QWOC+ Boston is a group that promotes diversity by creating and sustaining safe spaces for LGBT people of color in the Greater Boston area.
Posted By QWOC+ Boston on April 19th, 2012

Submit! Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color.


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Queer Women of Color Launch New YouTube Web Series: The Peculiar Kind

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on February 20th, 2012

The Peculiar Kind

A web series about queer women of color

Brooklyn, NY – (February 20th, 2012) – The Artchitects are proud to announce the premiere episode of The Peculiar Kind, a monthly web series about queer women of color featuring Jade Foster(CereusArts.com), Ivette (Marimachobk.com), Milly (Lezfactor.com), and more!  The Peculiar Kind is directed by Alexis Casson and Mursi Layne (The Artchitects.com).

The Peculiar Kind is a web series that candidly explores the lives and experiences of queer women of color with eye-opening and unscripted conversations.  Episode one of The Peculiar Kind explores “Party Etiquette” i.e. Jealousy, Flirting, One Night Stands, Using Protection, Getting Home Safely, & Hate Crimes.  Included in this episode are “OUR NEWS”, a segment brought to you by Kimberley McLeod (ELIXER.com) and The Peculiar Kind Spotlight Presents which features Kimmie David (RightRides.org). The Peculiar Kind can be viewed on www.youtube.com/ThePeculiarKind or www.ThePeculiarKind.com/episodes.

About The Artchitects

The Artchitects is an artist collective serving those who seek more creative control and want to see their vision become a reality.  

Our Passions range from filmmaking and music production to challenging social issues and charity event planning. We love working with creatives who strive for change through their art.  

Reflections of a Straight Girl: What Does It Mean to Be an Ally?

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on July 17th, 2010

REPOST from http://www.zarachiron.com/

My sister Zara, wrote this recently for her blog @ ZaraChiron.com. It was so moving, touching, and insightful that I felt compelled to share with you all. If you have siblings, parents, family members etc, that haven’t yet come around, I hope you find inspiration in this piece, to be patient (and brave) enough to remain open to their own journey of moving closer to you so that one day, you’ll be as fortunate as I am to know what it means to be loved by an ally.

Summer 2006, my world was redefined by a simple act of bravery.

My sister Spectra, sheepishly and hurriedly flung a letter at me while I slept ever-so-lazily on her frame-less futon, amidst the fur balls also known as her tuxedo kitties, and then exited the room. For a second, I thought I had dreamed it, but noticed the curious expression of the dude-cat as he put his wet nose to the paper.

As I sat up and began to read, I wondered, “Geez! What could I have done this time?” since my sister had taken to reprimanding me through written notes ever since I started living with her so as to avoid full on conflict. I was greatly unaware of the depth and power of the words on the page I held in my hands, words that would reshape the world as I knew it, and raise my personal level of consciousness. By the time I finished reading what I now regard as the “Coming Out Letter” (which I still have in my treasure bag of memorable goodies!) I was – simply put – instantaneously changed; and for the better.

At first I felt relieved, grateful, even flattered that she would share something so personal with me at all, given our shared understanding; that in Nigerian culture and society, it is both socially unacceptable and illegal to be gay. As in, literally, illegal! I am thoroughly embarrassed and saddened to admit that a gay person is seen as spiritually abominable, emotionally unstable, mentally ill and generally perceived as decadent. No doubt, these perceptions are hypocritical and outrageously revolting to me — especially since there is so much that is truly decadent about the greedy puppets that control (and perpetuate further corruption of) Nigerian society, but how would my sister have known how I felt? Am I not Nigerian — like her? Did we not both grow up in the same homophobic environment riddled with discriminatory vocabulary, aggressive ignorance and deep-rooted disapproval of the gay community?

Her bravery was deeply touching and evoked an emotional response in me. I began to cry; not because she let me in on something so delicately significant, but because she had taken the monumental step to face, accept and explore the truth about the person she is; a spirit that will not, cannot be dictated by society or even manipulated by an intelligent, yet societally programmed mind; this person she was revealing to me could only ever be expressed and seen by an open heart.

I felt I had been given the ultimate gift: a chance to Love.

