Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Heterosexual Privlege!!!

Just the other day the news hit the wire that NBA referee, Bill Kennedy, had announced that he is SGL (same gender loving).  This announcement was sparked when Sacramento player Rajon Rondo made homophobic comments directed at Bill Kennedy.  Bill evidently felt compelled to not remain silent.   When I saw the article, while not a sports fan at all, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is powerful news”.  Powerful because Bill is a black man participating in a very testosterone driving sport.  It is very rare that we see a black man publicly announce that he is SGL.   Because of this I chose to share it on my Facebook page.  I tagged my cousin because she is a sports fan and has been an ardent supporter of me, an SGL man.  For those that are not aware of the workings of Facebook let me inform you.  Once you tag someone in your posts all of that person’s friends are made aware of the post and are able to view and comment on what was posted.  I received a couple of comments to my post that contained comments from what I presume to be heterosexual men like “Why is this important? Do we need to know what people do in their bedroom…” and “This is unimportant".  We don’t need to know or should not care about a person’s sexual preference.  That is a private and personal matter.” 

Upon reading these responses I began to get a little bothered because what some in the heterosexual community do not understand is they have “heterosexual privilege”.   Simply put...“If you don’t have to think about it, it’s a privilege.”  As a SGL man I have to encounter the outward expressions of heterosexual companionship daily.  In everyday life I have to watch heterosexual intimacy from something as small as a warm embrace to a full out tongue acrobatics as I walk down the street.  Not once do I say that heterosexual expression and acknowledgement of who they are as sexual being should remain private.   How often do we read articles on the public heterosexual figures and their partner or spouse?   Heterosexual expression is the norm.  If someone was to ask either of the respondents to tone down his blackness or maleness I am sure an argument would ensue.    Being who you are should not upset or offend anyone.  What some heterosexuals fail to see is that we want that some freedom to live our lives as you do.  You grew up with an accepted existence, however, most of us have not.  However, we long for that comfort.  In supporting us you lose nothing but the world gains immensely.  A world where SGL boys are made to feel odd, strange or abnormal for what comes natural to them and as a result commit suicide or seek acceptance from those that are out to use, abuse or physically harm them.  If Bill’s announcement has helped someone understand that being SGL is not a negative then he has made a true impact on the world.

The above noted comments are subtle but very visible suggestion that it would have been much better if Bill Kennedy would have just stayed in the closet.  Stay in the closet so that I can feel comfortable because this knowledge now bothers me and I don’t like it.   Unfortunately all too often when we as SGL men and women decide to live an authentic life fully we run the risk of losing important people in our lives (friends and family).   The fact that Bill Kennedy took a very bold step to say to the world that he is a SGL man is a very big deal.   It is so because we don’t see very many black men taking that step.  Our communities of color send mixed signals often.  On one hand you want us accept who we are and not live in the closet (aka downlow) but then when one of us choose to be authentic in who he/she is you say that is a private matter we don’t need to know that information.   You have not made it easy for us.   Sorry you don't get to have it both ways.

I am proud of Bill Kennedy for responding with an announcement.   I believe his announcement was specifically for Rondo.  Yeah, you called me a faggot motherfucker (just what I presume he said to Bill) and guess what, I AM.  So what you said did not sting or hurt me it simply gave me strength and the push I needed to live in my truth authentically. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sandra Bland!!! Could It Be You Next?

I am wrecked with disbelief once again.  The scores of black and brown bodies continue to increase.  I have tried to turn my eyes from the carnage because to focus on it hurts too much.  While I do did not know you personally the struggle for justice and equality or some semblance of it courses through the fiber of everything I am.  My silence has not been because I did not care but the pain has been numbing if nothing else.
As a Christian I have my faith to lean on and prayers to comfort me but regardless of how much I pray the landscape of a racist world continues to ring in my head.  The fear as a black person on this earth is real and palpable.  The fact that an African American woman (Sandra Bland) was killed in police custody after being detained for a minor traffic violation proves to me that NONE of us are safe.  My multiple degrees, finally tailored suit, expensive luxury vehicle can’t save me from being profiled assaulted and killed by a servant of the people (police officer)  At the end of the day when most of them see me all they see is a person of no value based on my skin color.  When you do not value something you will have no desire or regard to treat it with dignity and respect.   I can no longer look for acceptance in a world that is so hell bent on authority that it can’t see my humanity.  I ache for those that have died at the hands of those that did not and do not value the lives of my black and brown brothers and sisters.  We have given police the authority to kill and abuse those that they are sworn to protect without any retribution.  Racism and police violence is not an United States issue it is a world issue.  The same things are happening to black and brown men and women in various cities of the world. 

Many try to bring up the issue of black on black crime when police violence and murder becomes the topic of conversation.  When this is said what these people are saying but not understanding that they are blaming the victims of oppression for their oppression.  Yes black on black violence is an atrocity but we have to stop looking at the surface and cause of the oppression.  We must stop this process of eating our own.  The issues are not the same.

