Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, December 14, 2009

black.womyn: You Inspire Me

I've been waiting for this film to arrive for sometime now and it finally showed up. My copy of black.womyn: conversations with lesbians of African descent arrived tonight and I just finished watching it. I've got three words to describe it. Pow-Wer-Ful. Black same-gender loving individuals are almost totally absent from film. That is why I totally embrace any opportunity to see LGBT people of color. Be it feature film or documentary, big screen or small screen, if there is a black gay or lesbian being featured, I try to support.

That being said, this film is phenomenal. Over fifty beautiful, intelligent, articulate and engaging black lesbians have a real conversation about what it means to wear these three titles - woman, black, lesbian. They talk about everything from coming out to gender roles and from homophobia to lesbian visibility. As a black gay man I can identify with many of the issues that were discussed. But I cannot speak to what it means to add gender to the equation. I relate to being same-gender loving. I can speak to being black. I cannot (and will not) pretend to understand the added weight of gender. But these womym do a remarkable job in telling their stores and relaying their truth.

I do feel however that the people that need to see this film probably never will. Black.womyn will most likely be watched by lesbians and gays (and most likely lesbians and gays of color). And thought I totally get why that will happen (because we do want to see ourselves reflected back from the screen) the relevence of this film goes beyond such a simplistic limitation. Black.womyn does a fantastic job giving visibility to an invisible community and more films like this one are needed. I can see this being a tool in college classrooms or in LGBT community centers across the country. Kudos to filmmaker Tiona McClodden for making the project happen. You did an amazing job.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fed Up with Donnie McClurkin

Apparently I'm not the only one fed up with Donnie McClurkin. The men of BGM (Black Gay Men's Network) were so tired of Donnie McClurkin's rampant and out of control homophobic tyrades that they had to do something about it. What did they do? They took out a full page ad in the Metro NY. The ad basically delivers the powerful message that being Gay is a beautiful thing and is accepted in the eys of God.

Regarding hypocrisy in the pulpit the ad sends a message to all pastors which states, "it is time to stop abusing your gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender sons and daughters." Thank you to the BGM for this line because that is exactly what these pastors are doing. This is spiritual abuse and they need to stop it. The damage they are doing to young LGBT individuals may be irreparable. Sadly enough I've witnessed firsthand that many individuals that are making these condemnations are same-gender loving themselves. I've been propositioned by so many married ministers that I've lost count. But every other Sunday they they feel compelled to preach anti-gay sermons.

The men of BGM had message specifically for Donnie that was not as vengeful as I would have been. Donnie loves to pick up the microphone and tell how he has been delivered from his homosexuality and then proceed to condemn anyone that may be living as gay or lesbian. "We love you my brother and in ways the traditional church cannot," says the BGM ad and it continues with, "We want to see you healed and whole. Whenever you are ready come home and we will love you."

I'm happy they are able to offer the words of welcome. I just can't do it. Donnie's messages of hate (and I just need to point out they come from a place of self-hate and lack of self-acceptance) have gone on for too long. I just don't have that love for him. I think he is doing more damage to the LGBT community than Rev. Fred Phelps.

There are so many LGBT men and women in the church seeking the comfort and love of God and Donnie McClurkin is denying them this. And in the process he sending the message to these individuals that their lives are sinful and should be changed. He is ruining lives and he needs to stop. And should he try to "come home" I would slam the door in his face.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Seriously? Georgia?

I swear, you can almost knock me down with a feather. Georgia just elected an African-American lesbian to its legislature. GEORGIA. Red state Georgia. Georgia on my mind Georgia. Home of Georgia peaches Georgia. As progressive as the city of Atlanta maybe, I still didn't think I'd see the day when this would happen. The rural areas of Georgia (and many residents of Hot-lanta itself) are very conservative so this victory is indeed a milestone. And I'm very happy it's finally happened.

Simone Bell is the woman that is making history. Her victory in a run-off election for the Atlanta area Georgia State Assembly seat is making news all across the country. But she remains very humble even after her win. “The historical aspect of this was never my goal. In fact, someone only brought that to my attention midway through the campaign.”

What is also very astounding to hear is that there was no organized opposition or smear campaigns on her candidacy centered on her sexual orientation. According to Bell, “Our district is very diverse and progressive in a lot of different ways, so attacking an LGBT candidate in this way wouldn’t have run well in this particular district."

As a state legislator, Bell said she would be focused on fighting further cuts in education and transportation in the state budget. Regarding LGBT issues, “We don’t have a lot of votes in the state legislature to do any progressive work, but in terms of being on the offense, I plan to work with the movable middle to work on making Georgia a better place" she said. "And I will fight hard against any legislation to take rights away from us on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Way to go Georgia and way to go Simone Bell. Congratulations!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today is World AIDS Day

Every 9 1/2 minutes someone is infected with HIV. For some reason we've come to the conclusion that HIV AIDS really isn't a problem anymore. But don't be fooled by the invisibility. People are still catching, getting ill and dying because of this virus. And a shout out to my black bruthas and sistahs, we seem to be especially vulnerable. Although we're only about 12% of the population of the US, we make up about half of all new HIV infections. Truth is HIV is still very much alive and well.

World AIDS Day is a day set aside to remember those we've lost and honor those living with this disease. The burden of the red ribbon for those infected and affected is devastating. There is still a lot of misinformation and stigma associated with HIV that causes many infected to hide in the shadows. People would rather not disclose for fear of what would happen should the info be discovered. Or they will distance themselves from loved ones so they don't have to deal.

HIV is too heavy a burden to carry alone. It takes its toll physically, mentally and emotionally and each of these aspects need to be addressed. So it's important to be open and honest with those close to you. There love and support will be essential.

And my advice to those that have someone close to you that is positive. There is no need to panic. If you're not sharing needles or having unprotected sex with the individual then there is no need to be afraid. HIV is not transmitted by touch or through the air.

Another truth we must face about this disease, many people living with HIV don't even know their true status. There is the assumption that since I was negative in my last test then I'm still negative (even though that last HIV test happened five years ago). So people believe there partners when they say, "I'm fine. I don't have HIV. I've been tested." And BAM, another person infected.

I want to encourage everyone to get tested. And I want to encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against HIV. Find an AIDS service organization and make a donation or volunteer your time. There are plenty of worthy non-profits out there that could use your help. And finally, get informed about HIV. Learn how best to avoid transmission. Learn what steps you need to take to take care of yourself should you discover your positive. And learn how be there for those in your life that are positive and need your support.