Thursday, September 27, 2012

Being Excluded From The Gay Community's Economic Development, By Brother Tracy Gibson...

Being Excluded From The Gay Community's Economic Development

By Brother Tracy Gibson...

It is a district that takes up a good chunk of the heartland of what is Center City Philadelphia.  It is ``loveingly'' called Philadelphia's Gayborhood.  It reaches from Lombard Street in the South to Chestnut Street in the North.  And from 11th Street in the East to Broad Street in the West.  It is filled to the brim with successful Gay-owned, Gay themed, Gay oriented and Gay operated businesses like florists, the historic Giovanni's Room Bookstore and bar/ Restaurants like Woody's. There are other places of business as well, but few if any of these businesses are owned and operated by Black Gay or Black Same Gender Loving people. {I can't think of one owned by a Transgendered Black person either...} We, or maybe I should just say I, don't feel a part of the ``Gayborhood'' even though I am a Board Certified homosexual.  Being Black has put me in the loop of ``Brother Outsider''--accepted as a consumer, but NOT as a potential or actual business owner, established leader or as a voice--not even a voice for the Voiceless.

The PGN, or, as it is really known in more formal terms, the Philadelphia Gay News, is owned by, of course, a Gay person.  A man named Mark Seagal who, I find to be a devoted racist--even though he is a homosexual or a Gay person.  {I don't know Mr. Seagal personally, but judging from his newspaper, I find the editorial positions, content and the vision of the PGN to be sorely lacking in racial diversity and lacking in positive news content about the achievements of Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered People of Colour.} Often the PGN defies logic in the way it present stories about people of colour. Always depicting the stories that present Black and Latin people who are trying every day to improve the circumstances of their respective communities in a bad light when they make a mistake, but forgetting about our achievements and the encouraging things we do to fight racism, exclusion, racial hatred and the fights we fight to improve our community locally, state-wide and nationally on human rights issues, Civil Rights issues and a host of other issues.....  That, to me smacks of a true and deep racism that is not only found at 505 South 4th Street, where the PGN has been situated for years, but this racism runs deep throughout Gay Philadelphia and emanates from the if-you-come-screaming-with-your-dollar-Bills-in-hand-and-are-Black-I'll-accept-you-only-on-that-level ``GAYBORHOOD!!''

But don't ask for space and Capital and financial acceptance as a business person in this bastion of liberalism and expect to get anywhere--you most likely won't. Seagel and the Philly Gay News is very, very racist and exclusionary in the way they present and report the news. If you are a top Black gay administrator for the City's office of Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Bisexual Community you will find your picture and a story splattered all over the paper if you have a minor legal infraction with the Philadelphia Police Department. But if you achieve something Big or dedicate yourself to working for your people, be they Gay or Straight, you will most likely be ignored. But the racism emanates from many other parts of the city's ``Gayborhood'' as well. If you go to Woody's on a regular basis and decide NOT to suck up to White men you may well be ostracized of even castigated.  Welcome to the Gayborhood of 2012 in Philadelphia!!!  Racism and Racial Hatred is alive and well in the Gayborhood in Philadelphia. There desperately needs to be some sharing and healing along racial lines in the Philadelphia area--especially in Center City's Gayborhood and the rest of center City.

I went in Giovanni's Room at 345 South Street, {12th and Pine} a few months ago and asked the manager/owner, who I somewhat know, about the possibility of a bookstore in West Philadelphia that would host Gay and Black themed books.  I was never given the chance to meet with the owner privately to discuss my ideas, nor was I ever called or supported or encouraged to go to another source for possible funding. I have been an activist in Philadelphia for over 35 years and that was the treatment I got.  Mind you that Giovanni's Room is one of the more positive characters in the Gay community because they have a long, long history of supporting Black writers and having Black activities in their 12th and Pine Street Store.   However, when you take things to another level and start talking about ownership, shared ownership and working with marketing, Black customer development, a new second location in the Black Community or The Penn community {which is very accessible to the Black community of West and South West Philadelphia, you get blank stairs and non-answers even though Blacks make up a good cross-section of the customer base for Giovanni's Room...


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