I can remember in maybe the fourth or fifth grade "officer friendly" came to my classroom to talk about being a good citizen --- not take candy from strangers.  However, who would have ever thought that "officer friendly" is the main person I have to fear.  It is no longer the stranger walking down the street but the blue and white flashing lights that pull up behind you on the leisurely drive across town.  That badge and gun seems to give some police this ultimate power of authority that must be obeyed or you may be in serious jeopardy of losing your freedom or life. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Caitlyn Courage - You Should Have a Dose

Hero and courage are words we use to exemplify a difficult time and overcoming those times.  Lately we have begun to ask if certain people in particular situations deserve to be called heroic or courageous.  Recently the ESPY committee decided to give the Arthur Ashe courage award to Caitlyn Jenner.  The ESPY awards is the Emmy awards for the sports world.  This caused an uproar because it was felt that she was not deserving that award.   I mean really she just changed her name from Bruce to Caitlyn and put on a dress and makeup.  What was so courageous about that?   

Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one; strength in the face of pain or grief.   Because many of the general public have no idea what it means to live life in and as your unauthentic self, Bruce Jenner taking the bold step to come out as a transgender woman seemed less than courageous.  It seemed like theatre at its best.   You see there were no visible battle scars or war wounds.  Sexual identity is something that is not understood by many.  Therefore, to some it looks like this Olympian decided to one day play public dress up.  We can’t see the scars of daily life feeling as if you are captured in the wrong body or that you must live as you were born because that is what is expected only to agonize daily for doing so.  Living for everyone else.  Just think how you would feel if every day of your life you had to wake up and wear a “mask” in order to be accepted or liked by the rest of the world.   Did it take courage for Bruce Jenner to transition to Caitlyn on the stage?   So we can debate all day whether Caitlyn should have received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. 
Many gay men and women live that life as well and I can tell you from personal experience it is not easy.  It is very freeing to one day accept who you are on the public stage and roll the dice to see who will continue to love and support you.  The decision to take that chance is not easy and in my own decision making I have lost from people that I called friend or had to hear the ignorant comments made by people who called themselves loving me but truly they did not understand me nor did they take the time to do so.  The cost for me was difficult but the reward since living an authentic life as a same gender loving man has been priceless. 
As of April 1st there were 14 transgender women that were murdered in 2015 of which half were women of color.  Most of these murders appear to be hate-motivated crimes.   The suicide or attempted suicide rate for 2015 among transgender individuals is 40%.  To me that is an epidemic.  Yes, Caitlyn is a woman of considerable financial means and access, however, she chose at the moment of the award acceptance to note the alarming murder and suicide statistics of transgender women.  Her ability to speak to the issue on the public stage hopefully will lend itself to acceptance and understanding by the general public.  Now I do not expect arms to immediately be outstretched to embrace transgender individuals but I know that this is a step in the right direction.
Living an authentic life is not an easy thing.   We all, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, etc. have something that we keep hidden from the public.  May it be an addition or sexual proclivity we hide it because we do not want others to judge us.  To expose that to the world and especially those who love you takes courage.  Courage takes all shapes and forms but at the end of the day you do not get to tell me or anyone else what is courageous.  Acceptance and understanding is what every human being desires in our everyday life.  If you want to do your part then I ask that you go to your computer and Google gender identity to begin gain a better understanding.  Life is too short to live it passing judgment for tomorrow the judgment may be passed upon you. 
Courage is about perseverance, not bravery. Be courageous despite the dear. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Will Save the Day

Today is a historical day for all those who live in the United States of America.   SCOTUS ruled on June 26th that same sex marriage is legal in this country.  This has been a hotly debated issue for many years now.  Prior to this decision this country has been slowly moving towards equality by legalizing same sex marriage state by state.  However, while this movement has been rather swift there are those that have been building momentum to ensure through divisive legislation that marriage equality is never the law of the land in their state.   I am not deceived there will be those who do not agree with the decision today and will be all they can to fight against it.   And as I sit here writing this I know that some of those will be people who say I they love me.   However, I stopped looking for acceptance and approval by family and friends many years ago for I know who I am.  The fight to get here has been damned hard but I will refuse to let anyone in my life that is unwilling to celebrate it in its entirety.   

When the announcement was made regarding he SCOTUS decision this morning it was an unbelievable moment of jubilation.  Finally in every state of this country I am able to marry that man I love and not have our union challenged.  Our love would be legally viewed as equal.  This is emotional not because I was looking for some sort of sanction to be and love authentically by this country but because now I am afforded the right to choose. 

It was so refreshing to see so many of my friends noting that they are just as emotional.  Now I know that marriage is not for everyone.   However, marriage is for ME.  I want it all…the ceremony in front of God, my family and friends.  I want the struggles of building a life together as well as a love that weathers the storm of bad times and shines brightly during the good times.  I believe is the struggle to have it all….and I want it all dammit.