Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Soul Purpose at First Gay Pride

If you haven't heard of Soul Purpose AZ (SPAZ), it is the newest LGBT organization in Phoenix. It is here to give a voice and a presence for the African-American LGBT community. If you're not a member of this community it may be difficult to understand the need for a group like this. Similar organizations face accusations of segregation. There is the claim that we're trying to separate ourselves from the larger LGBT population and that is not the case.
Organizations like this exist because of the unique characteristics that exist for its members. LGBT African-Americans are individuals that live in two different communities - two communities that are not always mutually inclusive. Lets be real, there is a great deal of homophobia in the black community. Lets stay real, there is also much racism in the gay community. To have to live in both worlds offers challenges that are sometimes difficult to navigate. So it is great to identify and commune with other like individuals that live with these same challenges.

There is another interesting problem for black people in the Arizona (we only make up three percent of the state). So just finding black people at all is sometimes hard. You won't believe how often I'm approached by newly transplanted black folks needing to know where to go for church, where to go to get their hair done, and the big one - where to go just to find other black people. Now lets add the factor of homosexuality, black LGBT people in Phoenix that have not made that connection to other similar people often feel lost.

Enter Soul Purpose AZ. The tag line for the organization is - Black! Gay! and Present! This is their first appearance at a Pride celebration. They marched in the Phoenix Pride Parade chanting, dancing and passing out Skittles. It was fabulous.

If you would like to learn more about Soul Purpose AZ please visit www.myspace.com/soulpurposeaz or contact them at soulpurposeaz@gmail.com.

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