Black Lives Matter and the Fight Against AIDS

Black Lives Matter activist links fighting AIDS to protest over policing

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Sep 25, 2015

By Freddie Allen, NNPA Senior Washington Correspondent

Activist DeRay McKesson links Blacks Lives Matter Movement and fighting HIV/AIDS (NNPA Photo by Freddie Allen)

Mckesson, who is also a planning team member of“We The Protesters,” talked to a group of journalists who specialize in social media during the 2015 United States Conference on AIDS, shortly after delivering remarks during a plenary on theBlack Lives Matter movement.

The Wisconsin native was one of the activists who garnered a huge social media following for his first-hand reporting from the protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the August 2014 shooting death ofMichael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, by former police officer Darren Wilson.

A conversation about the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be an extension of the dialogue on Black identity that evolved as an “unintentional good consequence” of the protests over policing in the Black community, explained Mckesson, and activists should use social media as a tool to spark those conversations.

“There’s this interesting space in social media that allows us to build community differently,” said Mckesson. “It wasn’t until there was this unrest in Ferguson that people started talking” over social media about police violence in their own communities.

Mckesson said that one of the ways that activists can combat stigma is by normalizing the fact that people have a range of experiences. They should also look for platforms to share their own stories.

“The failure of the media is the reason why we got a lot of exposure,” said Mckesson. “CNN wasn’t telling our story in the beginning, so we had to tell it,” said Mckesson.

Mckesson recounted an episode during a street protest in St. Louis after Vonderrit Myers, a Black teenager, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in October 2014. Witnesses to the shooting said that Myers was only carrying a sandwich, while police reported that they found a 9mm Ruger and shell casings at the scene.

During a chaotic standoff, one of the protesters yelled, “you faggot!” at the menacing line of police. When one of his fellow protesters admonished him over the homophobic slur, he apologized.

“There was this really small moment in the movement space where people were there confronting homophobia,” said Mckesson. “Those two people never would have been in any space together before where they could have had that exchange and to see that on one of the wildest nights in St. Louis City is something that I will never forget.”

Mckesson said that he didn’t think it was intentional, but suddenly the complexities of Black identity were drafted into the conversation surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“In St. Louis, it was about homophobia. In other cities, it was about transgender identity and I think there’s an opportunity for the conversation about HIV/AIDS to be an extension of that,” said Mckesson. “All of a sudden people were talking about all of these things in Blackness that people weren’t talking about before.”

Although disparities in education, poverty and health care are all important, Mckesson acknowledged that those issues didn’t get people in the streets and keep people in the streets the way that police violence did.

“I only know movement work from what I’ve read,” said Mckesson. “I can look at the Civil Rights Movement, but I don’t know what it felt like to win in that moment.”

Mckesson said that from a strategic standpoint policing can be a place to get wins and have people experience wins before expanding to other issues, instead of expanding and having cool conversations, but not getting any wins.

Mckesson continued: “The protesters need to ask for something and get that so people can see that and then go do it, and policing is the way to do that.”

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The New Black


There’s a really special scene in Yoruba Richen’s documentary “The New Black,” where heterosexual black LGBT activist/organizer Sharon Lettman-Hicks gets into a disagreement with a female family member about homosexuality at a get- together with her in-laws. The woman states that “God did not make lesbians,” while Sharon questions her. Earlier, in that same house, an older black aunt shares that when her granddaughter “came out,” she told her she would always love her no matter “which way she goes.”

It’s these kinds of sharp, varied interactions that make the film particularly resonant. Where mainstream media has aimed to present the black community as a monolith of homophobia and sinful preachers, Richen does the opposite, allowing for all sides to have a stake in the issue.

Director, Yoruba Richen

I appreciate these scenes because I’ve seen them before- in my own family, at a barbecue, amongst my friends. Folks may get heated, but most importantly, they are heard. Through an engrossing series of interviews, and candid day-to-day footage with young LGBT field workers, clergy on both sides of the gay marriage debate, community members, and black men sitting on a Baltimore stoop, Richen carefully tracks the growing momentum leading up to the Maryland gay marriage referendum in 2012, which passed by a 52.4% vote, and marked the first time marriage rights were granted to same-sex couples by popular vote, many of them African American.

