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15 comments | Friday, October 23, 2009

Bring Black Back to the Castro !! from STOP AIDS Project on Vimeo.




If you've ever visited San Francisco's gay Castro district then you may have noticed the absence of people of color. The gayborhood that for decades has been a safe haven for LGBT people and a source of pride for many has also earned a reputation for being unfriendly if not downright hostile towards gay people of color.


Who could forget the charges of discrimination against SF Badlands, a Castro gay bar that became known for requiring black patrons to present multiple forms of identification before gaining entry.


Well now the Stop AIDS Project is working to create a more inclusive environment in the Castro that welcomes all people regardless of color with a new outreach program called Our Love.


What does all this have to do with stopping AIDS? Jason Riggs, the deputy director of Stop AIDS notes: "What we've found from years of study is that bisolation and depression are huge factors in HIV transmission. We're trying to make contact, and connect people more to their own communities to lessen that sense of isolation."


I've been to the Castro several times and the lack of diversity in a community that prides itself on such is appalling. The black men in this clip offer real insight on what it's like to be a gay man of color in the Bay Area. Let's hope that this is a step in the right direction to make the Castro available to everyone in the LGBT community.


h/t SF Bay Guardian

15 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I live in the Bay area and go to Bandlands at least twice a month. While I’ve never experience discrimination upon entering there I must say I could count the number of men of color of my hands that are there. It is a setting that took some time to get use to. It can be socially awkward at times if you are not use to being in a predominately white club. The entire Castro area can be quite an experience actually. It was for me. I always wondered where are all the brothas? As long as I am not being discriminated against I just try to enjoy myself. I am the same way with Pride in SF. Not to many men of color but the brotha’s that are usually there speak to me which is nice. I am glad to see there are people coming together to address the lack of men of color in the Castro.

October 23, 2009 4:48 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

EVERYTHING comes to down economics which cuts out people (usually Black). It is unfortunate that everyone adopts this policy of money first when they know and have numerous models of businesses, communities, cities, neighborhoods, schools, etc which have fallen victim to the short-term ill fated money making mantra.

There has to a level of human consideration and ethics built into these money-making models because it truly does eliminate diversity and a real community.

I was taught that a ghetto is a place where people of the same background live. In contemporary times we have all basically moved into ghettos rather than those wonderful places our grandparents struggled for --- called communities where everyone (low-income, EDUCATED, immigrants) lived and socialized together.

Jonathan - GOOD WORK!!!! Kirk

October 23, 2009 6:29 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This was an interesting video clip to watch. I am a black gay man and I visited SF for the first time ever last month for business. While I know it to be a GAY MECCA....it has never been on my radar to make a pilgrimage as I associated SF with "white" gay. While the focus is on Castro, the real gist is there are not many black folks in SF period compared to whites and asians. It's probably different over in Oakland, but that was my impression in SF. When on CASTRO I noticed the spaerse numbers of blacks while strolling the strip but that's what I expected. The question that was never really addressed is WHY should black swant to come to CASTRO street to hang out? What's there for them? Also what's not addressed is the dynamics of race that plays out in that area as well. the blacks you do see on the strip are more likely than not with a white man or in a white crowd...and sometimes unfortunately to associate with another black person is looked down upon. they see you coming and look the other way. So it beckons the question will one find another black person to date if that's what they desire. Also, the blacks featured in the video clip....to put it frankly....sound a bit "white washed" if you will. I mean good luck with that....but I doubt their efforts will yield much.

October 24, 2009 6:03 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Well, I think it is a step in the right direction. Atleast they are acknowledging that there is a problem!
I'm just wondering why doesn't some gay politician, like Harvey Milk, try and consolidate somewhere like Atlanta and make it the black equivalent of San fran?
As the above poster stated...the black people in the castro are not black people I can really identify with. It's a sad truth. I don't hate them or anything but some of them are the type who will avoid you simply because they don't want to be viewed as being "too black" to their white counterparts.

October 26, 2009 12:20 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Why would black gays want to hang out in the Castro?

Black Gay men move to Atlanta and DC to be with/around other black gay men.

If you are not wanted, why go there? Self hate is a Mutha......

October 26, 2009 8:44 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

If they don't want you there, why go? I don't understand why some black people feel the need to have others acknowledge their existence...

October 27, 2009 7:05 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The Castro should be a place where White, Black,Asian,Latino..Gay,Bi,Trans-Gender and straight can all co-exhist. The Castro should be a place of communicty for all of us..not just a few of us. We are all in this together !! We all make a difference in this community, this city, this state, and this NATION...STOP THE HATE !!

