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10 comments | Friday, October 30, 2009

If a guide were ever to be written for same gender loving couples of color I'd want Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett to pen it. This celebrity power couple have been together for over a decade and are now sharing lessons learned as the latest couple in our successful Coupled Up series.

Gay audiences are familiar with their work as the creator/director of the groundbreaking here! TV series The DL Chronicles as well as The Outside of Relationships; a web series created to promote healthy relationships in the LGBT community.

Deondray on how they met:

Deondray: We met on an indie movie that two of our mutual friends wrote and directed. Quincy doubled as a special effects makeup artist (he had to hide my eyebrows with makeup – I was playing Ronnie Devoe from New Edition). We have been together 12.5 yrs.

Reflecting on the early possibility of their relationship becoming serious:

Quincy: My long term vision was that of a wife and children. I had very heterosexist ambitions due to being socialized to deny my same sex desires. I never thought it was possible then to be in love with a man. My perspective was changed and I had to reconstruct what my heart felt against what the outside world told me to feel or not feel.

Deondray: I was still in a long distance relationship at the time with someone who only wanted to be gay during their once a month visit, behind closed doors in my bedroom. Quincy was supposed to be a one-night, “I’m gonna get mines” type deal. But somehow I knew, even before we did the deed, that this was someone who had crept into my consciousness. He made me feel new, needed, and we were always laughing. I didn’t have much to smile about in my previous relationship.

Quincy & Deondray on their courtship: Proceeding with caution vs jumping in:

Quincy: We dated for about 6 months or so before circumstances forced me to move in with him. It wasn’t an act of jumping in but being thrust into action so to speak. I would say I was careful because I had so much explaining to do to myself. I was very guarded and I didn’t have a model to compare a successful male/male relationship to. So it was all scarily new but ironically exciting too.

Deondray: It was all kind of circumstantial. We “cautiously jumped right in.” Quincy was just at the end of a not-so-perfect roommate situation and was looking for a new place to stay about six months into the relationship. I had a very spacious apartment in Sherman Oaks at the time. I had a roommate too who was straight and didn’t know that I was gay. The good thing was the apartment was sectioned off so perfectly that I didn’t ever have to run into my roommate if I didn’t want to. Quincy soon moved in with me, and this arrangement worked... For a while...

Quincy & Deondray on the reaction of family & friends after coming out individually & as a couple:

Quincy: The initial reactions were those of shock or being slightly taken aback, but overall it was mostly a positive experience. I would say 75% of the important people in my life could have cared less. Then there were the remaining 25% that needed to cope with it in their own ways. We have had to teach and lead by example along the way.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of challenging negative stereotypes. It’s not always an easy job. I think the scariest part of coming out was overcoming my own deep seated fears about how people would respond. We all fear being abandoned by those we love or being ostracized and cast aside by your community. Ultimately, it is those self doubts and fears that are hardest to overcome.

Deondray: To my astonishment, the people closest to me were not surprised, and say they knew for years. This was a relief at first, then in retrospect, I wondered, “Then why did you force me into so many boxes? Why did you always try to hook me up with girls? Why all of the uncomfortable questions and critiques about my masculinity.” I guess there was a difference between knowing it and accepting it.

Then there were others who threw Bible verses at me, and shunned me, but their friendship was always suspect anyhow.

I have family members who accept it, but won’t speak of us in the context of a relationship. My family often introduces Quincy as a nephew, or cousin. No one ever says, “This is Deondray’s boyfriend, Quincy.” I guess it could be out of respect. There are times when I too will hold the specifics back until I feel it’s appropriate and safe; usually after the newcomers have gotten to know us as people first.

Quincy on the pressure to remain closeted & keep their relationship a secret in Hollywood:

I am a public figure and my work record and personal history is now public domain. So it is rare now that my work environment isn’t already aware of who I am and my work in the Gay community. However, I have found myself in a work environment outside of the gay community that was heterosexist on many occasions, and depending on the situation, I will refrain from speaking about my sexuality if it does not contribute to my goals there. There is still lots of discrimination, racially and sexually, in Hollywood.

Like most African Americans you learn to play the game and wear the faces to get where you need to before you can challenge the status quo. However, if asked directly, I would not lie, but if there is no place in conversation for it, I won’t bring it up. So I wouldn’t say I returned to the closet, maybe dimmed the lights a few times.

In Hollywood there is a tendency to typecast based on perception. Once you establish a certain reputation people have difficulty seeing you outside of those parameters. You become the BLACK director, the GAY director, the BLACK GAY director vs simply a DIRECTOR. My favorite director, Spike Lee, says that he is a DIRECTOR, not a BLACK director. Why are we always hyphenated, some second class version of what we really are? We become the adjective and not the noun. The adjective gives someone else your defining power. The noun is the power to define yourself.

We as a community subject ourselves to that as well. The rainbow flag or the black fist comes through the door before the person does. I am out and proud, and I will fight hard and tirelessly for equality, but my sexuality is not my identity, it is simply a part of the whole. Some people will dislike me for that stance. Oh well.

Quincy & Deondray on the myth that committed black gay couples are non-existent & success depends on dating another race:

Deondray: Well, Quincy and I are black, and we’ve stuck it out for 13 years, so go figure. I’ve never actually been in a committed relationship with someone outside my race, so it would be unfair for me to comment because I have no vantage point to speak from. I have “dated” outside of my race, and I can tell you that the same challenges were there.