I talked with Richen over the phone about her motivations for making the film, the easy, yet problematic associations between blackness and homophobia, and what the film means to her on a personal level. “The New Black” starts streaming on Netflix today, and is also available on many other platforms like DVD and through several VOD outlets, via Promised Land Films.

Shadow & Act: Can you talk a little bit about what brought you to this documentary?

Yoruba Richen: I came up with the idea for this film because of what happened the night of 2008 whenBarack Obama was elected president andProposition 8 passed, which outlawed the recently won right for gays and lesbians in the state of California to marry. It was quite an interesting night to have the election of the first black president, and then this big defeat for gay marriage, and especially for those of us in the black and LGBT communities.

What happened next was really shocking in that they started blaming African Americans for its loss, and this narrative took hold about homophobia in the black community, and that it was somehow more intense than in other communities, and there was a question of gay rights versus civil rights becoming the media’s narrative.

I wanted to find out why this was happening, why these two groups were being pitted against each other and what that was about, and of course within that, black LGBT voices were not heard from in that debate at all. I started to follow characters who were working on bridging the gap between these communities, who were working on how to move forward now that gay rights have sort of bubbled up to the national political scene, and eventually the film became about how the African American community, and the particularly the black church, was grappling with this issue, and the Maryland storyline, even a couple years after I started filming, brought together all these different pieces I  looking at.

S&A: Awesome, and can you talk about the title of the film, “The New Black,” and how it fits within an ongoing debate that equates gay rights with civil rights, especially for African American people, and where you stand on that with the title of the film.

YR: I chose the title because of its provocative nature. It came from this article in The Advocate Magazine that said “Is Gay The New Black?” and it really pissed off a lot of people. For me, the title actually means the new conversation that is happening in our communities around issues of homosexuality. The new black are really the activists that I profile who are working within the black community around this issue, to fight for the rights of LGBT folk, and of black LGBT folks in our community. To me, that’s the new black.

S&A: I actually wanted to ask about one of those activists. When I saw the film, I noticed that the audience especially responded to Karess Taylor-Hughes and how her personal struggles with her family were handled alongside the film’s narrative. How did she become involved with the film and what is she doing now?

Karess Taylor-Hughes

YR: The Maryland storyline really didn’t come to the forefront until two and a half years after I started filming. I started to follow it because it brought together these different pieces I was looking at, and Karess is one of the lead field organizers in that campaign in Maryland. I got connected with her, and started filming the work she was doing. She’s an amazing woman and she had dedicated her life for the last couple years to this issue, she had worked on the North Carolina campaign which was defeated, and then started working for the Maryland campaign, and she was obviously totally charismatic and funny and smart.

She was also dealing with the personal ramifications of her work and how her family feels about her sexuality so she just embodies the personal being political. Now, she continues to do amazingly, and she’s at Columbia University in a Master’s Program studying Sports Management.

S&A: That’s so great to hear. I mean, I felt a connection to many of the characters in the film, but her story was very personal and intimate.

I also wonder, because you have some really balanced interviews and perspectives, how were you able to get someone like Pastor McCoy involved with the project, and were there any obstacles to getting him in the film?

YR: I’m very grateful that he agreed for me to tell his story and show that side. He was the face of the anti-gay marriage campaign in Maryland so I think he wanted to do it- they were trying to win too, so they wanted to get out what they were trying to do.

Part of my job as a filmmaker is getting people to do things they don’t want to do, and you have to be persistent. I had to be persistent, I had to also let him know that I wasn’t trying to demonize the other side and I wasn’t trying to make fun of that side, and I wanted to tell both sides of the story, and he agreed and was able to let me in.

S&A: I feel his perspective was given a fair treatment in the film. There’s a great quote in your film that says, “All of a sudden, it was black versus gay.” I wanted you to talk about that- what do you think is behind this conflation or association between blackness and homophobia and what kind of stake does American media have in perpetuating it?

