Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Faces Missing from 'The Gay Rights Movement'

via HuffPost Gay Voices, by Zach Stafford

I am a gay, multiracial male who grew up in Tennessee. When I was little I felt like an outsider, like many gay folks, but my "outsider" position was not just because I was gay; it was much more complicated.

I was one of the only people of color in my school, and I was the most effeminate little boy there, as well, which pegged me immediately as a "faggot."

I also was pudgy, not very athletic, and liked video games too much, but those are all minor aspects of why I didn't fit in. Needless to say, no one around me was like me, the puggy, effeminate, brown boy living in the South -- and that was lonely.

As I grew up and got to high school, a few gay kids did start coming out, and I did make some gay friends, but these kids, due to being in a white suburb, were all white.

So my race and my gayness then began to work together, making me feel different, making me feel hopeless, making me unable to consider that it could get better.

When I watched some of my favorite gay-friendly TV shows, like Will & Grace, I would see gay folks having fun, being gay, and enjoying life in a city, most of the time.

This gave me my first insight into what being gay was, and my first suspicion that gay was not like me -- it was wealthy, it was white, and it didn't bother to have people who looked like me for me to look up to, or even begin to understand what my experience was like as a gay person of color.

After graduating from high school, moving to Chicago, and reaching drinking age, I went to the famous Boystown neighborhood and soaked in the abundance of gay bars, restaurants, centers, and anything you can imagine.

However, I felt out of place, like I didn't belong; I remember looking around and noticing that most of the men looked like Abercrombie models, or at least tried to look like them, and were mainly white.
I got very little attention there, and the little attention I got was due to my exoticism, because when one is brown, that could mean one is Brazilian, Egyptian, Puerto Rican... the list goes on. Gay had a look, and I wasn't that look.

So as I watched the YouTube Video "The Gay Rights Movement," which has recently gone viral, I got progressively sadder as the video played through footage of what the gay community seems to consider milestones.

Lots of familiar faces rolled by, and happy emotions did rise inside me, but I still felt hints of sadness, a sadness that was familiar, that wasn't new, and I knew exactly what it was: I, and a lot of other people within the gay community, were not there.

It's not like we weren't ever there; there have been tons of queer folks of color who have done amazing things in America.

For instance, the video shows Martin Luther King Jr., but not his advisor and one of the main powers behind him, Bayard Rustin, a gay black man.

The video shows Ellen Degeneres over and over talking about suicides, but not another famous lesbian who is black, Wanda Sykes.

It shows coverage of the suicides of gay male youths, but not the countless suicides of transgender people, which happen yearly and go quite unnoticed, just like the faces of trans people in the video.

It doesn't show a lot.

Read the rest

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

select key words

2007 National HIV Prevention Conference 2009 National LGBTI Health Summit 2011 LGBTI Health Summit 2012 Gay Men's Health Summit 2012 International AIDS Conference abstinence only ACT Up activism advocacy Africa african-american aging issues AIDS AIDS Foundation of Chicago anal cancer anal carcinoma anal health anal sex andrew's anus athlete ball scene bareback porn barebacking bathhouses bears big bold and beautiful Bisexual Bisexual Health Summit bisexuality black gay men black msm blood ban blood donor body image bottom Brian Mustanski BUTT Center on Halsted Charles Stephens Chicago Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse Chris Bartlett chubby chaser circumcision civil rights civil union Coaching with Jake communication community organizing condoms Congress crystal meth dating dating and mating with alan irgang David Halperin David Munar depression disclosure discrimination domestic violence don't ask don't tell douche downlow Dr. James Holsinger Dr. Jesus Ramirez-Valles Dr. Rafael Diaz Dr. Ron Stall drag queen Ed Negron emotional health ENDA Eric Rofes exercise Feast of Fun Feel the love... female condom fitness Friday is for Faeries FTM gay culture gay identity gay latino gay male sex gay marriage gay men gay men of color gay men's health Gay Men's Health Summit 2010 gay pride gay rights gay rugby gay sex gay youth gender harm reduction hate crime HCV health care health care reform health insurance hepatitis C HIV HIV care HIV drugs HIV negative HIV positive HIV prevention HIV stigma HIV strategic plan HIV testing hiv vaccine HIV/AIDS homophobia homosexuality hottie hotties how are you healthy? Howard Brown Health Center HPV human rights humor hunk Illinois IML immigration International AIDS Conference international mr. leather internet intimacy IRMA Jim Pickett leather community leathersex Leon Liberman LGBT LGBT adoption LGBT culture LGBT health LGBT rights LGBT seniors LGBT youth LGBTI community LGBTI culture LGBTI health LGBTI rights LGBTI spirituality LGV LifeLube LifeLube forum LifeLube poll LifeLube subscription lifelube survey Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano love lube lubricant Lymphogranuloma Venereum masturbation mental health microbicides middle Monday Morning Perk-Up MRSA MSM music National AIDS Strategy National Gay Men's Health Summit negotiated safety nutrition One Fey's Tale oral sex Peter Pointers physical health Pistol Pete pleasure PnP podcast policy politics poppers porn post-exposure prophylaxis PrEP President Barack Obama Presidential Campaign prevention Project CRYSP prostate prostate cancer public health public sex venues queer identity racism Radical Faerie recovery rectal microbicides relationships religion research safe sex semen Senator Barack Obama sero-adaptation sero-sorting seroguessing sex sexual abuse sexual addiction sexual health sexual orientation Sister Glo Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence smoking social marketing spirituality STD stigma stonewall riots substance abuse treatment substance use suicide super-bug superinfection Susan Kingston Swiss declaration syphilis Ted Kerr Test Positive Aware Network testicle self-examination testicular cancer testing The "Work-In" The 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda Tony Valenzuela top Trans and Intersex Association trans group blog Trans Gynecology Access Program transgender transgender day of remembrance transgendered transmen transphobia transsexual Trevor Hoppe universal health care unsafe sex vaccines video violence viral load Who's That Queer Woof Wednesday writers yoga You Tube youtube