It’s not to say that mixed relationships don’t work, a lot of my friends are in them and are genuinely happy, but to say that one is preferable over the other, I don’t know. I think who ever we chose as partners have to be compatible, and compatible means, having similar interests, goals, ambitions, philosophies, background, etc. Ethnicity is really inconsequential.

I always say gay blacks are still infants in the dating game. We haven’t had as much exposure or practice. We don’t have a strong community or strong support groups that foster our self love and existence, so we still date in fear and self-loathing.

Then there’s the new generation that idealizes relationships which only encourages “serial monogamy,” meaning that they’re committed to someone new every other month because of the most trivial things. No one sticks in there and gets to know anyone. As soon as some food flies out of his mouth while he’s talking, you’re out the door and ignoring his phone calls.

Quincy: I know way more same-culture long term relationships than cross-cultural ones, especially amongst Black gay men. I don’t think race plays as big of a role in it as people make it out to. You are no more likely to find compatibility with another race than you are with your own race. However, perception shapes reality and if you believe that, you may act accordingly and subconsciously look for ways to stay committed and falsely attribute your success to factors such as race.

It is possible that one’s perception of Black men may shape their interaction thus molding their relationship experiences leading to either failure or success. If you think they are all no good, then that’s what you expect and demand of them, whether you are aware of that or not.

Quincy & Deondray on the obstacles of maintaining a healthy relationship:

Deondray: Quincy and I have always been good about getting things off our chests. Most things don’t go unsaid around here. When there’s an issue we get it out and in the open and deal with it. It may sometimes involve cussing and screaming, but we’re really always just saying, “Stay with me, damn it!” As long as you’re fighting to stay together, have that fight. If your anger is full of contempt, hatred, and disgust you need to reevaluate the relationship.

Quincy and I will come right out and ask the question to each other, “Do you still want to be here?” And sometimes in the heat of passion, we’ve yelled, “No!” As soon as the word flies from our lips, we are running to go catch it and swallow it back up. So far we’ve never meant it. If you can say no to that question and mean it, then don’t force the issue. Have the courage to end it.

Quincy and I live in the now. The future is too vast and expansive to put restrictions on it. When I do ponder my future, he is there, but we try not to hold today’s actions responsible for what MIGHT happen tomorrow.

Quincy: Developing a level of respect for one another and a since of selflessness, forgiveness (not foolishness) and most importantly trust. Love is not the basis of a relationship. I can love him to death but if I don’t respect his feelings or I am unable to set aside my own selfishness then the relationship is doomed. People put so much on love. I am certain that many men love their mates and continue to hurt them because they lack the other important ingredients.

So I would say the biggest obstacle for me has been learning outside of the myth of LOVE and discovering and nurturing the other important ingredients to make it successful. Without those we are living a lie. And to tie it all together COMMUNICATION is the main tool to develop these key ingredients. If you can’t communicate in order to learn one another, it’s a waste of time.

Quincy & Deondray on the future prospect of marriage:

Deondray: I would like to have a ceremony someday. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Though I do have some qualms with whole label “marriage.” None of the definitions apply to what I want my commitment to be based upon. We are non-descript religiously, so having the Church recognize our union is not important to me, and he isn’t property or chattel, so I don’t need a marriage.

I would, however, like to one day have a commitment ceremony that is recognized by my state and local government and comes with all the same legal rights of a “marriage”. That would be just fine for me.

Quincy: I firmly believe in the separation of church and state. I don’t need anyone’s church to approve of my relationship. My belief in God or not is personal and not subject to anyone’s opinion. So I believe in a two tiered system; go to the church to receive your “religious” ceremony, but go to the state for your benefits. One shouldn’t prevent the other.

Quincy & Deondray on the effect of Proposition 8 on their relationship as California residents:

Deondray: My relationship didn’t hurt much because Quincy and I validate ourselves in our relationship, and no certificate could change that, but socially it stung like hell. It was just another reminder that we are still half-citizens in this country.

Quincy: Prop 8 had no affect on our relationship personally, as we were not planning on getting married when this all came to surface. We don’t hold the same high esteem or belief in “marriage” as many. People tried to convince us to get hitched during the brief legal period to prove a point. Our relationship is not to prove anyone’s point and we refused to use it as political play. However, we were visible and vocal for those who wanted it and we supported that right for them. So consequentially, we still became a Prop 8 poster couple.

For us it is a matter of equality. If you don’t speak out against injustice when it does not affect you, you can’t expect the same not to happen to you when it does matter.

Quincy & Deondray on keeping the flame in their relationship after so many years:

Quincy: Stamina. Lots of stamina. After 12.5 yrs I still can wipe the dust of my lenses and see the man I love and find him sexy and attractive. Sometimes we have to step back and remember how to see each other without the years clouding it. It is a fact that if you stare at something long enough it will disappear from your sight. You have to reset your perspective to see it again. Same goes for long term relationships. You have to step back and look at each other from a new place.

Deondray: You ever heard of Ginch Gunch underwear? Quincy in a pair of those is all I need! Lawdamercy!

Many thanks to Quincy & Deondray for sharing their love with us.


Black gay activist and DC for Marriage president Michael Crawford brilliantly executes his testimony in support of marriage equality in the district and slams the anti-gay black clergy who are working tirelessly to promote the idea that the black community is monolithic in its opposition to marriage equality.