YR: First of all, if you look at what happened in California, after Proposition 8 was passed, there was an erroneous poll that came out, that said that black people voted for it by 70% and that turned out later to be false, and that narrative- people still believe it today, and I have tell people, no those aren’t the numbers. Black people did vote in majority for it, but in the same numbers as other groups.

I also think that the storyline is good because what we tend to do a lot of times in this country is pit groups against each other, so we’re all fighting for the same piece of the pie and it’s like, it becomes a zero sum game. If one group advances then another group is perceived not to advance or they perceive themselves not to advance, and because of our history as African Americans, this idea that another group is going to advance and it’s going to be at the expense of us, is definitely a viewpoint in the community.

I also think there has been a strain of homophobia in our church, as in other churches as well, and sometimes the media listens to the loudest voice in the room. More recently, the film tries to show, the black church figures have spoken in support of gay marriage. I think having the NAACP come out and president Obama come out, as well as what happened in Maryland for marriage equality, shows the voice of supporting gay rights is starting to become louder, whereas it wasn’t necessarily before. 

If you look at where America is, African Americans are right alongside everyone else. There’s been an evolution amongst everyone on this, and not just African Americans. So, we’re no different really than other communities that are grappling with this, and it’s our younger people that are changing minds, that have a completely different view about this, and that’s the same in all demographics.

S&A: Even when I look within my family, I see an array of perspectives about the issue, so I appreciate how the documentary goes into different ways of thinking. Also, there’s this theme in the film with the black family and how gay marriage is seen alongside the black family, and how the black family has been in a contested space coming out of slavery. Can you talk about that?

YR: I think that even though we mirror a lot of what’s going on around the country around this issue, we too have a particular history in terms of how we’ve been allowed to have families. We’re probably the only group beside gay people, who haven’t been allowed, and have been kept from having a family and it was illegal for us to get married to each other and for many years, to anybody who was white because of miscegenation laws. So we’ve been very regulated when it comes to our families and how we’ve been able to have families.

I think that within that, and I had one of my interviewees say this actually, you know there’s this race to be normal because our families have been so pathologized that anything that comes and is not quote on quote normal, we’re resistant to, or reject because of our history of always being made to be abnormal, unequal and pathologized.

You know, a lot of LGBT black folks come out to their families and they’re like, it’s not even about homophobia, it’s like why would you take on another issue when you have to deal with being black? Why would you put yourself through that, by taking on being gay? So, you have to look at our history to understand the diverse opinions around this issue, and the black church has been where we sought refuge, where our basis for our freedom movement began, and still holds that memory so it’s important to understand that as well to understand the influence of the black church in the black community, even if you’re not particularly religious.

S&A: Definitely, and what does this film to you, personally?

YR: I want this film to be a conversation-starter and to be able to help people have conversations around sexuality. Because of being black, being woman, and being gay, I’ve experienced the intersectionality of this, and as a person who is hoping for more freedom and justice for all people, I think it’s important that we understand the intersectionality of race and gender and sexuality, and if the film can be part of that conversation, and eventually promote change, then I would personally feel like its met its mission; the mission I wanted it to have. 



Nijla Mu’min is a writer and filmmaker from the East Bay Area. She is currently in post-production on a short film, “Dream,” and is developing several feature scripts.

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Gay Slurs from The Hulk

Published on: July 28, 2015


Hulk Hogan’s N-word rant was just the beginning. Only days after the former wrestler’s disgusting racist tirade was exposed to the world, and The National ENQUIRER – in a joint investigation – can reveal that he was ALSO caught on tape unleashing a diatribe against gay people!

In a shocking world exclusive that will surely destroy Hulk’s legacy once and for all, Radar and The ENQUIRER have learned the same unauthorized sex tape that included Hulk’s bigoted attack against black people also features a disgusting section in which he unleashes the ‘F’ word and more disturbing homophobic slurs.

Hulk, born Terry Bollea, is heard discussing his VH1 reality show, “Hogan Knows Best,” with former sex tape partner Heather Clem – the wife of his former friend, Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem.

A conversation that starts innocently enough quickly turns sickening!

“VH1 wanted me to do a big thing and go back to the house I grew up in,” Hulk says, discussing the season 4 finale of his show.