Even more beautiful than having somebody love you is having someone to let down their armor, open a door to let you love them in return; when they say, “This is me and I am giving you permission to know and love the entire person that I am” it is nothing less than intimate and absolute power bestowed that comes with a depth of responsibility.

My sister had kept out of sight, watching my expression through the hinge cracks, no doubt nerves on-end as I read the letter and began to cry. She peeked into the room, and as I sniffled confirmed that it was safe to enter. As she crouched next to me on the carpet, crying and reaching out for a hug, I remember, I said to her — a little choked up, how “I had never loved her more.” I meant it, and her relief in form of free-flow weeping confirmed that she understood, but I am not sure she truly grasped my words or the meaning behind them. Still, I recognized the moment for what it was; a beginning. And, I promised myself I would evolve along with Spectra and be a better sister to her — to every aspect of who she is so that one day she would come to know those words of mine to be as deeply true.

The transition has not been entirely smooth. I had to banish any and all remnants of cast-off ignorance that lingered in my system and get to know my sister all over again, as queer; this is still and always should be work in progress. And by work, I mean ‘work’ from both parties. I’ve been resourceful — what would I have done without my handy cousin Google, the L Word, Will & Grace, and a whole lot of QWOC+ events?! It helped that my sister was constantly inviting me to ‘see’ her, to be a part of something she’d once been afraid to share. Whether it was a QWOC+ event she wanted me to help her with, a lesbian film she wanted to watch (and could actually relate to, “Saving Face”!), a book for me to digest and discuss with her, etc, she always showed me that she wanted me to be a part of her life. I’ve had many illuminating conversations with Spectra herself, but I’m sure she will agree that we’d never have gotten to the point where we are now — sisters, friends, and loyal allies to each others causes — if I didn’t keep pushing myself to learn, and grow.

It is easy to not notice prejudice when you have the luxury of not needing to do so. It is easy to overlook, neglect and breeze over things that “do not (directly) concern you.” It is even easier to not acknowledge your own privilege, dismiss obvious inequalities under a countless number of justifications and excuses, because in so doing, you rid yourself of the only humane course of action — to take a stand for something.

Sure, it’s not that hard to continue pretending (especially to yourself) that you are all that and a bag of gummy bears when it comes to your “open-mindedness” and “inclusivity” (“Hey, look, I’ve got so many gay friends!”), but you cannot escape the truth; it will always find you and test you in the most personal way. What then will you do? When “the truth” cannot be hidden under a phony political discussion over cocktails to make you appear like the conscious intellectual sort? What will you do when the “issue” is now a “person” that you know and claim to love?

Before Spectra really let me in, I honestly felt like I was “for” the “gay community”, but now I understand that being an ally is way more than just a social or political “stance” on an “issue” — it is truly personal. When it comes to justice and equality for human beings, there is no in between, no neutrality; passivity might as well be aggression for you are either for or against. Period. I am a person who loves my sister, all parts of her, and will stand up to anyone, movement, person, or drunken slurr-throwing a**hole to protect her. There’s nothing political about that.

I do, of course, recognize my privilege in the knowledge that I am a straight, petite “girly” young woman who loves stilettos and baby doll dresses with a heterosexual preference for men that is globally accepted, but I passionately honor my personal linkage to the fight for LGBT equality and for the right for anyone to express the “self” by speaking out in spaces in which my sister is not as comfortable or present. It’s one thing to be an ally at QWOC+ events, it’s another thing to be an ally when you’re outnumbered by narrow-minded and/or ignorant straight men and women. But trust, l am always ready! Lock and Load! *haha kidding*

I may not be a direct member of the community–but I am sure as Helen a sister to it because at the end of the day, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, gender-queer and everyone in between who refuse to adhere to “labels” are human beings like me; we are all just people. We should all have the right to be ourselves. We are all human beings and citizens of this interesting (and often twisted) world of ours. So — my sister aside — that is reason enough for me to care enough to want to read a book (or RSVP “yes” to all 300 QWOC+ events on Facebook).

