Thursday, April 30, 2009
So I'm encouraging everyone to find one of the participating restaurants and lip sync, I'm sorry I mean dine out for your life. You can find a list of participating restaurants here. Grab some friends (this is a good cause so you could even grab some people you don't like) and go out and have lunch or dinner and feel good about what you're doing for the community. Just a heads up - the percentage being donated various between restaurants. Some places will give 100% of their revenue from today. The others range from 25% and higher. If you want your dollar to go further, you can view the details of the participating restaurant to find out how much is being donated.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I met Ade in 2004 when I was volunteering with AIDS Project Arizona. I was doing my regular outreach duty - handing out condoms and HIV info at any venue I could get into that had black folks. Outside of Club Incognito she hit me up with a request. She told me she was a biology instructor for Chandler- Gilbert Community College and one of her classes was about to go into their studies of HIV. She asked if I could do a presentation on HIV and how the virus works in the body. I'm all about going anywhere that I'm invited if I'm able to address people about HIV/ AIDS, so I immediately said yes.
I've never shared this with Ade, so she'll be finding out with everyone that reads this - child, I didn't know a thing about how HIV really worked in the body. My job as an outreach person consisted of me telling people how not to get it. I knew that the virus often mutated and I knew the immune system did not know how to effectively eliminate it. That's pretty much all I knew. But I'm a pretty sharp cookie myself. I had all the resources I needed to put together a presentation. Within the span of a week a put together a college level presentation regarding HIV modes of transmission, cellular reproduction of the virus, the virus' lifecycle, etc. I was pretty impressed with what I put together and I was very pleased with how it went over for her class. I'm happy that I was presented with that challenge because you wouldn't believe how often I was able to put that information to use following that presentation.
Dr. Banjoko jokingly calls herself the dancing plant doctor and it's such a perfect title. Her studies at Arizona State University yielded her a BS in Botany and a PhD in Cell Biology. She was recognized by Soul Purpose Arizona at their In The Life Celebration for her excellence in education and she was honored at last year's Martin Luther King celebration for her continuous commitment in working with youth. She was also a member of the Kawambe Omowale African Drum and Dance Theatre (Arizona's premiere African dance company) and she studies belly dance. Hard to believe a person this active is a great grandmother.
Ade, you not only inspire me, you inspire so many people around you. I appreciate your spirit and brilliance and your authenticity. Keep walking in congruency, letting the life you live reflect the words you speak.
To see more pics from her celebration go here.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Although we know it happens, it's something we seldom hear discussed by the people who are actually in prison. That's why the video below is a rare find. The two men consider themselves in prison to be husband and wife. Not sure who the person was that coerced these two individuals to tell their stories to the camera, but they must have very charismatic. Anywho, take a peek (and thanks to the Wandering Caravan for making me aware of this).
Friday, April 24, 2009
Being honest, I don't know enough from this to form an opinion. Most shelters I know are either or (it's a men's homeless shelter or a women's homeless shelter). If Akasha identifies as female should she stay at a female homeless shelter? Or would she also be turned away from that facility? I'm also torn because I was raised to believe that beggars can't be choosers. If you need a place to stay and there are guidelines you mush adhere to stay there, why should an exception be made for you.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
There are so few black LGBT images on film that I'm all about supporting all that is out there. Finding Me is a terrific film that everyone should support. There are many moments where I laughed out loud. There are also times when I thought the story that was being told was my story. I think all black gay men will see themselves in this movie.
There is music by and a brief cameo by out gay artist Nhojj. There is lots of terrific eye candy through out. You will not be disappointed with this movie. It can currently be purchased through Amazon or TLA.
In case you've been living under a rock and didn't hear about this, during the pageant last Saturday night, judge Perez Hilton asked Ms. California a question about what states should do now that four states allow gay marriage. In her answer to the question, Ms. California basically said in her United States, marriage would be between a man and a woman. There were several boos from the audience following her answer. Some people think it was this answer that cost her the title.