“So we knock on the door,” he continues, “and a big f*g lives there now!”

Undeterred, the 61-year-old continued with his disgusting homophobic bile. “This half gay was enamored with Linda,” he sniffs, of his ex-wife.

In the episode, which aired in October 2007, Hulk was seen visiting the Port Tampa home where he was raised by parents Peter and Ruth Bollea.

The home’s new owner welcomed him under his roof, and even gave the wrestler turned reality star a small metal truck that he supposedly found in the garden when he moved in – and once belonged to a young Hulk.

But the homeowner is not the only one Hulk dragged through the mud of his hate. Continuing his bitter rant on the audiotape, he then tears apart his wife, Linda, to whom he was still married at the time.

As his pal Bubba enters the room, Hulk declares: “Dude, the only thing I will ever ask of you … I don’t know how you will pull this off … is, if I am ever on my death bed, you cannot let Linda come and visit me.”

Perhaps as a reflection of their views on marriage, Bubba and wife Heather – with whom Hulk filmed a covert sex tape – respond by giving him a thank you card for attending their wedding.

Linda had yet to file for divorce at the time the audio recording was made, but it’s clear from Hulk’s comments that their marriage was over!

Hulk goes on to bring up his residence in Las Vegas, which he had bought for $4.25 million and watched grow in value to $5 million.

“If I get divorced, Linda will make me sell it,” he laments on the tape.

But he had a plan – and it involved SoBe Entertainment mogul Cecile Barker, the same man he slammed as a “black billionaire” and ‘N’ word elsewhere on the tape.

“F**k it,” Hulk can be heard saying. “Cecile will buy it and give it back to me after the divorce!”

Clearly unbothered by the idea of asking for a favor from a man he would defame with hate speech, Hulk was equally unperturbed when his friend Bubba unleashed racist slurs of his own.

Handing the wrestler a surprise gift, a pair of inscribed “Hulk Hogan” Oakley sunglasses, Bubba can be heard on the tape saying: “Who’s your n***a? I have something for you. Who’s your n***a?”

When Radar and The ENQUIRER first exposed Hulk’s racist rants, he was quick to issue an apology.

“Eight years ago, I used offensive language during a conversation,” he declared. “It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it.”

“This is not who I am,” Hulk added. “I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important, and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise. I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”

Ironically, Hulk previously spoke out against homophobia when he was accused by ex-wife Linda of having his own gay affair with fellow wrestler Brutus Beefcake.

“It’s tough because a lot of my friends in normal life, a lot of my friends in the entertainment business, and a lot of my friends in the wrestling business are gay,” he said in 2012.

“If it was true and I was gay, I’d embrace it, and I’d tell you guys about it, and I’d celebrate it.”

He later sued Linda for defamation over those claims and others, but the case was ultimately dismissed.

Story developing.

The Betrayal That Is Black Homophobia

Joshua Surtees
Thursday, July 2, 2015

“All fags, lesbos and fag churches. As u burn with lust four human waste so shall u burn in hell. As waste is god’s sewer of fire.”

That was the last thing I expected to read on a sign outside a church in America, on the day that the Supreme Court ruling gave same-sex couples the same rights to marry each other as heterosexual couples have shared for thousands of years.

But that’s what I saw in Harlem, outside the Atlah World Missionary Church.

It’s one of those weird made-up churches they have in America. Registered charities, I suppose, or decoys for money-laundering purposes.

I didn’t expect to read such hate coming out of the black community and purporting to be God’s word since merely a week had passed after hate had gone into that old black church in the Deep South and killed nine Christian people.

Now, the people who were murdered in Charleston may well have been opposed to gay marriage—that’s something we can perhaps accept as at least a possibility given the demographic—but they died at the hands of hate nonetheless.

To be mired in a battle of hate, to be targeted by hate and then to disperse that hate elsewhere seems a senseless thing.

I don’t believe that God would have had the “fags and lesbos” burn in hell any more than he would have wanted all those black churches to burn across the United States for all those years while the crosses of the Ku Klux Klan burnt outside them.

