My Gay Black HeartIssue: Section:
Abe Lincoln freed the slaves, Obama freed the gays.
What am I?
Depending on the time of day, the season, the location, my mood.... What I am could vary significantly. But right here, right now I am happy, I am content, I'm a loving son, devoted partner and friend, I'm a fantastic dancer, I am quick on my feet, i am a man of African descent who happens to be gay.
How I identify myself varies, as I'm sure it does for most folks. But pretty central and inescapable are my gayness and my blackness. They live together, side by side, a matching and equal pair, just like my testicles.
The gay black road I have traveled for nearly a half of a century has not always been easy, but I have never been without great teachers, a dream to guide me, and a friend in whom to share the struggle.
My blackness, like my gayness, can't be hidden. Recently a woman I met told me she thought I was straight, until she heard me speak. What? Did I open my mouth and a feather boa fall out?
But in the world in which I live and work (NYC arts/fashion) I am certainly not a minority.
This has always been a bit confusing because my world doesn't exactly mirror the world the rest of the country sees or lives in. Especially as seeing me and mine as equals. So is it any surprise there are people who actively seek to deny my partner and I the right to marry and all the rights that are afforded to wedded couples?
It is becoming a non issue, especially with NY state legalizing gay marriages. But this has become one of the major topics of the presidential election season.
Marriage equality for all is the new black.
I have always stood by, mostly silently, in my support of our president. I don't own any of the caps, mugs, tshirts or other memorabilia. But his recent support of my right to marry is nothing short of epic. We have all read and heard much of the rhetoric surrounding his views from inside the beltway. Presidents Obama's stance has done more for gay pride, and especially black gay pride than probably Marsha P. Johnson throwing the first rock which began the Stonewall Riots in June of 69.
His bold leadership and courageous stance have truly informed some of the elders in the black church as well as many communities' leaders. The NAACP was quick to echo their support as well. What is next? The first gay black nuptials on the cover of Ebony or Essence Magazine? Hmmmm.
I would love to be a fly on the wall of barber shops and hair salons around the country. I wonder just how many men and women quietly ate their homophobic words and views to be in alignment with rapidly changing opinions? I can not think of anyone who doesn't have a gay sissy cousin or a dykie Aunt in their family. That always baffled me, because my family LOVES me and stands by my side and wants the best for me. Isn't that love what being in a family is all about. It isn't who we love, but that we love.
June is the gay pride month, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than standing hand in hand with my partner as we join arms with new friends who support our movement. I'm not foolish enough to think there will be NAACP chapters marching in the parade waving freedom flags. But to know for the first time I will be seen as an equal, my love as valid as the next person, gives me new reasons to feel a deeper sense of pride in my president, in the black community, and in my gay black heart.