"A number of our opponents have worked really hard both today and in recent months to give the impression that Arican-Americans are categorically against marriage equality. And I'm here to say that that is categorically untrue", says Crawford.

"When we have ministers from outside the district come in and try to give the impression that the African-American community in the district is opposed to marriage equality- it's clear form their point of view they don't know what's going on in the district", he added.

Crawford is absolutely correct in his assessment. While Bishop Harry Jackson has been a visible opponent in the marriage equality fight there are a number of clergy who have come out in support of the marriage equality bill that have received little or no media attention.

Rev. Dennis & Christine Wiley helped form D.C. Clergy for Marriage, a coalition of about 200 ministers representing nearly every faith who support allowing same-sex couples to wed.

"We believe as African Americans who have been discriminated against . . . we don't have the right to discriminate against anyone else."

Get into Crawford's testimony in the video below:


The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has voted Bernice King, daughter of late civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into office as their newly elected president with a vote by the board of directors of 23-15.

King succeeds former SCLC president Charles Steele who resigned after serving five years in the position and the Rev. Byron Clay who served as interim president.

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

King was elected over Arkansas Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen. King was not present when the vote was announced. Rev. Byron Clay, interim president, phoned King with news of her victory.

"In the spirit of your late father, with great anticipation, we look forward to your leadership," Clay told King in the phone call.

Clay said the board will meet with King soon before making any other announcements. "She is excited, I am excited and the nation will be excited," Clay said.

King will be the seventh permanent leader in the organization’s history. Founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Joseph Lowery, among others, the SCLC was at one time one of the country’s most powerful direct action civil rights groups.

She becomes the first female leader, but the third King to serve as president, following her father and older brother, Martin Luther King III.

As far as the nation being excited about King taking over an organization whose political relevancy has been called into question in recent years much like it's sister organization The NAACP seems a little overstated.

I imagine members within the SCLC who were seeking a fresh start with a progressive leader who would provide new leadership and not more of the same are disappointed today.

Bernice King has proven to be a polarizing figure on gay rights issues and will surely be at odds with members of her organization such as Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Los Angeles SCLC chapter who has come out publicly in support of marriage equality. Rev. Lee was threatened to be fired from his position due to his support of marriage equality in July.

Bernice King also serves as a minister at the notoriously homophobic New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia under the leadership of Bishop Eddie Long. The pair organized a march against same-sex marriage in downtown Atlanta that attracted thousands in 2004. The state of Georgia added a constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage shortly thereafter.

Thanks Michael


You may recall reading about new independent artist Malik on the blog earlier this summer when I posted a preview of the video for his debut single "Crazy". Malik has since become an loldarian.com favorite and not just for his runway ready looks, but his sultry voice that could easily place him among the heavy hitters in mainstream R&B.

The full video for Crazy is now available online and features Noah's Arc alum Jennia Fredrique as Malik's love interest with direction and stunning visual images by The DL Chronicles creators Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett whom you'll see more of on the blog later.

Malik is currently laying the finishing touches on his debut EP "Before Dawn" in his hometown of Philadelphia. According to the sexy singer " Before Dawn represents a resonance that no matter what someone is going through in life, good or bad; they have the comfort of knowing that when the sun rises, a new day begins."

Fans should expect a late fall release of Before Dawn. You can download Crazy by visiting Malik's website here. Get into the video below:

3 comments | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson may have earned a one game suspension, negative publicity, and loss of an estimated 600,000 in earnings after yelling to two reporters in the locker room on Monday to "get your faggot asses out of here", but it may be the disappointment and public statements from his father that will have the greatest impact.

Kansas City.com reports:

He said it hurts that his son used gay slurs in public.“That’s just not who we are and not what we believe,” said the elder Johnson, 56. “It’s not how he was raised.

“It’s tough for me as a father.” He said young Larry learned that hateful or inappropriate words are “just not tolerated.”

Larry Johnson issued an apology on Tuesday: “I regret my actions,” the statement read. “The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate. I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”

In the uproar following the anti-gay remarks, the former two-time Pro Bowl player "apologized" to NFL fans, Chiefs fans, teammates and staff—everyone but gays. It was obvious Johnson was not sorry about demeaning gays, notes Rod Mccollum of Rod 2.0.

Rashad Robinson, senior programs director for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said Johnson’s apology was a good start. Robinson said it was a sign that Johnson takes seriously the inflammatory nature of the slurs, and Robinson said he hopes Johnson learned the hard way that words can be damaging.

Johnson will be suspended from playing until November 9. His agent Peter Schaffer has vowed to appeal the decision.


If you're like me then you're probably still enjoying the stand-up comedy routine from D.C. resident Earnestine Copeland from earlier this week that was supposed to serve as her testimony in opposition to D.C.'s pending marriage equality bill . Well it seems that the hearings is a gift that keeps on giving.

Anti-gay bigot Bishop Harry Jackson and chief organizer in the movement to keep the D.C. LGBT community second class citizens receives the smackdown from gay council member David Catania.

Jackson's insane plea to have the majority vote on the rights of a minority while invoking a little "black history lesson" comes back to bite him in the ass in a major way.

Catania also uncovers Jackson who has a home in Maryland and an apartment in D.C. (gotta have some place to bring the trade) has never voted in D.C. elections in the past ten years.

This is worth 6:52 seconds of your day. Get into it.


The New York Times offers a wonderful look inside the life of veteran musical theater performer Terri White, star of the new Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow which opened last night at the St. James Theater in New York City.