As human beings, the more we connect with each other — recognize, explore, accept and even celebrate how we differ — the more we can see who we are inside more clearly. I feel connected to more people in the world than I did before and, in turn, have developed a stronger sense of self; my world has expanded, my experiences are more conscious, and I am a much better person.

So I call on all of you, friends, brothers, parents, sisters, school teachers etc., of the brave people of the LGBT/Queer community. Push yourselves. Check yourselves. And grow, via  healthy balance of stepping out of your comfort zones, listening, asking questions, and seeking new ways to learn about the struggles (and victories!) of your loved ones. If you don’t do this — become a more purposeful ally to someone else — for someone you claim to love, then at least do it for yourself.

Call for Workshop Proposals for Mind, Body, and Soul Health Conference for LGBT People of Color

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on June 25th, 2010

Ever have one of those days, weeks, months where you feel tired mentally, physically, and spiritually? Ever feel like you needed some inspiration, some information, some type of organization is your life? We feel you.

QWOC+ is happy to announce this year’s Mind, Body, and Soul Conference – chicken soup for the LGBTQI Person of Color soul. The conference will be held at Simmons College, with co-sponsorship from Simmon’s Institute for Leadership and Change, on Saturday, July 31st.

But we need you to make it happen. We’re looking for proposals from individuals. health practitioners, experienced community organizers, and non-profit organizations who are willing to engage in real talk about the health of marginalized group within the queer community.

Here are a few of our ideas:

1) Nutrition
2) Feng Shui
3) Herbal Medicine
4) Sex
5) Self-Development
6) Building Healthy Communities/Relationships
7) Exercise/Physical Exercise
8) Healing for Trauma
9) Spirituality
10) Your idea of what’s most relevant to the queer community of color

To get a better idea of what we’re looking for, check out information on last year’s conference: 2009 Mind, Body, and Soul Mini-Conference

Proposals should include the following information:

1) Title
2) Session Overview
3) The Why: Please elaborate on how you think this topic is relevant / how it would contribute to the conference
4) What do you hope to achieve with your session?

Note: No need to worry about finalized details — we just want the general idea and will work with you to fully develop your session if it is selected.

*Presentations should be for at least one hour, and at most an hour and a half.

Please send proposals and inquiries to: mbs@qwocboston.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Repost from Politics Daily: ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Tougher on Minorities, Women

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on June 7th, 2010


Here’s one thing you probably know about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Pentagon policy on gays and lesbians in the military. As my colleague Patricia Murphy reports, a bill to dismantle this outdated policy is wending its way through Congress.

Here’s one thing you probably don’t know about the 17-year-old law that says, essentially, gays and lesbians can remain in the military as long as no one knows they are gay:

The ban has disproportionately affected minorities and women. The latest data, compiled by the gay rights group Servicemembers United from Defense Department numbers, show that in 2008, minorities made up 45 percent of troops discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” while minorities were 30 percent of the service. Women accounted for 34 percent of the discharges but comprised 14 percent of the military.

USA Today, reporting the study, contacted Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith who said the military does not know why there is a disproportionate number of discharges for minorities and women and, under the ban, can’t look into the question.

Nonetheless, I was shocked to find out that service women are more than twice as likely to be discharged under DADT, based on the Servicemembers United’s numbers crunching. And for persons of color, the rate is 1.5 percent. Our armed services are not yet gender-blind or color-blind, although it is a goal the services are working hard to meet. But I am still curious as to why the discharge rate is so disproportionately high for women. I posed the question to Servicemembers United Executive Director J. Alexander Nicholson III, and he responded this way:

“Ultimately we do not know exactly why women are disproportionately impacted by the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law, but we do know that this law is often used as a tool for sexual harassment against women and sometimes even a tool to enable sexual assault. Often times women are accused of being lesbians if they do not succumb to the sexual advances or the romantic interests of others, and this sometimes leads to unfair targeting of women under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ It should also be noted that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately discharged under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ All of these facts fly in the face of the claims that this law is working. A law that impacts women, and especially women of color, at twice the rate of their presence in the military is clearly not working.”