October 28, 2009 5:28 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have to address the Anonymous Poster who called the people in the video "frankly white-washed". I am in that video and I am not "white-washed", I was born in LA I have family that live in Compton TODAY- I know the struggle and I am exactly 4 generations removed from slavery-I know exactly who I am and who those people are who appeared in that Clip and none of them are white-washed. I am very proud of them and myself. What does white-washed mean in anyway? I will tell you it is internalized racism just like the brown paper bag test and that ignorance has NOTHING to do with White racism against black people in the Castro. We are coming together to bring black to the Castro and it is actually working.

Also you should watch the clip again since you missed so many of the points you claim were not "addressed" Let me save you the time:
1) All GAY people should "feel" comfortable coming to the Castro not matter what- that was said 3 or 4 different ways. Weather someone wants to do something or go somewhere or not is irrelevant and a completely different issue because we can have control or what people “want”. The ISSUE at hand is that the black people that come are often made to "feel" that they are not welcome because it is so white dominated. That is unacceptable in San Francisco or anywhere else. San Francisco has this image of being liberal but yet racism lives IN the Castro- A neighborhood that was found by minorities and that racism it can be stomped out with a little effort and work Harvey Milk taught us that. The Castro use to be a very homophobic neighborhood too—now it is largely recognized as the gay capital of the world. See how fast things can change!
2) As you stated there is a LACK of black people in SF in general, so our traditional communities have broken down a little and as such the black guys we saw we did not speak to--NOT because we did not want to, but because we simply did not know them. That is why we are reaching out and getting to know ALL the brothers no matter of their back round. We are reaching out to brothers who live in the bay area that make 300k a year as professionals to those who are homeless and (maybe) mentally unstable. That is the work we are doing and we are proud of it. I am glad we have “doubters” because I love proving people wrong- and sir, you are wrong and running around calling people you DON”T know a thing about white-washed is very immature and ignorant of you to be very frank. Shame on you!

Richard Adams

October 28, 2009 5:53 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have to address the Anonymous Poster who called the people in the video "frankly white-washed". I am in that video and I am not "white-washed", I was born in LA I have family that live in Compton TODAY- I know the struggle and I am exactly 4 generations removed from slavery-I know exactly who I am and who those people are who appeared in that Clip and none of them are white-washed. I am very proud of them and myself. What does white-washed mean in anyway? I will tell you it is internalized racism just like the brown paper bag test and that ignorance has NOTHING to do with White racism against black people in the Castro. We are coming together to bring black to the Castro and it is actually working.

Also you should watch the clip again since you missed so many of the points you claim were not "addressed" Let me save you the time:
1) All GAY people should "feel" comfortable coming to the Castro not matter what- that was said 3 or 4 different ways. Weather someone wants to do something or go somewhere or not is irrelevant and a completely different issue because we can have control or what people “want”. The ISSUE at hand is that the black people that come are often made to "feel" that they are not welcome because it is so white dominated. That is unacceptable in San Francisco or anywhere else. San Francisco has this image of being liberal but yet racism lives IN the Castro- A neighborhood that was found by minorities and that racism it can be stomped out with a little effort and work Harvey Milk taught us that. The Castro use to be a very homophobic neighborhood too—now it is largely recognized as the gay capital of the world. See how fast things can change!
2) As you stated there is a LACK of black people in SF in general, so our traditional communities have broken down a little and as such the black guys we saw we did not speak to--NOT because we did not want to, but because we simply did not know them. That is why we are reaching out and getting to know ALL the brothers no matter of their back round. We are reaching out to brothers who live in the bay area that make 300k a year as professionals to those who are homeless and (maybe) mentally unstable. That is the work we are doing and we are proud of it. I am glad we have “doubters” because I love proving people wrong- and sir, you are wrong and running around calling people you DON”T know a thing about white-washed is very immature and ignorant of you to be very frank. Shame on you!

As for the other poster who say if they don't want you go somewhere they do? And then they ponit to cities in the racist south? Sure there are more blacks in DC or the ATL but when I leave SF I am not in the rual south where you could still be hung TODay. Also that is the same FLAWED logic racist use--dont you know they still trying you send you back to Africa in GA and VA?

Richard Adams

October 28, 2009 5:56 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The visitor to the Bay Area below really hit the proverbial nail on the head.
Although I applaud the efforts of the men in the video.
Let's be real...if you really wanted to be around black men, why not move to oakland where the numbers are much larger and where the largest black area in the Northwest is located. Why would you be in the Castro of all places. That would be like moving to asia to meet african men. Wouldn't you fish where the fish are and try to build community in places where black people live?
It seems to me that these men may prefer to socialize with and date white men but are often reminded that they are black in SF (in negative ways) and therefore feel like outcast. As a result they have to see each other out for cultural support. But as the saying goes...when in Rome...

October 28, 2009 5:59 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

We definitely have to stick together as a community, regardless of color. The resurgence LGBT people of color back in the Castro is agreat idea that I hope leads to snow ball effect in terms of acceptance within our own community. Long live the resurgence... Thanks to all who have particiated in making this possible

October 28, 2009 6:17 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

To the second "anonymous when in Rome poster".