White, who belts out the show stopping number "Necessity" that will no doubt earn her a Tony nomination next year, knows the meaning of the word first hand and brings life experience to her robust performance after a year of living in New York City parks before landing her current gig.

From The New York Times:

In the summer of 2008, Ms. White, 61, could not make rent. She was evicted from her apartment of 14 years, after a breakup with a longtime girlfriend. She could not work. She also could not find a way to ask for help. For three months, when she was not crashing on a friend’s couch, she slept in Washington Square Park.

To avoid the police, Ms. White usually alternated sleeping for an hour with walking for an hour, which is what she was doing when she ran into Officer David Taylor on Grove Street at 4 a.m. one day last fall. Officer Taylor had come to know Ms. White when he was patrolling the West Village. He admired her energy, and, off-duty, came to see her perform. He had never seen her looking like she did on Grove Street. “She is usually someone who lifts your energy if you’re feeling down,” he said. “That night she looked soulless. I was concerned for her — scared.”

Officer Taylor made a few phone calls. A friend in Jersey City had a place with a basement apartment no one was using. Ms. White moved in the next day, rent-free. She got herself back into the mental shape to take advantage of opportunities that came her way. An old friend in the Florida Keys invited her to perform at her nightclub, and another friend bought her a plane ticket.

In Florida, she met Donna Barnett, a stately 62-year-old jewelry designer — and, like Ms. White, a cigarette fiend, a fan of road trips and musicals and Maker’s Mark. The two fell in love, and moved in together.

So, now, almost a year to the day after she last slept on a bench, Ms. White is back on Broadway, in a play she first performed in as a child, at the St. James Theater. On Sunday, she and Ms. Barnett are having a commitment ceremony at the St. James.

Talk about coming full circle and overcoming adversity. Congratulations to Terri & Donna!

Get into Terri White's performance of "Necessity" here.

Update: The ad has been removed. Now I need to find some Advil for the headache I got in the process.

A few of you have e-mailed me about the troubling anti- marriage equality ad that is being displayed on the blog and I'd like to take a minute to reaffirm my support for marriage equality as well as explain why the ad appears. This is a common problem that many gay bloggers run into who utilize Google AdSense as we have very little control over the ads that appear on our sites. All ads are supposed to mirror the content of the blog but as you can see this doesn't always happen.

Now a word about comments. This blog is designed for open dialogue and comments are strongly encouraged. However, due to the number of racist and homophobic comments that I have to moderate on a daily basis offenders who have nothing meaningful to bring to the discussion will be rejected and/or banned. And FYI: You can save the e-mail cries of censorship and personal attacks. Take a minute and read what it says at the top of the blog. "Living Out Loud with Darian".

Thank you guys for being apart of this journey with me.


13 comments | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And this my friends is a perfect example of why marriage equality will be won in DC and eventually across the nation. The arguments against gay marriage simply aren't making sense any more, especially when people like D.C. resident and "Christian" Earnestine Copeland are making the arguments.

Copeland was given three minutes yesterday during a scheduled marriage equality hearing to voice her opposition against the pending legislation and used the opportunity to "preach" about demons, immorality, and Sodom & Gomorrah before going into a tirade about being fired from her job. Hmmm...I wonder if her insanity played a part in her being fired.

According to blogger and D.C. activist Michael Crawford, who can be seen in the background of the video, the breakdown of testimony heard yesterday was 81 for equality, 15 against, and 8 no-shows.

Let's hope Copeland and her ilk continue to make our case for us. Get into the video below:

h/t Towleroad

0 comments | Monday, October 26, 2009

New York City's Hetrick Martin Institute home of The Harvey Milk School for LGBTQ students have joined forces with fashion giant Levi Strauss to raise 500,000 to support its services for LGBTQ youth.

The campaign — GiveThemHope has already raised nearly 100,000 and features current students and graduates of The Harvey Milk School in a new PSA.

Milk has become a safe haven for LGBTQ youth in New York City who were often victims of verbal and physical abuse in traditional school settings. The school boasts a nearly 90% graduation rate and provides an environment where students sexual orientation, gender identity and or expression isn't a road block to a solid education.

This is yet another example of Levi Strauss' unwavering commitment to LGBT issues. To learn more about the campaign and to donate visit the official website here.

Get into one of several PSA's below via afterelton.com:

More Gay Movies & Entertainment News


It's amazing how an extensive network of friends on Facebook can give you the opportunity to reunite with old friends and in some cases view some incredible eye candy. Meet the newest loldarian.com crush in the sexy Deandre White.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but I think the same can be said for Georgia if what Deandre is packing is any indication.

An aspiring model, Deandre's Model Mayhem profile confirms his willingness to being photographed nude. I'm not certain but I don't think anyone who reads this blog would turn down a chance to see those photos. We're keeping our fingers crossed for an invitation to the photo shoot. Enjoy!


The Advocate interviews YouTube sensation and media personality B. Scott in a revealing interview that gives fans and critics alike an opportunity to learn more about the man behind the brand and the big personality that has captured the hearts of thousands of love muffins all across cross the country and beyond.

Having grown his online presence beyond weekly YouTube videos where he provides commentary on pop culture to full fledge celebrity interviews on the new B. Scott Show, his fan base continues to expand as he rejects the negative approach of most entertainment bloggers and prefers to infuse his commentary with positivity. He shared his decision to stay away from the negativity that has become commonplace in the blogosphere & the gay community with The Advocate.