So let me get this, er, straight — servicemen threaten servicewomen with “outing” them as lesbians unless they succumb to the men’s sexual advances? What kind of “Through the Looking Glass” parallel universe have the Armed Forces become under DADT? And why is our volunteer, body-strapped military firing otherwise perfectly credentialed soldiers because they happen to be gay or lesbian? The question was debated last week on the House floor as members voted to approve the legislation that could ultimately dismantle DADT. The movement to end DADT comes at a time when the military is having an especially hard time filling critical slots in the armed services:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that of the 13,500 members of the military who have been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” more than 1,000 filled critical occupations, such as engineers and interpreters.

Despite this, passage of a similar bill will face opposition when it goes before the Senate later this month.

My life experience teaches me the persons most threatened by the presence of gays and lesbians are people who feel threatened in some way by their own sexuality. Instead of supporting an archaic law that deprives the armed services of critical force members, why don’t Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other senators opposed to repealing DADT sponsor a mass therapy session for service members threatened by gay and lesbian colleagues? Obviously, that will never happen. But it would be nice if macho military men could get over their fears of serving with gay men and women. I guess facing their own psychological demons head on, even in our enlightened age, might be too much for them.


Look for a blog post on this later on in the week!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Intern,

Erika, QWOC+ Boston

Posted in News

Special Request to the Boston Queer Community: Support Truth Serum During Surgery Recovery

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on February 3rd, 2010

Dear QWOC+ Boston friends,

We’d like to make a personal request:

A fierce QWOC+ supporter/volunteer, dear friend, fellow community organizer, and long-time producer of all kinds of queer, rebellious, funky, limit-pushing events in Boston needs OUR support during her surgery recovery.

Please consider attending one of the fundraising events we’re supporting this weekend and RETURN the love Aliza’s been giving QWOC+ Boston AND the Boston queer community for over ten years…


THIS FRIDAY! February 5, 2010 8pm
Utero-A-GoGo No. 1

a benefit for Aliza Shapiro
at a private residence in the South End
Info @ Truth Serum Website: http://www.truthserum.org/

THIS SUNDAY! February 7, 2010**
Utero-A-GoGo No. 2

a concert and cabaret/drag/burlesque show of hysterical proportions!
Great Scott
1222 Commonwealth Ave Allston (at corner of Harvard)
$10 doors at 8pm, show at 9pm 18+
a limited number of discounted tickets are a
Info @ Truth Serum Website: http://www.truthserum.org/

**If you’re interested in attending with a group, please leave a message on the facebook group or page, or send us a tweet @qwocboston and we’ll make sure everyone gets together!


IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND, PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TO uteroagogo@gmail.com. Include a funny haiku note with your offering if you’re feeling creative, Aliza will love it. :)



Boston Pride is recruiting a Deputy Director

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on September 30th, 2009

Boston Pride is recruiting a Deputy Director

P R E S S   R E L E A SE
[download pdf]
Linda DeMarco, President
Boston Pride
Boston, Mass., September 16, 2009 — After almost 40 years of service to the LGBT Community as an all-volunteer 501c(3) non-profit organization, The Boston Pride Committee is setting out to hire its first-ever full time employee to lead the organization into the future. The Board of Directors is seeking resumes to fill their newly instated position of Deputy Director.
“Boston Pride has always been a grassroots organization and will remain so,” explained Linda DeMarco, Boston Pride President. “More than one million people attended Boston Pride activities last year in events organized solely by a group of volunteers in their spare time. As we begin planning now for our 40th anniversary in 2010, hiring a Deputy Director is just the next step in the evolution of the organization.”
Operating since 1970, Boston Pride is an independent, non-profit agency that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied community by working to enhance visibility through a week of events each June and year-round activities designed to promote LGBT awareness, dignity, and understanding.
The public can learn more about Boston Pride by visiting www.bostonpride.org. Interested candidates should send cover letter, resume and salary requirement to hr@bostonpride.org. The deadline for applying is October 15 with interviews taking place in early November.