We are being real-very real and we do want to be around other black men. In FACT many of the men that come to our meetings LIVE in Oakland. Our program is NOT about dating it is about building and improving a coumunity of over 4,000black gay men in San Francisco. Also where racism lives for black peopel rest assue it is there for asian, latins, women and so on. We are the ones the break down the doors that everyone gets to walk through. Using the logic that you have to move is actually giving into the powers that MOVED black people out of San Francisco in the frist place. There is RACISM in Oakland too--should all the black gay men go somewhere eles when will stop running?

October 28, 2009 7:56 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

After reading some of the post I am a bit sadden. Judging a person based on how they look or sound is frankly unfair. I too was in the video and proudly so because I think it is very important for the Castro community or any other community to see that I am not just another insignificant (black) person that is going to accept being invisible. What do you think the CIVIL RIGHTS movement was all about? Before moving to San Francisco, I lived in Oakland, the so called "Black Capital" of Northern California and dreamed of nothing more than to date another black brotha... These are the messages I received:1) you don't make enough money, 2) You are too out, and 3) You ain't "Black" enough... So, when the writer who wrote that the guys in the video would not even date a black guy anyway...misses the mark! We are thinking the same about you! Just because we are educated, dress a certain way, or speak a certain way don't think for a minute that we all just want to date white boys because we live in the Castro. I want to date a man that cares about me THE PERSON! My hope is that he is black but you know what... If a white or brown man has the balls to step to me and treat me like I want and deserve to be treated... You DAMN right I am going to date him. Now, before you go and judge these people on the video you need to get to know them first and you will find that we are just as "black" as you claim to be... All you haters out there are mad because we are not afraid to affirm each other and stand up for the rights of all gay people of color to be happy no matter where they choose to live and that includes you as well... If you want to be a part of the new movement come and join us and show us who you really are! It is always easier to criticize and tear down an effort than it is to get involved with something good and positive and make a difference.

This group has deepened my understanding of what it means to be black in America, positive and negative. Like President Obama has said numerous times, "Change begins with ME, YOU, US!"

I appreciate the OUR LOVE program and those that are trying to make life better for me...

God Bless!

October 28, 2009 8:42 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Congratulations to the men of STOP AIDS Our Love Program and congratulations To the Executive Director and to Terry for all of his very, very hard work with bringing black men together in San Francisco.
Although I live in Oakland and rarely visit the castro, the hostile attitudes directed at black people in San Francisco has long been reported and is deeply ingrained in San Francisco culture. This overt hostility is not just relegated to the white Gay community but is a city wide occurrence and attitude directed at black people in general. A recent report produced by the City of San Francisco and the mayors office noted that San Francisco has the smallest black (not just black and gay but African Americans period)population of any major city in the USA. Now let's be clear...Oakland is not in San Francisco, for those who don't know,Oakland is across the Bridge (8 miles away from downtown SF) and is in The "San Francisco Bay Area" I make this point because SF has reacted to Oakland (which is the blackest city in the northwest) particularly since large numbers of blacks migrated here in the 40's and since the founding of the Black Panther Party in the 60s. Oakland is a city with a lot of Black Pride but it also has a high crime rate so San Franciscans view Oakland as the Bad Black Step child.
Oakland is the Brooklyn of the Bay Area and San Francisco could be "The Manhattan" of the Bay Area with whole lot less black folks. Once people understand the history of the Bay Area, they will understand why a combination of factors to include racism and economics is to blame for the treatment of black people, particularly the city of San Francisco. Even in Oakland, and cities across America to include Atlanta,D.C., and many historically black mecca's, more and more white people and other non-blacks are choosing to move into areas gentrifying traditionally African American communities.
San Francisco once had a thriving African American community in the Filmore District and a large numbers of black people used to live and party in the Castro,...that has changed probably forever. Oakland's demographics has always made it home to the largest numbers of Black LGBT people in Northern California and I hope that it will continue to be. Oakland has also always served as a major feeder to the San Francisco gay club scene and even though Oakland is now coming back into its own with new gay nightclubs catering to the Black LGBT market. We should all do what we can to support black LGBT people who may feel isolated, discriminated against and unappreciated no matter where they live instead of attacking them.
I live in the Bay Area and chose to live in Oakland because of its large African American community but also because its very diverse (non-black)cultures and the fact that it is in clearly one of the most beautiful places in America. This is America, and we should be able to live wherever we want without being treated like slaves or 2nd class citizens, no matter who we choose to party with, have sex with, or fall in love with.
Keep up the good work guys in the Castro and stay together.
Joe Hawkins
www.clubrimshot.com
Oakland,California

October 28, 2009 10:18 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 29, 2009 1:00 PM

 

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