"Well, there’s so much negativity out there, especially amongst the gays. We’re so often put in the position of critiquing other people — that’s what a lot of people expect from our community — and I want to represent something else. I want to be a breath of fresh air. I also feel like the negativity card isn’t one that I have to play. I think a lot of people play that card because they have to — they don’t have anything else to offer, they don’t have any other talent than the talent for breaking someone down."

B. Scott also addressed his critics within the gay community who believe he perpetuates the worst stereotypes often associated with gay men:

I know that some gay people think that because I’m flamboyant I’m hurting the [LGBT] community instead of helping it. The way I see it, though, is that I’m out on the battle lines every day. I have to hold my head up high as I walk down the street and someone calls me a faggot. If I can do that and if I can get people to accept and love me as a result of it, imagine the acceptance and love it will bring to everyone else [in the LGBT community].

Loldarian.com has a long history with B. Scott having interviewed him for CLIK Magazine at the beginning of his career. One thing that I've always admired about him is his authenticity, what you see is what you get. He is what I like to refer to as an "accidental activist", someone who doesn't wear the title but whose work helps further the cause.

In a crowded field of YouTube vloggers who profess to advocate for the community but whose work proves otherwise, B. Scott has been clear about his goals and intentions from the start and for that he has my respect.

Get into the full interview here on Advocate.com. And check out The B. Scott show here.


As marriage equality becomes inevitable in D.C. the chorus of anti-gay religious leaders opposing such legislation is becoming louder. Anti-gay crusader Bishop Harry Jackson and a host of black ministers converged on Freedom Plaza in D.C. on Sunday to protest pending same-sex marriage legislation with an estimated 150 supporters.

The Washington Blade reports:

Jackson, who is leading the fight against a same-sex marriage bill introduced by gay Council member David Catania, announced at the rally that he would begin Monday a 21-day fast to help build support for a ballot initiative on marriage.

“It’s about the next generation. It’s about marriage and the family,” he said. “This is definitely not a civil rights issue.”

A review of the rally’s crowd indicated that about 95 percent of the people were black. Several of the speakers said whites, Latinos and members of other ethnic groups were among those strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Mayor Adrian Fenty has said he will sign the bill. Once he does so, it goes to Congress, where it must undergo a 30 legislative day review. Gay rights supporters in Congress have said they believe they have the votes, with the backing of House and Senate Democratic leaders, to defeat any attempt to overturn a D.C. same-sex marriage law.

There is video of Sunday's rally via YouTube user MissingPeacePro. The visual image of a crowd of black people opposing the civil rights of another minority while invoking God is painful and infuriating to watch. The constitutionality of the separation of church and state just doesn't seem to resonate with them.

Get into the "end of marriage as we know it" hysteria in the video below:

Traveling during the AM. New updates should resume this afternoon and continue intermittently throughout the day. Thanks for your patience.

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

6 comments | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The marriage of Kenyan gay couple Charles Ngengi to his longtime partner Daniel Chege Gichia in London last Saturday may have been considered one of many same-sex unions that have taken place since the U.K. enacted civil partnerships in 2005, but in their native Kenya the nuptials have been called "un-African" and have been met with overt hatred.

Leading the way in the public persecution of the happily married couple is The Daily Nation, one of Kenya's popular newspapers. In an outright homophobic and offensive piece penned by Daily Nation writers Gitau Wa Njenga and Gakhia Weru the couple and their relationship is repeatedly referred to as "bizarre" and "unusual" and Gichia is referred to as the "bride".

The writers also go out of their way to report that their 30-minute ceremony was absent of any religious elements and the families of both men were "conspicuously absent" obviously implying shame as the reason for their absence.

From The Daily Nation:

Sources close to the couple told the Nation in London on Saturday that despite widespread condemnations, the couple was ‘happy and very much in love’. “Chege and Ngengi are in love, and they have decided to ‘publicly declare their love’ within the legal framework of this country,” said a source who sought anonymity.

Another Kenyan said: “It time the Kenyan community woke up to reality, some of us are gay; Kenyans have to get over it.”

Kenyans won't be getting over it any time soon and their laws reflect the violent and homophobic attitude towards gay men. The penalty for "homosexual offenders" in Kenya is 5 to 14 years in prison.

It struck me how similar the negative attitudes are towards homosexuality in Africans and African-Americans. Many of whom base their hatred and intolerance on their religious views and the belief that homosexuality has been forced upon us by other races and are not a natural occurrence in people of color. The nearly 200 comments on this article echoes this ridiculous point of view.

I highly recommend that you read the article in full and the comments if you can digest that much hatred. In 2009 stories like this persist and it's simply baffling to me.


The trailer for the new documentary "8": The Mormon Proposition was released online a couple of days ago and if the trailer is any indication of what to expect from the film then it's a must see.

Written and directed by Reed Cowan and narrated by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, the documentary takes an in-depth look at the influence of the Mormon Church on the passage of Prop 8; the discriminatory amendment to the California constitution that effectively banned same-sex marriage.

It's a gripping and eye-opening trailer about the lives destroyed by Prop 8 and the anti-gay bigots who worked tirelessly to ensure it's passage.

Get into the trailer below:

8 comments | Monday, October 19, 2009

It's been said that major U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco can be an extremely lonely experience when it comes to matters of the heart, and that's just for heterosexuals. But it can often be an even greater challenge for same gender loving couples of color who are looking to enter into committed relationships.