The Alabama House actually passed the resolution. REALLY. Why is something this trivial and irrelevent beingd discussed in the Alabama Congress. Do they not have anything more important to do?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
That moment was life changing for me. Sure there were some that were slightly closeted, but for the most part I was surrounded by people that were out, proud and unashamed of who they were. It was fabulous. So now I'm a pride junkie. Be it gay pride or black gay pride - it's all good.
Friday, April 17, 2009
We recorded this video on the night of the Healing Racism event at Phoenix College. The topic for the evening was The rainbow and race: exploring how race impacts our understanding of sexual orientation. I've known James for a few months and I asked him the question, "Why is gay pride important to you?"
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Now Carl's mom is speaking out against homophobia and against bullying and against schools that do nothing to put an end to this implorable behaviour. The school involved (New Leadership Charter School of Springfield, Massachussetts) initially refused to make any comment about the incident. That's the part that infuriated me the most. There should have been an apology to this mother from the school the moment this story came out.
Rev. Patrick Stout has been a pillar for the Phoenix LGBT community for as long as I can remember. He is the founder of the Community Church of Hope which I place I often go to when I need a spiritual uplifting or when I need to fellowship with other LGBT people of faith. His words are always encouraging and motivating.
Because they allow me to live my life authentically they are next on my list. Hanging out with and enjoying my friends is an ongoing always pleasant occasion. So the company of my friends is my unforgettable (and hopefully neverending) pride moment number five. See more pics of my friends here.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Please check out the video above. It's just a collection of LGBT moments that I've been proud of. Moments like the grand opening of the One Voice Community Center or attending the In The Life Celebratoin or hosting the Black AIDS Awareness Day Program. There are also just fun moments like throwing a birthday party for a friend or attending the wedding of a couple ready to commit themselves to each other. Phoenix Gay Pride will be here this weekend and I hope your ready for it. And I hope you're attending. SEE YOU THERE!!!!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Regina Gazelle is one of those individuals I think about when I think about gay pride. She lives her life as a proud trans woman 365 days of the year. Just over two years ago she embarked upon a mission that would put Phoenix on the map for trans issues. She opened the first all transgender halfway house in the country, This Is H.O.W. Her never ending work yielded her the distinguished honor of Woman of the Year from Echo Magazine.
Julie is a part of the team at Equality Arizona. She, as well as the entire Equality Arizona staff, is on the forefront of the fight for LGBT equality, specifically here in Arizona. I met her for the first time when we both joined Soulforce when they visited Arizona in their cross country Marriage Equality busride. Her energy was amazing and I loved her immediately.
Leviticus 19:27 - This one condemns me to hell for shaving my beard.
I'm proud to see such a tremendous response to this slap in the face. It's great to know that we as a community will not sit idly by and wait for others to one day recognize we deserve equality. We are standing up and demanding the rights we deserve.
So for these reasons, Arizona's LGBT (and allies) standing up for marriage equality makes number six on my list of unforgettable pride moments. To see some photos from some of the events from around town go here.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
If you looked up the word activist in the dictionary you'd find a picture of this guy. Luis Garcia is one of the founder's of HERO (Human & Equal Rights Organizers). I met him when he was a writer for Echo Magazine. Now I've learned that he dropped his name in the hat to run for a state seat in the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010. He is one of the most involved men I know when it comes to gay and lesbian issues.
I first heard of there Fall Festival last year when I received an invite from Pastor Ronnie Pigg. Now Halloween is probably my favorie holiday of the year so I usually have several things on my calendar for the day. But I really do adore Pastor Ronnie and I couldn't turn down his invite. So although I had two other parties to attend that night I figured I would make a brief appearance.
Colin Powell thinks that the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gays should be re-evaluated. The above interview was done earliesr this month. He won't come out and make a judgement and say right now that it should be repealed, he's just saying that it should be reviewed. But he did go on to say that should Congress decide to repeal the law he would support the repeal. He plays the part of the politician very well. He won't come out and say he supports the repeal but he won't say he opposed the repeal either. I'm just gonna take this as one in our favor.
While I'm pleased that the new administration is making this needed campaign. And I'm thrilled that they are committing 45 million dollars to this effort. I am a bit unsettled by the key players involved in creating this campaign. While there are black organizations that will be partners in the campaign; there are no black organizations that have an understanding of black gay or bisexual men that are involved.