Obama ended his eulogy in Charleston singing the gospel. As I watched him break into Amazing Grace, my eyes filled with tears. I don’t know why I cried. It was something about the centuries of struggle, endurance, perseverance and tolerance in the face of hatred.

They were tears that came from nowhere explainable, just like the tears that poured out of me when that same president was elected in 2008. Not tears of sadness, nor tears of joy. Tears somehow connected to the triumph of humanity in a world where darkness still endures from the northern shores of Africa in Tunisia to the city streets of Harlem.

In a previous world, perhaps 150 years ago, eugenicists debated whether negroes were less evolved than caucasians; whether their features meant they were closer in the evolutionary chain to apes; whether the cranial capacity (their brain size) implied a lesser intelligence.

That way of thinking was used to justify slavery and it complemented Christian theory (a white religion imposed upon black people) which told believers that white people were closer to God; that they were the pure essence of man made in God’s image, like Adam in the Garden of Eden, while black people were further away from God, towards the outer circles of humankind, towards the animals and the mud.

That black people accepted the religion of their enslavers in the first place was a perversity with undertones of Stockholm syndrome.

That black people today should use the same Christian theory that subjugated them to subjugate gay people is beyond a sin. It is a hate crime that God, and Jesus, would utterly reject.

Many homosexuals are Christian. But homophobes, to me, are not Christian.

In T&T—a nation built on slavery and on the same Christianity that the Spanish forced on the indigenous people they found in the New World and that the slaves and indentured labourers adopted from the French and English—this homophobia masquerading as Christianity is so utterly boring.

It’s so dreadfully tired and weak and pointless. The insipid claims of Christians that they are being bullied for their faith. The endless debates over whether being gay is biological or a lifestyle choice. It’s a level of tedium, a degree of backwardness, that I don’t really associate with the Trini mentality.

I’ve tended to see Trinis as modern, intelligent, ever moving forward, not looking back, not inert. But perhaps I am mistaken. I wrote on a Facebook post that I will continue to write about LGBT rights until the Caribbean catches up with the modern world and received the reply: “What’s to catch up on?

There are some things worth staying behind in.” Perhaps I underestimate other Trini characteristics—stubbornness and religious pomposity.

A respected journalist in our field, an evangelical Christian, said this of the Obama moment that moved me to tears: “Progressive-in-Chief celebrates the upending of the Biblical tradition of marriage that has defined society for millennia, then grabs a smirk and a speech and heads to church, there to lead the Christians—gushing, gullible, docile—in Amazing Grace. Well, I never.”

It’s not a hateful statement like the “fags…lesbos…waste…sewers…hell” in Harlem, but in some ways, because of its measured, understated-yet-authoritative, snide rejection of the compassion and love directed by a president towards two polar opposite communities, it is potentially more damaging than any hate speech.

21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality

At least 21 cultural varieties of same-sex relationships have long been part of traditional African life, as demonstrated in a new report that is designed to dispel the confusion and lies surrounding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The following discussion and the 21 examples are from that report, “Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative / Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective,” which was prepared by Sexual Minorities Uganda:
In their work anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe provide wide‐ranging evidence in support of the fact that throughout Africa”s history, homosexuality has been a ‘‘consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems.”
Thabo Msibi of the University of Kwazulu‐Natal documents many examples in Africa of same-sex desire being accommodated within pre-colonial rule.”

The work of Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe is cited in the new report by Sexual Minotrities Uganda on traditional forms of homosexuality in African cultures.
Deborah P. Amory speaks of ‘‘a long history of diverse African peoples engaging in same-sex relations.”
Drawing on anthropological studies of the pre-colonial and colonial eras, it is possible to document a vast array of same-sex practises and diverse understandings of gender across the entire continent.
Examples include:
One notably ‘‘explicit” Bushmen painting, which depicts African men engaging in same-sex sexual activity.

In the late 1640s, a Dutch military attaché documented Nzinga, a warrior woman in the Ndongo kingdom of the Mbundu, who ruled as ‘‘king” rather than ‘‘queen”, dressed as a man and surrounded herself with a harem of young men who dressed as women and who were her ‘‘wives”.