Allow me to introduce you to Jason & Anthony, an educator and fashion stylist and our latest couple to be featured in our ongoing "Coupled Up" series. This couple hails from Los Angeles and are proving that long-term commitment exists in the city of Angels.

Jason & Anthony on how they met:

Jason: How we met is two fold. Initially we saw each other in church; I was ushering and the Pastor’s wife invited Anthony. I remember staring at him the whole service to the point that I know he must have felt uncomfortable because I felt uncomfortable for paying more attention to him than to the message; however I swore that I would get him.

Two weeks later I was on a phone chat line and I had a message in my inbox from someone named Tone. We exchanged messages over the next day or so until we decided to meet. When he pulled up to the front of my house he asked me to come down. When I saw him in the car I almost passed out. “You look familiar do I know you?, he said. “I don’t think so, but if you remember I don’t want to know", I shot back. I invited him in and as the say the rest is history. We have been together just over 4 years. 

Anthony: The first time I saw Jason I was like "why does this guy have on lounge shoes while he is ushering"?. I come from a staunch Baptist church. Jason walked past me about 100 times to the point where I could not concentrate on the service. I didn’t think too much about it at the time until he walked up to my car two weeks later. For the life of me I could not place how I knew him, but I knew I did. When I left his house I called him and that’s when he told me where I knew him from, and we’ve been together ever since.

Reflecting on the early possibility of their relationship becoming serious:

Jason: When Anthony left my house I have to admit I was struck, 5-10 minutes after he left he called me and we spoke that night until about 3 or 4 in the morning. That’s when I knew this was it. Not a day has gone by in 4 years that we have not spoken on the phone or in person.

Anthony: When I met Jason I thought that it would be just a hook up, because I did not think that there were sexy, smart and intelligent guys on the chat lines. However, the great night, green eyes and great conversation until 4 in the morning captured my heart. 

Jason & Anthony on their courtship:

We were pretty serious immediately. The only time that we have not physically been in each other’s presence is when either one of us are away on business. My best friend said to me I give you 6 months and you guys will be living together; well it was 6 months and 1 day before he moved in.

Jason & Anthony on the reaction of family & friends after coming out individually & as a couple:

Jason: I came out when I was a teenager and my family has always been supportive. I didn’t come from one of those families that put you out in the street or disowns you. We are very tight. Before I left Philadelphia we would get together once a week as a family and go out to dinner. My family accepted Anthony with open arms as part of the family; their first meeting was at Thanksgiving and Anthony was scared to move. Everyone was looking at me wondering why I was making his plate.

Anthony: When I was a little boy I remember an annual car ride with my mother to Florida to visit my aunts and uncles. This one particular time with silence in the car my mother turned and said, “No matter what you are my child; no matter what anyone says I gave birth to you and I love you. My family is a true black American family; anyone who crosses the threshold is welcomed with open hands. Jason was scared of my dad and whenever the two were in the same room Jason would never speak. My dad eventually asked if something was wrong with him.

Jason & Anthony on the myth that committed black gay couples are non-existent:

Jason: I know several black SGL men who have been in relationships upwards of 25 years. That’s where my inspiration comes from and that is what I strive for. There are a lot of black SGL couples out there who are raising families, building homes and giving back to the community.

Anthony: I have always taken pride in my relationships and believe that sustainable, committed relationships can be obtained but it just takes work. The question is, are you willing to put your hand to the plow? I think seeing two black SGL male couples is one of the greatest things to see and Jason and I often gush when we see other couples out at dinner. 

Jason & Anthony on the obstacles of maintaining a healthy relationship and resolving conflict:

Jason: Our biggest obstacle was communication. I was very independent and did not feel as though I had to explain myself to anyone because I'm capable of taking care of myself. After several arguments Anthony sat me down and explained his views, which were valid.

The way that we resolve conflict is to always try to listen to the others point of view. No matter how mad we get, we both sleep in the same bed. As long as both parties are under the same roof things can often be worked out. When someone feels the need to sleep somewhere else that’s dangerous territory. For us divorce is not an option. We have both agreed to work out whatever problems may arise and so far it is working for us.

Anthony: I think taking a vacation every chance you get whether it’s 8 days in Vegas or jumping up from the dinner table and heading to Palm Springs for two days in the sun always helps make for a healthy long lasting relationship. There’s nothing like getting to know your partner on vacation.

Jason & Anthony on the future prospect of marriage:

We do not need the title of marriage to feel committed to one another. There are countless straight couples that have been married only to get divorced within the first year. Mainstream America constantly says that gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of marriage. We think straight marriage is doing a good enough job of it on its own. We are happy and at peace. We do believe that SGL couples should have the same benefits as straight couples, but until then we make sure that we have protected one another with living wills, trust, policies etc.

Jason & Anthony on the importance of religion/spirituality in their relationship:

There is no conflict between our spirituality and sexuality. We are a couple that has been joined together and through faith believe we’re meant to be together. We both come from very religious backgrounds. In our home God is first and we consult him before we make decisions. “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” Jason’s spirit was one of the first things that attracted me to him. We love the Lord and both serve in our church.

Jason & Anthony on how they keep the flame burning in their relationship after four years:

Jason: Well “I” know what makes him happy and I do my best to keep him that way. I can’t put to much information out there; when you have a good man you want to keep him. They always told me if you want to keep your man don’t talk too much, can’t let everyone know everything. But I will tell you this we spend an unusual amount of time together.