J O B   D E S C R I P T I O N
[download pdf]
What is the Boston Pride Committee? The Boston Pride Committee serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and ally community. It works to enhance the visibility of Boston’s LGBT community through a week of events each June, in conjunction with year round activities, to promote LGBT awareness, dignity, and understanding.
REPORTS TO: Board of Directors
POSITION DESCRIPTION: The Deputy Director (DD) reports directly to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the daily administration and management of the Boston Pride Committee (BPC). The DD works with and supports the Board of Directors in: visioning and long-term planning; defining priorities; building and enhancing teamwork among Board members and other volunteer Chairs; developing strong and responsible relationships with Boston’s widely diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; and maintaining BPC’s grassroots orientation.
- B.S. or equivalent.
- Minimum three years management experience in non-profit sector.
- Minimum three years experience with Boston/New England LGBT community.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively with LGBT individuals and organizations across spectrums of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender-identity, disability, socio-economic background, etc.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively and productively with a volunteer board of directors.
- Strong skills and significant experience in staff supervision and development.
- Significant and measurable experience in sponsorship development and maintenance.
- Significant and measurable experience in contract negotiations.
- Experience managing a budget.
- Strong sense of organization and planning, and ability to manage time well.
- Demonstration of leadership, sense of vision, and ability to motivate others.
- Strong interpersonal skills, and a professional demeanor and presentation.
- Strong verbal and written communication and listening skills.
- Integrity and an ability to maintain confidentiality.
- Strong analytical skills.
- Demonstrated ability to understand, value, and respect the broad range of diversity within the LGBT communities, and to work collaboratively with diverse individuals and groups to ensure Pride programs and events are inclusive and inviting.
- Ability to multi-task and be in control of numerous tasks at any one time.
- Strong computer skills with a proficiency in Microsoft Office products and email clients. Experience with Adobe software products (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) a plus.
- Bilingual a plus.
- Must be flexible, and able to work evenings and weekends as needed.
- Strong public relations skills and experience, including crisis management
- Cognizant of, and sensitive to, the political influences that affect Pride.
- Ability to work with government bodies and civil servants.
Position: Fulltime/Flexible/Salaried.
Salary is commensurate with experience.
 About Boston Pride
The Boston Pride Committee is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Meet the Board of Directors and the Chairs of the Committee:

Keri Aulita – Vice President, Board of Directors

Sylvain Bruni – Board of Directors

Malcolm Carey – Board of Directors

Linda DeMarco – President, Board of Directors

Pierce Durkin – Clerk, Board of Directors

Kristie Helms – Board of Directors

Wilfred Labiosa – Board of Directors

Heather Mills – Logistics Chair

Cale Moore – Merchandise Chair

Cat Sauer – Festival Chair

“The Boston Pride Committee, serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied community, works to enhance the visibility of Boston’s LGBT community through a week of events each June, in conjunction with year-round activities, to promote LGBT awareness, dignity, and understanding.”

Web: www.BostonPride.org
Email: info@bostonpride.org
PrideLine: 617-262-9405

Lil Mama Makes Controversial Critique on America’s Best Dance Crew

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on September 1st, 2009

Repost from glaadBLOG.org

Lil Mama Makes Controversial Critique on America’s Best Dance Crew

August 31, 2009

Underlying conflict rose to the surface for Vogue Evolution last night on America’s Best Dance Crew as Leiomy said she was homesick and was shown acting out in rehearsal footage. After their performance, judge Lil Mama waded into controversy with some of her comments to Leiomy. (more…)

Posted in News

Bay Windows Article: QWOC Week Kick-Off Boat Cruise

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on August 7th, 2009

Sailors’ delight: QWOC Week weighs anchor with kick-off cruise
by Hannah Clay Wareham
Staff Reporter
Thursday Aug 6, 2009

Cloudy skies didn’t stop 125 queer women of color (and their friends) from lining up on Rowes Wharf on August 2 to board the New Boston for Queer Women of Color (QWOC) Week’s kick-off event: the Uni-T Dance and Boat Cruise.

Presented by QWOC+ Boston and DykeNight Productions, and in collaboration with Men of Color Creating Change (MOCCC), Boston LGBT Social Circle of Color, and Boston Gay Women’s Group, the event was tantamount to the Week’s motto: “Diversity speaks.”