Eighteenth century anthropologist, Father J-B. Labat, documented the Ganga-Ya-Chibanda, presiding priest of the Giagues, a group within the Congo kingdom, who routinely cross-dressed and was referred to as ‘‘grandmother”.

In traditional, monarchical Zande culture, anthropological records described homosexuality as ‘‘indigenous”. The Azande of the Northern Congo ‘‘routinely married” younger men who functioned as temporary wives – a practise that was institutionalised to such an extent that warriors would pay ‘‘brideprice” to the young man”s parents.

Amongst Bantu-speaking Pouhain farmers (Bene, Bulu, Fang, Jaunde, Mokuk, Mwele, Ntum and Pangwe) in present-day Gabon and Cameroon, homosexual intercourse was known as bian nkû”ma– a medicine for wealth which was transmitted through sexual activity between men.

Similarly in Uganda, amongst the Nilotico Lango, men who assumed ‘‘alternative gender status” were known as mukodo dako. They were treated as women and were permitted to marry other men.
In the former Kingdom of Dahomey, women could be soldiers (above) and older women would sometimes marry younger women, according to anthropologist Melville Herkovits.
Same-sex relationships were reported amongst other groups in Uganda, including the Bahima, …
the Banyoro and …

the Baganda. King Mwanga II, the Baganda monarch, was widely reported to have engaged in sexual relations with his male subjects.

A Jesuit working in Southern Africa in 1606 described finding ‘‘Chibadi, which are Men attired like Women, and behave themselves womanly, ashamed to be called men”.

In the early 17th century in present-day Angola, Portuguese priests Gaspar Azevereduc and Antonius Sequerius encountered men who spoke, sat and dressed like women, and who entered into marriage with men. Such marriages were ‘‘honored and even prized”.

In the Iteso communities, based in northwest Kenya and Uganda, same-sex relations existed amongst men who behaved as and were socially accepted as women.

Same-sex practises were also recorded among the Banyoro and …

the Langi.

In pre-colonial Benin, homosexuality was seen as a phase that boys passed through and grew out of.

There were practises of female-female marriages amongst the Nandi and …

 Kisii of Kenya, as well as …

the Igbo of Nigeria,

the Nuer of Sudan and

the Kuria of Tanzania.

Among Cape Bantu, lesbianism was ascribed to women who were in the process of becoming chief diviners, known as isanuses.
In the 1600s in the Kingdom of Motapa in southern Africa (labeled “Monomotapa” on this map), Christian missionaries encountered cross-dressing men known as chibadi.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Given the overwhelming evidence of pre-colonial same-sex relations which continued into the colonial and post-colonial eras, as well as historical evidence of diverse understandings of gender identity, it is clear that homosexuality is no more ‘‘alien” to Africa than it is to any other part of the world.
As stated by Murray and Roscoe: Numerous reports also indicate that in the highly sex-segregated societies of Africa, homosexual behaviour and relationships were not uncommon among peers, both male and female, especially in the years before heterosexual marriage. These kinds of relations were identified with specific terms and were to varying degrees institutionalized.
What the colonisers imposed on Africa was not homosexuality “but rather intolerance of it — and systems of surveillance and regulation for suppressing it.”
Related articles

‘Homosexuality Is Very African As Much As It Is Nigerian.’ – Bisi Alimi speaks (

What traditional African homosexuality learned from West (

Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina declares: ‘I am homosexual’ (

Homosexuality in Prehistoric Africa (an article that has been repeatedly republished, at least since 2004; a recent version appeared March 11, 2015, in Gay Uganda on the Move)


King Mwanga II of Buganda, who reportedly had sexual relations with men.  (Photo courtesy of Sebaspace) King Mwanga II of Buganda, the “gay king” who reportedly had sexual relations with men. (Photo courtesy of Sebaspace)

At least 21 cultural varieties of same-sex relationships have long been part of traditional African life, as demonstrated in anew report  that is designed to dispel the confusion and lies surrounding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The following discussion and the 21 examples are from that report, “Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative / Empirical evidence and strategic alternatives from an African perspective,” which was prepared by Sexual Minorities Uganda:

In their work anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe provide wide‐ranging evidence in support of the fact that throughout Africa”s history, homosexuality has been a ‘‘consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems.”