Anthony: We know where each other lack and we build up where the other is lacking. One thing that always turns my head is his cooking. Jason loves to cook and express his love for me through his cooking. Many times watching him cook has led to late dinners (if you know what I mean).

Many thanks to Jason & Anthony for sharing their love with us.


"We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men"-Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services

The controversy continues over the new dress code issued to Morehouse College students by President Robert Franklin and every one seems to have an opinion. The new dress code has been the topic of conversation from college campuses to CNN and was even apart of this morning's Hot Topic's segment on The View.

The policy bans wearing hats in buildings, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus. But the new rule that is getting the most attention is the ban on men wearing garments traditionally reserved for women. Morehouse has implemented a "no cross dressing" rule that has quite a few people up in arms.

This latest controversy comes just 2 weeks after a Morehouse employee was fired for sending a homophobic e-mail blasting the nuptials of a black gay couple from her work e-mail account.

Morehouse also has a reputation for being one of the most homophobic HBCU's despite having it's fair share of gay students. It's also important to note that the campus gay organization Safe Space voted 27 - 3 to support the new dress code policy.

Safe Space president Kevin Webber offered this quote to Inside Higher Ed: "If male students wear feminine clothing what impact does it have on how intelligent they are, their grade point average and how much community service they do? We are focusing too much on the exterior. If you put a clown in a suit, he's still a clown."

Here's a sample of the reactions from folks across the blogosphere:

So here’s the thing though. You might as well have kept that long extensive list to yourself and did this instead:
*Clears throat* *taps mic*
“No gays or thugs allowed. Thank you. Management.”
*drops mic*
-Awesomely Luvvie

So at Morehouse you can shoot a fellow student three times and stay in school, but rockin some 6-inch Louboutins will get u suspended? WTF?
Patrik-Ian Polk via Twitter

The issue of whether Morehouse has the right to impose a dress code is separate and apart from whether or not they should embrace broader definitions of manhood and masculinity. It's a private school and no one is forced to go there. You can choose from thousands of other institutions. However, if you choose to enroll, then you must accept the school's rules. You don't get to negotiate them.

But Morehouse also needs to understand that "men" come in a range of forms, and not some narrowly drawn Black image from a John Wayne picture. They have had and will continue to have male students who defy existing images of masculinity, but who are no less capable of excelling in life and serving as a fine example of the Morehouse graduate.
Bernard Tarver

As an African American man who has deep sense of admiration for Morehouse's legacy (confession: I was very close to choosing Morehouse over NYU for college), I'm disturbed. This "proper attire" policy not only obviously contains an egregiously heterosexist bias, it also contains a deeply problematic class-politics.

Let's be real, Morehouse Pres: are we afraid that if these Morehouse boys wear baggy jeans, they might look a little too much like the local, poor community of the Castleberry section of Atlanta (where Morehouse is located)?
Frank Leon Roberts via The Daily Voice

I think it's a safe assumption to say the "T" is there as lip service based on that vote. Given how there's already a lack of affirmation for LGB at many HBCUs, the trans issue is simply not enough on the radar to put up a fight, and that's sad.
Pam Spaulding responding to the disappointing voted by Morehouse's Safe Space

So where do you stand on this issue? Do you agree with the new dress code or do you believe it's another attempt by Morehouse faculty to push it's openly gay students back into the closet?


For every coming out horror story of a black LGBT person there is always a few that challenge the perception that blacks are more homophobic and are likely to reject and or disown a person once it's discovered that they're LGBT. In the case of Bonita Spikes and her transgender daughter Michelle, her difference and a devastating hate crime attack drew them closer.

Bonita Spikes shares the story of her biological son Michael's transition and her unconditional love and support for the woman she has become.

An excerpt via The Grio.com:

In Prince Georges County, Maryland where we live, we have a diverse group of friends so the idea of having a gay son didn't scare or shock us. Sure, we feared he had a hard road ahead of him - being bullied at school, getting fired from his job for being gay and facing the possibility that he may never be able to be legally married - but with our love, we knew he was going to be okay.

When Michael turned 16, he told us that he wasn't a gay man. Instead, he was a transgender woman named Michelle who had been dressing as a woman when he left the house. At that point, my husband and I both realized that this was a big deal. My son was now my daughter.

Even though I am an activist and somewhat liberal, I didn't know what being transgender meant. After doing some serious soul searching, my husband and I concluded that our child needed us. Unlike too many of her friends whose parents had kicked them out for being gay or transgender, we were going to open our minds even further than what we thought was possible. It was difficult. But we started going to family therapy and things were slowly getting better.

But everything changed in December 1999, the day my daughter Michelle became the target of a hate crime.

While standing in line with her friends at a club in Atlanta, Michelle was struck in the head with a metal pipe by a stranger who did not like the fact that she was a transgender woman. She fell to the ground and her skull split open.

The doctors weren't very hopeful - they didn't think she was going to make it. As she lay there unconscious, she was unrecognizable. Her head was shaved, there was a V-shaped scar down the side of her face, and she was bruised and swollen.

I was fully aware of the homophobia that haunts our community. However, it was not until my child was beaten and left for dead did I ever truly believe that having the courage to be true to oneself could result in being killed.

From one parent to another, more work needs to be done to protect our children regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We are all products of God and deserve to live, be loved and have peace of mind.