“The best thing about this week is the collaboration,” QWOC volunteer Heidy Gonzalez said. “Every single event [involves] us working with another group.”

“It made sense to celebrate the kick-off of their week,” said Kristen Porter, owner of DykeNight Productions, exemplifying the inter-community support, cooperation, and collaboration typified by QWOC Week 2009, which volunteers have been planning for since February.

For QWOC volunteer Jacob Barela, the cruise “sets the tone” for the upcoming Week’s events. “We’re doing something different,” Barela said. “I mean, you don’t go on a boat cruise every weekend!”

The novelty of the three-hour cruise wasn’t lost on attendees. While Gilligan and the Captain were not in attendance, gay men in sunhats marveled at the yachts that were the New Boston’s neighbors, and lines at the two bars quickly formed.

Once DJ Inkognito started spinning on the open-air dance floor, it was only a matter of minutes before passengers found their sea legs and began dancing the evening away. Some joked that the occasional pitching of the ship only served to improve their dance moves.

“I love to see so many queer people of color together in one room,” Gonzalez said, smiling at the crowd. “It doesn’t happen every day.”

Carnell Freeman, one of the founding members of MOCCC, was also happy with the event’s turnout. “If the message gets out that we’re trying to better the community,” he said, “people will come.”

Later in the evening, the New Boston’s path crossed that of a ferry bound for Provincetown. The boat tipped a little as everyone rushed to the edge to wave to the P-town ferry passengers like they were long-lost friends. The feeling of celebration in the air was catching and, if the kick-off event was any indication, will endure for the remainder of QWOC Week.

For the QWOC Week 2009 schedule of events, and for more information, visit www.qwocboston.org.

James White, a member of Men of Color Creating Change, Adaora Asala, one of QWOC+ Boston’s founding organizers, and Heidy Gonzalez, a QWOC+ Boston volunteer.
James White, a member of Men of Color Creating Change, Adaora Asala, one of QWOC+ Boston’s founding organizers, and Heidy Gonzalez, a QWOC+ Boston volunteer.    (Source: Bonae L’amour Photography)

A Transgender Person is Murdered Every 3 Days in the World…Mostly in Latin America

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on July 31st, 2009

Repost from VivirLatino.com

Here at VL we have covered lots of storiesabout violence against transgender people, and unfortunately many of these cases of violence end in death. What I didn’t know was that the rate at which transgender murders occur worldwide wasso high; a recent report by non-profit organization Transgender Europe (TGEU) shows that a transgender person is killed every 3 days. And another disturbing fact is that the majority of these murders are happening in Latin America:

The cases have been reported from all six World regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The majority of cases have been reported from Latin America and North America. On these continents the majority of cases have been reported from Brazil (59) and the U.S.A. (16) for 2008 and from Brazil (23), Venezuela (20), and Guatemala (10) for the first six months of 2009. Moreover, the preliminary results show a total of 11 murdered trans people reported for Colombia followed by 5 for Honduras and 4 for Mexico and Venezuela for 2008, and 6 for Mexico and 3 for Argentina, and the Dominican Republic for the first six months of 2009.

In total 91 murders of trans people were reported in 11 Latin American countries in 2008, and 73 murders of trans people in 11 Latin American countries in the first six months of 2009. The reported murders of trans people in Latin America account for 75% and 88% of the world wide reported murders of trans people in 2008 and the first six months of
2009 respectively.

The map associated with the study (image above) for 2009 to date shows the highest concentration of murders in South America, particularly in Brazil.

Spain’s Ambiente G reports on another chilling statisticin Peru, a gay or lesbian person is killed every 5 days.

Posted in News

Commentary: Gay is NOT the New Black

Posted By QWOC+ Boston on July 16th, 2009
By LZ Granderson
Special to CNN

Editor’s note: LZ Granderson is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, and has contributed to ESPN’s Sports Center, Outside the Lines and First Take. He is the 2009 Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) award winner for online journalism and the 2008 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) winner for column writing.

LZ Granderson says criticism of President Obama by the gay community has gone too far.

