Friday, August 2, 2013

Thoughts on Being Black and Gay in North America.....

Introspective Thoughts on Being Black and Gay in North America….

By Brother Tracy Gibson.

It is not easy being Black and Gay in North America--especially if you are a Grass-Roots Patriot...  Yes we are attractive and in ``Vogue.’’ Yes we have sex and have fun and can, to some degree, enjoy our lives, especially now with the higher level of acceptance of Gay and Lesbian people in general.  But underneath the parties, the bar scenes, the entertainment industry jobs and flashy new acceptance and ``Gay Marriage’’ issue; there is a lot of pain that runs very, very deep and a Black community that is still unforgiving, harsh and often hateful towards us.  But all that aside, I have to ask each and every Gay and Lesbian Black person in North America, what have you done lately to raise the ethical standard for yourself and our community?  What have you done to be more honest in your personal and business relationships?  What have you done to make your living as a faithful Christian, Jew or Muslim ring true, real and authentic with yourself [ourselves] and in the face of GOD?  What have you done to be honest with yourself about the issues you have that need clarification, study, thought and mental and emotional healing?  When we do these things, this introspective homework, we will see our level of acceptance rise and even if we don’t our level of self-esteem, self-LOVe and self-acceptance will go up significantly and that will cause the healing and the forward motion we have all been working towards, waiting for and  or seeking.

  I have been politically and financially and even socially ostracized for some of the views I have.  When you LOVe God and LOVe yourself, you have a tendency to step on the toes of racism, injustice, bullying, phoniness and hate without even trying or taking calculated steps to do so.  The Bull-Shit artists have to move out of your Way so you can do your work.    It is NOT easy to be real with yourself. Especially if the Bull Shit artists sit in the White House, in Union Halls, in Editorial Board meetings at the Philadelphia Tribune or at Philadelphia Magazine’s plush down town editorial office.  Or, yes, on Wall Street or at the TV Networks or other places of power like the Pentagon or Madison Avenue.  There are now, more than even, a lot of Bull Shit artists in this world. [I could name several, but you might be surprised at the names I come up with. You might also be suprised to find that I am NOT only talking about White racist Republicans.] I am also talking about young attractive Black men who are homosexual, but because of a job and a paycheck, stay inside a cocoon they perceive as safe and cushioned.  Just ask the Brother who is now getting all the accolades for ``coming out’’ as a Gay BLack man who plays for the NBA.  Everybody loves him now, but no one is talking about the people he may have hurt when he was flexing his perceived Heterosexual  muscles by calling other Gay men, maybe even sex partners the big ``F’’ word... Calling people that name may have made his male ego larger and helped him shrug off the looks he might have been getting when it was discovered in the press that he had no steady girlfriend.   

But those are only alligations. I can really only talk about myself. Therapy has done me a world of good.  I have seen a therapist for about 33 years.  Now I mostly go to get medicine every third month and to chat a bit about any real troubles I’ve been having.  Usually now the troubles are more professional than personal in nature, especially since I don’t have a steady man friend right now.  But we as Black Gay men do a lot of hiding, shady treatment of others and back-biting that   feeds into a lot of negativity.  This negativity ultimately goes into the general perception that we are not a healthy segment of the Black community.  But our Whole Black community needs to be sitting on the Psychiatrist's sofa.  We have, as a people, some very hurt feelings and hurt ideas that need to be set correct, healed and rectified so we can, as a people move on and move foreward...

I want to share with you two things that my Pastor at church, the Unity Fellowship Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pastor Jeff Haskins said to me or omitted to comment on that show just how far we have to go as BLack Gay and BLack Lesbian people and as BLack people in general.  I once mentioned in an e-mail that we should have a picture of a Black Christ at church, not the White one that has been there for seven years. [We share the church space, so I’m not sure this is possible, but it would have been nice to have gotten enough respect to have gotten an answer.]  Don’t get me wrong.  Pastor Haskins is a sweet, kind, generous [in spirit], LOVing, and healthy person [in mind and body]—much more so than many of us as Black people are.  He visited my home once when I was feeling a bit down and not making good decisions for myself.  I was not dealing with reality correctly and honestly for a while there and Pastor Haskins and my LOVing Sister, Mrs. Claudia Aziza Gibson Hunter, really helped me find a better path.  GOD helped also.  But the fact that there is a White Jesus at church speaks volumes about how we don’t or can’t correctly take on the mantel that GOD has given us and move forward with it.  When we truly LOVe ourselves we want to see our image in positive places and represented by positive people.   Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter if Jesus was Black or White, but to pray in the presence of a White picture of Jesus in a mostly Black, politically aware, self-affirming Gay church says we are not really serious about who and what we are and how we can advance from where we are to what we want to be.  That little picture says it ALL.  Black images have been emasculated, destroyed, torn asunder, disheveled and misrepresented since the days of Amos and Andy  right through to the images that are displayed in Tyler Perry’s movies.  That one little picture may be part of the reason we don’t have the new church building and new location we want for our church.  Another thing that Pastor Haskins did that showed me where He is as opposed to where He needs to be was I once told him over a nice Asian dinner at 40th and Chestnut Str, that I had suffered with some anger issues around race in North America.  He said point blank, ``I Guess  you are just racist.’’  After I picked my broken ego off the floor, I said, no I’m not racist.  I have totally legitimate concerns about being Black in North America.  I think those concerns have been revealed by the dismay many people have after the ``innocent'' verdict for  Zimmerman as a dead Trayvon Martin lay in the ground....  I think those concerns are revealed when we look at the incredible numbers of Black men and Black women who are incarcerated in U.S. prisons. I think those concerns are totally understandable when we look at the continuing unemployment rates in cities like Philadelphia, Detroit [where the City Council voted down a proposal for Africa Town and now the City is going Bankrupt], Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark and Camden to mention only a few.  And I think those concerns are still very real when I look at the total mismanagement of our Schools at the hands of a mostly-White state board in Pennsylvania that is more concerned about the profits of the private sector than the Well-being of our youth and their proper education.  

Some of the leaders of the Black Gay community are in desperate need of more training on racial matters; leadership matters; matters of relating to other leaders without letting ego get in the way; and in matters of raising funds properly and ethically.  There is a segment of the so-called ruling class that really wants to help us even though much of our stigmatism has been their fault.  We have to find Ways of letting that help and healing happen in positive and meaningful Ways without falling all over each other grabbing for dollars, free professional services and the non-gentrified refurbishing of our houses, businesses, communities, churches and schools. We cannot afford to be in high and respected places and be novices politically. That just doesn't work.

On yet another matter and in my relating to another Black Gay activist in Philadelphia. I sent an e-Mail to Brother Tyrone Smith about how I felt a real level of ostracizing or marginalizing from our own community, but I personalized it and mentioned him and Michael Hinson, another Black Gay leader very visible in Philadelphia during the Street Administration here. Michael was also very visiable before that as head of the Colours Organization.  [Brother Tyrone was head of an organization called  Unity which provided support services to people with HIV and Aids in the Philadelphia area.]  Unity was very, very effective for any number of years and Brother Tyrone MUST be commended for part of that effectiveness under His stewardship.  I want to publically apologize to Brother Tyrone and Michael for that remark, but like I’ve said, I’ve felt out of the loop for years in some circles of leadership right here in Philadelphia, even though I have dedicated myself to the political struggle here for over three decades.

This article is still being written and edited…..

Copyright warnings and infringements from ``It's Your Biz,''  By Susan Wilson Solovic, with Ellen R. Kadin and a forward by Edie Weiner. Page 150...

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