the midst of a storm or sink into depression or suicidal thoughts, I become pro-active and quickly devise a plan to get through it and on with living life. And God knows life has thrown some curve balls my way. But through all the pain I managed to survive and become a stronger person in the process.
So for the past year and a half my life has been on display for the entire world to judge and it was my decision. People I probably would have never given permission to know such intimate details about my life now do. Relatives have been forced to deal with the reality (or not) that a homosexual exists in the family and I'm the exact opposite of what the world says I should be. Promiscious, a threat to children, no reverance for God, lacking self -respect, and a threat to the institution of marriage. Do I regret it? No, because anyone who knows me personally or simply through this blog knows those characteristics don't apply. But beyond that I know for myself that this is not who I am.
But what about the young black boy in Alabama who's growing up in the same climate in which I did who feels different? Will he have the courage to know that despite what he's feeling or what is being said about people like him he is every bit as special as the next person? Will he be able to withstand the societal pressure to fix somethng that isn't broken? Will he be able to reconcile his orientation with his spirituality after being beaten from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday?
At some point the word GAY and everyone associated with it became utterly deplorable. These very same people who society deems unworthy of love and equality are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, teachers, ministers, and soldiers. Not to forget HUMAN BEINGS.
But I know everyone isn't as strong as I am, so I write. I write for that black boy or girl who has been rejected by his family and his church. I write so he won't become the next suicide victim because he couldn't cope. I write so he doesn't have to cry himself to sleep at night begging God to change who he is. I write because I know what it feels like to be called a nigger and a fag. I write because I know what it feels like to have family hurt you more than any stranger ever could. I write because some brave man who decided to write saved my life. I write because I have no choice.
So here I am...exposed, naked in front of the world. You can judge me but you have to respect me.
Entertainment Tonight catches up with Janet along with L.A. Reid on the red carpet at the L.A. premiereof her new film Why Did I Get Married. Janet as usual looks incredibly beautiful ! Audience reaction from advance screenings has been overwhelmingly positive. Tyler Perry believes this movie is his best work. I know I'll be running to the theater opening weekend. Janet also tells us when we can expect new music from her. Get ready for 2008 because I know she's gonna bring it!
Make sure you check out the following upcoming Janet appearances:
Oct. 11 - Good Morning America
Oct. 12 - Live with Regis & Kelly
Oct. 12 - Late Nite with Conan O'Brien (at midnight, Oct. 13)
Oct. 17 - The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Trouble viewing the video? Click here .
Ok I'm beginning to believe that there is something in the water in Cobb County that's turning people into homophobic bigots.Yesterday I wrote about the school board's dilemma regarding discrimination complaints from male teachers being denied the right to wear earrings to work and today more disturbing news is coming out of Cobb.
It seems Thomas Benjamin a student at Kell High has written a very controversial piece in his school newspaper titled Homosexuality:Beyond The Bible. In his piece Benjamin argues that homosexuality is a biolgical error and compares homosexuals to to alcoholics, sex addicts, drug addicts, and kleptomaniacs. Benjamin does not deny the fact that homosexuality may not be a choice but innate at birth, but he says "there are all kinds of problems, addictions, difficulties, experiences of things that are wrong, but you should try to work with the person to control that problem".
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual. Experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness. Obviously a decision Benjamin overlooked during his research for the article(if he did any research) .
He further dismisses loving same gender relationships on the fact that homosexual couples cannot reproduce. This argument is tired and lame at best. Benjamin and others who follow the same thought process fail to include couples who cannot bare children or couples who just choose not to have children. Are these relationships inferior to the unions that produce children or seen as an abomination in the eyes of God based on that one thing? Of course not.
Principal Trudie Donovan said Monday that she had reviewed the article before it was published last Friday, but said she had no authority to censor it. "My job is the safety and security of the school, not censorship," she said. Cobb County schools spokesman Jay Dillon said principals have no legal standing to say articles of student opinion can't be printed.
Under court rulings and school district policy, students can express their opinions and ideas publicly, privately, orally and in writing. "There may be no interference with that, even if a student's opinion is unpopular," he said. Exceptions might include obscenities or something that might cause a riot at school, Dillon said. "In such cases, she [Donovan] would be protected in censoring materials. "
Uh..huh . I'm sure the principal and the superintendent would be singing a different tune if a pro-gay article had been printed in the school newspaper. But that article probably would have never made it to print. It's sad and embarrasing that the south seems to be years behind the rest of the world when it comes to understanding and accepting people who are different. I'm sure Benjamin's parents gave him a pat on the back for his insulting, innacurate, and homophobic attempt at journalism. You know they say the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
I know the title of this post is a little strange but that's exactly how I felt when I read an article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding a possible school board decision in Cobb County to allow male teachers to wear earrings to work. Currently male teachers are not allowed to wear earrings under the present policy, but after a group of teachers complained that the policy was discriminatory the school board has decided to revisit the rule.
The entire article works hard to avoid implying that male teachers who wear earrings might be perceived as gay, or "worse" might actually be gay. But the people of Atlanta didn't waste anytime getting right to the point in the feedback section. I actually couldn't believe that this discussion was even taking place in 2007. I thought we had agreed that men would be able to wear earrings and still maintain their masculinity years ago? But whenever you're a teacher in charge of molding the minds of young people you often have to operate by a different set of rules.
Many parents worried that it would set a bad example for their children (I know what you're thinking, but it's Georgia), they even went down the slippery slope and said; "If men are allowed to wear earrings next they'll want to wear dresses and baggy pants to work". Sounds like "if we let the gays get married then we'll have to let a man and his dog get married and all of the polygamists", but I digress. I think it's a teachers job not only to teach out of the textbooks but to prepare their students for the real world and in the real world there's a lot of different people and some of them might be wearing earrings. As long as a teacher is doing their job effectively their sexual orientation or their decision to wear earrings should not be an issue.
Never before have I encountered people who actually believed that a person’s sexual orientation could be linked to a piece of jewelry, it's absolutely ridiculous if you ask me! But all you have to do is google it and you'll see that some people are still uncomfortable with the idea and there's even scripture that tells you why it's unacceptable. Now of course you know some right wing nut had to find a scripture that speaks to this issue, there's a scripture for everything.
I think the next time my mother asks me why I'm gay I'm just going to blame it on the earrings. But wait...my ears aren't pierced. Oh well... I guess it's back to gay by birth.
The school board is expected to vote on the policy change on October 18th and has asked the public's input. You can e-mail your thoughts to email@example.com.
The National Black Justice Coalition brings you NBJC TV on YouTube. This episode highlights the 2006 Black Church Summitt in Georgia with keynote speakers Rev. Al Sharpton and Bishop Yvette Flunder. I had the privilege of hearing Bishop Flunder preach for the first time about a month ago and she was a blessing to my spirit. You can check out her ministry at radicallyinclusive.com . Watching this video made me realize how much I miss my church family( I've gotta stop working on Sundays) and how blessed I am to be apart of such a dynamic and inclusive ministry.
Yes!!!!!! If you're a hard core Project Runway fan like I am then I'm sure you're eagerly awaiting the season 4 premiere on November 14th. The cast was recently announced and unlike on previous seasons there is no shortage of gay men behind the sewing machines. The cast will include four gay men as well as one HIV -positive man. Unfortunately, the show comes up short on men of color. I swear Atlanta designer Michael Knight from season 3 gave me so many different reasons to tune in each week! November 14th can't get here fast enough for me. I guess I'll have to break my routine of flipping back and forth between CNN and Fox News. In the words of Heid Klum to a designer having a bad day, "Auf Wiedersehen" !