To read the piece in it's entirety click here. If you're brave enough to venture into the comment section on The Grio.com you might want to prepare yourself for the usual "Christian gay/trans bashing". Bonita Spikes definitely deserves the mother of the year award.

Thanks Mayok


Pop diva Whitney Houston made her first television appearance in the U.K. in 12 years during her eagerly anticipated comeback performance on Britain's reality singing competition X Factor on Sunday.

Houston performed her latest single "Million Dollar Bill" from her #1 album "I Look To You" complete with backup dancers and her own wardrobe malfunction whena strap at the back of her long silver dress snapped open.

But according to UK fans, it was Houston's lackluster vocals and loopy behavior (reminiscent of her past drug days) during her post- performance interview that have disappointed fans and provoked a barrage of negative comments on the X Factor website criticizing the singer.

One fumed: "What a huge waste of her talent. People should watch and learn what harm one can do to ones self. I hope for Whitney and all her fans she gets a grip and rejoins this planet."

It goes without saying that Houston has damaged the voice that made her a superstar, yet I believe fans have begun to accept the remnants of what once was and are rooting for her success.

Was she high during this performance? That's the great online debate. Take a look at the performance in the clip below and judge for yourself.

All I know is I love myself some Whitney and I'm pulling for her.

3 comments | Friday, October 16, 2009

This is disgusting. A friend of Daniel Rodriguez, an accused attacker in the vicious beatdown of openly gay man Jack Price in Queens, NY that left the victim with broken ribs, a damaged spleen, and required a metal plate to be inserted into his jaw tells ABC 7 News that Price deserved it and proudly displays a tattoo of Leviticus 18:22 to justify the attack.

The street thug tells ABC 7 News that this was not a hate crime and Price had propositioned men in the neighborhood and had even blow his assailants a kiss.

"I mean I don't want no man blowing me a kiss either...things happen. I've been beat up like that too, but you don't see me on the news and my family crying".

A Leviticus tatoo? Really? Who tattoos anti-gay biblical and ritualistic law on their person other than someone who is clearly dealing with an extreme case of internalized homophobia.

Here's a suggestion for a new tattoo on the opposite arm since this idiot is so fond of using scripture to justify condemnation and hate crimes against LGBT people.

"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. - Leviticus 19:28"

Something tells me he conveniently overlooked that passage since it's the Christian way. This pisses me off!

There will be a protest march and rally against hate crimes in NY on tomorrow (Saturday). More info here via Nathan James.

allowscriptaccess="always" allownetworking="all" allowfullscreen="true"

h/t Towleroad


Louisiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell is in the middle of national controversy after denying interracial couple Terence McKay and Beth Humphrey, both of Hammond, Louisiana marriage licenses based on a personal belief that "such marriages don’t usually last very long".

Bardwell denies he's a racist and offers this money quote as proof. Get ready to protect your keyboard.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way. I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

The AP reports:

"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house," Bardwell said. "My main concern is for the children."

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."

If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

"I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

Yeah right. The good ol' south rises again. I couldn't help but remember an amazing sign from an interracial couple at The National Equality March that read "Our Marriage Was Once Illegal Too" when I read this story. I guess it's a good thing they didn't attempt to get married in Louisiana.

Watch a CNN news report on this story here.

| Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For those of you who are interested in the discussion that took place on The Black LGBT Blogosphere at last week's Fire & Ink Cotillion in Austin audio is now available courtesy of JW Richard at Mandrake Society Radio.

I had the pleasure of sitting on the panel with two amazing bloggers who are contributing greatly to the gay civil rights movement via their work in the blogosphere. Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend, JW Richard of Mandrake Society Radio and myself all spoke about our experiences as black gay bloggers and the influence blogs have in our community and the current political landscape.

I'd like to send a special thank you to my friend and blog mentor Rod McCollum of Rod 2.0 (who unfortunately couldn't make it to Austin) for always having my back. I appreciate you.

Listen to the audio here. Enjoy the podcast!


The consistently visually stunning Obvious Magazine has just released it's latest fashion issue online amidst a small controversy among some of it's readers.

The glam magazine bills itself as a fashion & lifestyle publication for both men and women with tips, how-to's and the latest information about relationships, empowerment, trends and self-improvement. The magazine does not exclusively cater to the LGBT community. And according to some, the latest spread featuring twins Andrew & Alex Harris shot by Hollywood photographer Jerris Madison is obviously anything but heterosexual.

Obvious Magazine West Coast editor Eddington Howard offered this quote on the concept for the shoot; "I wanted them to keep a level of innocence without compromising their bond."

The readers weigh in:

Samer: models are gorgeous.... poses may come off a little homoish?

Syreeta: agreed! I expected a little bit more for these 2.... decent but I don't think that people will get the right idea about these 2, may be appealing to a certain crowd

Serg: innocence? innocent enough for some man to... i agree, would have expected a little more, c'mon now, there are TWO of them! Ladies do not want to see them touching each other!

Devin: This is fashion people.In fashion there are concepts.Think outside the box.

Right Devin. Uhmm...this is 2009 right? For some reason I felt as if I'd been transported back to a different era when images of men embracing weren't readily available for viewing by the mainstream. I wonder if any of these people have watched professional sports lately? There's plenty of man-on-man ass slapping and embracing going on. SMH.

If you're not familiar with Obvious Magazine then get in the know and check them out here.