Thabo Msibi of the University of Kwazulu‐Natal documents many examples in Africa of same-sex desire being accommodated within pre-colonial rule.”

Boy Wives and Female Husbands cover The work…

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Mighty Real! 

Good day my loves!😘 Kisses on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to you all. Today I want to encourage all of my LGBTQA brothers and sisters to embrace your uniqueness. I want to give a special shout out to my effeminate brothers. That’s right! Love to all my queens whether you be fem, butch, or a perfect blend of both. I implore you all to recognize that you come from a long line of trailblazers! True stars. To all my young queens going through life fighting every sway in your hips, every flick of your wrists, and every snap of your finger please understand that you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. 

In 1978 a legendary queen released the hit record Mighty Real and lit the disco world on fire! The queen’s name was Sylvester. Brought up in church like many of his black male counterparts, Sylvester found a way out of no way. He embraced his style, his sound, and his star power to do the unthinkable. He became a disco star during a much less tolerant period in our history. Imagine the ridicule he faced. Imagine the strength it took to remained poised and classy despite it all. Blaze on brothers and sisters! Tap into your purpose, peel back the layers, let your light shine, and sashay all day! Twirl on with as much self respect as possible. Don’t become a caricature. Be you. Be brave. 

Uprise ! 

Understand People and Respecting Individuality to Sustain Equality.

The Origins

   Where does phobia come from? Environmental, psychological, or spiritual? While the rights of LGBTQA individuals are still being bought, fought for, loss, and won I think it is worth looking at a few sources of phobia that rarely get beyond a few whispers from pundits. Homophobia. Is there such a thing? Do we always take hatred, ignorance, or bigotry and chalk it up to rational homophobia? I think the time has come to finally put that crutch aside. In particular I would like to look at what is arguably the most homophobic group of people in our society. Some may think I’m referencing the Aryan hate filled groups that picket gay weddings but in fact I’m thinking of a larger group of people. African Americans. 

  Any black gay individual with moderate use of their mental faculties can tell you that being gay + black is tough! Yeah it’s easy to blame whites and others but in all honesty most hate comes from within. Am I wrong to suggest that African Americans have based their entire modern day existence on religion? When discussing sources of homophobia in the black community you will undoubtedly hear verses or suras that proclaim the defeat and chastisement of the infidels and the sexually immoral. Many blacks stand by and believe strongly in the Abrahamic texts of our ancestors. Unfortunately many have conceded that life before that was void or chaotic and unruly. That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

   Before the Arabs, before the Spanish, and even before the Europeans descended upon then looted the African continent there was life and a sprawling society. Many spiritual systems that existed then have been transplanted and merged with Abrahamic religions. The slave coasts of West Africa were dominated with a central belief system known as Vodun. As opposed to the religions and traditions of oppressors, the Vodun saw sexuality as complex. Heteros, homos, and even the in between androgynous types weren’t ridiculed and put upon as with Abrahamic religions. God was in everything. From the drags to the fags god lived in everyone, in everything, in every place. Sexuality was just how the gods expressed themselves. Even the famed gods Mawu-Lisa embodied the joining of feminin and masculine properties. But of course all of that was taken. Vodun became Voodoo. A scary eroticized depiction of our ancestor’s beliefs were portrayed on tv as something weird and strange. Better yet, as evil and demonic. 

  What we are left with today are beliefs that continuously serve their initial purpose. No I wasn’t there and I don’t have first hand written secrets from thousands of years ago. Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out how divide and conquer works? I look forward to further engaging everyone with my thoughts and research as I attempt to look at the self-defeating practice of “homophobia” within the black community. This was just a starter.  

Hello world!

Hello everyone! This blog is dedicated to the advancement of the LGBTQA community as we continue our march towards equality. I will focus mainly on the issues facing my ethnic brothers and sisters. I know that we all deserve justice and a voice, but I also believe that change starts at home. This blog isn’t aimed at begrudging homophobes, heteroes, or culturally delayed individuals. This is merely a blog set on not only expanding the dialogue around our issues but inviting everyone to look at issues in a more loving and personal way.

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