Sunday, November 07, 2004

Now What Do We Do?

Now that we’ve fumed, pointed fingers, and been generally pissed off, it’s time to figure out how we’re going to live with four more years of a growing christocracy, a continuing war, and divide and conquer tactics. It’s time for those of us who identify as gay, lesbian, queer, same-gender-loving, sexual minority, or anything resembling the aforementioned, to examine and decide how to live our lives.

We who are Black, African-American, Afro-Caribbean must also examine our place in our communities. We must ask ourselves if our skin color assumes primacy over our sexuality, if our sexuality is greater than our skin color, or if who we are is just who we are, without a need for primacy assignments.

I don’t think the primacy question is new for SGL people of color. We’ve had strong cultural influences from our personal experiences with racism, guidance of sorts from the church, and community. We who have been active in the church and/or have a strong faith background have been pressured to choose between our sexual behavior and choice of mate and our relationship with God. We’ve been told that attraction to and sex with our own sex is a result of White interference, and therefore to truly be Black, we must push White things aside.

We as Black SGL people have lived through and survived all this. The salons of Harlem, USA became safe havens for us to gather. Lesbian and SGL women fought for and gained visibility in the feminist movement. Gay and SGL men realized that money raised for AIDS in White gay male communities was trickling down, and formed organizations that would meet the needs of men of color infected and affected by AIDS. People like Phill Wilson and Audre Lorde, Jewelle Gomez and Joe Beam told our stories. We’ve been knocked down before, but never knocked out.

What do we do when faced with four more years? We do what we did four years ago; fourteen years ago; forty years ago. We do the following:

  • We register and vote – our vote is our voice. We pay attention to every election, not just Presidential. We make it our business to know who represents us in our cities and states, for true Republicans support less Federal government in favor of State government, and we know from the unprecedented codified discrimination of a particular group of people via the various definition of marriage amendments attached to State constitutions that many of our rights will not come from the White House, but from our State legislature.

  • We exercise our economic muscle – we don’t fatten the pockets of preachers, sports figures, artists, or businesses that don’t respect us and/or call for our demise. We do support businesses that support us; not just the clubs, bars, and parties; not just the sex clubs, chat rooms, and bookstores, but those places that support our health and well-being. The club is great, but sort of like candy – a once-in-a-while treat.

  • We stop going to churches where our partners are only our “friend” or “roommate”: the second mommy is the “godmother”: or where we are tolerated because they “love the sinner and hate the sin.” There are many affirming churches, and a growing number of churches with LGBT/SGL ministries, focus, and clergy.

  • We love and keep loving. We fall in love, we have sex, especially safe sex. Sex is healing, affirming, stress-reducing, and joy-producing. We love proudly, defiantly, openly, and incessantly. We love because we are called to.

  • We remain hopeful and we remain watchful. Four more years is here, and there is nothing we can do about it except to live as best we can, and make a plan to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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