LZ Granderson says criticism of President Obama by the gay community has gone too far.

(CNN) — Far from flowing rainbow flags, the sound of Lady Gaga and, quite honestly, white people, stands a nightclub just outside of Wicker Park in Chicago, Illinois, by the name of The Prop House.

The line to get in usually stretches down the block, and unlike many of the clubs in Boystown and Andersonville, this one plays hip-hop and caters to men who may or may not openly identify as gay, but without question are black and proud.

And a good number of them are tired of hearing how the gay community is disappointed in President Obama, because they are not.

In recent weeks, one would have thought the nation’s first black president was also the nation’s biggest homophobe. Everyone from Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and radio personality Rachel Maddow to Joe Solmonese, the president of Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay advocacy group, seem to be blasting Obama for everything from “don’t ask don’t tell” to Adam Lambert not winning American Idol.

In their minds, Obama is not moving fast enough on behalf of the GLBT community. The outcry is not completely without merit — the Justice Department’s unnerving brief on the Defense of Marriage Act immediately comes to mind. I was upset by some of the statements, but not surprised. (After the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, President Ronald Reagan’s initial handling of AIDS and, more recently, Katrina, there is little that surprises me when it comes to the government and the treatment of its people.)

Still, rarely has criticism regarding Obama and the GLBT community come from the kind of person you would find standing in line at a spot like The Prop House, and there’s a reason for that.

Despite the catchiness of the slogan, gay is not the new black.

Black is still black.

And if any group should know this, it’s the gay community.

Bars such as The Prop House, or Bulldogs in Atlanta, Georgia, exist because a large number of gay blacks — particularly those who date other blacks, and live in the black community — do not feel a part of the larger gay movement. There are Gay Pride celebrations, and then there are Black Gay Prides.

There’s a popular bar in the heart of the nation’s capital that might as well rename itself Antebellum, because all of the white patrons tend to stay upstairs and the black patrons are on the first floor. Last year at the annual Human Rights Campaign national fundraiser in Washington, D.C. — an event that lasted more than three hours — the only black person to make it on stage was the entertainment.

When Proposition 8 passed in California, white gays were quick to blame the black community despite blacks making up less than 10 percent of total voters and whites being close to 60 percent. At protest rallies that followed, some gay blacks reported they were even hit with racial epithets by angry white participants. Not to split hairs, but for most blacks, the n-word trumps the f-word.

So while the white mouthpiece of the gay community shakes an angry finger at intolerance and bigotry in their blogs and on television, blacks and other minorities see the dirty laundry. They see the hypocrisy of publicly rallying in the name of unity but then privately living in segregated pockets. And then there is the history.

The 40th anniversary of Stonewall dominated Gay Pride celebrations around the country, and while that is certainly a significant moment that should be recognized, 40 years is nothing compared with the 400 blood-soaked years black people have been through in this country. There are stories some blacks lived through, stories others were told by their parents and stories that never had a chance to be told.

While those who were at Stonewall talk about the fear of being arrested by police, 40 years ago, blacks talked about the fear of dying at the hands of police and not having their bodies found or murder investigated. The 13th Amendment was signed in 1865, and it wasn’t until 1948 that President Harry S Truman desegregated the military. That’s more than an 80-year gap.

Not to be flip, but Miley Cyrus is older than Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.” That doesn’t mean that the safety of gay people should be trivialized or that Obama should not be held accountable for the promises he made on the campaign trail. But to call this month’s first-ever White House reception for GLBT leaders “too little too late” is akin to a petulant child throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat his dessert before dinner. This is one of the main reasons why so many blacks bristle at the comparison of the two movements — everybody wants to sing the blues, nobody wants to live them.

This lack of perspective is only going to alienate a black community that is still very proud of Obama and is hypersensitive about any criticism of him, especially given he’s been in office barely six months.

If blacks are less accepting of gays than other racial groups — and that is certainly debatable — then the parade of gay people calling Obama a “disappointment” on television is counterproductive in gaining acceptance, to say the least. And the fact that the loudest critics are mostly white doesn’t help matters either.

Hearing that race matters in the gay community may not be comforting to hear, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

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