Some of the black organizations on board include the NAACP, 100 Black Men of America, and the Congressional Black Caucus. But realistically, none of the groups know how to outreach to black gay men. Additional, some black organizations that should have a place at the table (ie the National Black Justice Coalition and the Black AIDS Institute) are not involved. Both of these national organizations currently have strong ties within the Black LGBT communties. However neither organization has been invited. I personally have a problem with that. While the organizers say that there will be more partners invited to come on board, I'm wondering why these agencies were invovled initially.
Black gay men still get infected with HIV. Black gay men are still dying from AIDS. So why do organizations that can reach Black gay and bisexual men not have a place at the table. I'm hoping this problem is resolved very soon. Learn more about this story here.
This PSA created by the National Organization or Marriage with probably piss of some members of the LGBT community, and rightfully so. It's basically lies and propaganda made to scare people. Their agenda is to misinform those unknowing individuals into rejecting the idea of marriage equality for gays and lesbians. But I just don't have the energy to be as angry at this as I probably should be.
Maybe one of the reasons I'm not that angry is I have this stupid grin on my face. I have to thank those guys over at one of my favorite sites BlogActive for showcasing some video responses to the above that just had me laughing my ass off. I'm sorry but it's true - we are just way more creative than they are. Please check one of the videos here or here. Very entertaining.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Not only are you invited to list your choice of the five hottest men alive. But there are three additional catergories you can nominate to this year. This year you can vote specifically on the hottest men of color, the hottest out gay men and the hottest men over forty. I'm impressed by this. You don't have to be yound and white to be sexxy. I was totally serious earlier when I sad I consider Julian Bond to be one of the hottest men around.
So if you want to nominate someone please go here, and if you want to vote specifically for the men of color category go here.
The guys above (Lenny Kravitz, Boris Kodjoe, Michael Ealy, Tyrese, and Will Smith) are my fave five. Lenny Kravitz with or without dreads is sooo fucking hot. Pardon my exclamation - just no other way to say that. Boris Kodjoe - you know you've touched yourself think about him. Michael Ealy - yes, I'd rob the cradle for that one. Beautiful eyes, sexy smile. Tyrese - I've been in love with him since his debut CD dropped. The cover was in black and white and he had on this wife beater. And finally Will Smith. He's just pretty. Just pretty honey. So who's on your list?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Pic Up the Mic tells the story of several hip-hop artists that are working hard at their craft but are not hiding their sexual orientation. These guys (and gals) were out and proud but working in an industry that historically doesn't take to kindly to those of the homosexual pursasion. So imagine my excitement when I learned that some of the guys in the film were going on tour and one of their stops would be Phoenix, Arizonoa (yes were the 5th largest country in the nation but we gets no love yall - so this stop was a surprise to me).
I can't begin tell you how talented some of these guys are. Tori Fixx - what can I say. Young, energetic, handsome, nice, remarkable on the mic, phenomenal as a producer, salt of the earth kind of person. Everything he touches is amazing. That night I purchased his CD Code Red and it stayed on constant rotation in my house for about two months straight (maybe not straight, let's say two consecutive months - you know I can't do nothing straight).
Johnny Dangerous is one of the most outlandish characters I've ever met, but don't get it twisted - his music is HOT! HOT! HOT! DeadLee - thugged out latin brutha in a wife beater spitting gangsta lyrics. It may be one of the greatest shows I saw that year. I know a big part of my enthusiasm was just that it was terrific seeing these people doing their thang and being totally out, honest and open about who they are. Authenticity does it for me and everyone that performed that night was authentic. For all those reasons, attending the Homorevolution Tour is number eight on my list of unforgettable pride moments. You can see photos of the performances that night here.
And just an FYI - some of these guys will be back next week to celebrate gay pride with us. They will be performing at club Plazma on the night of Saturday, April 18. Hopefully I'll see you there.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I attended my first Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2007 and was so moved by the power of this event. But at the same time so disappointed by the number of people that I saw in attendance. This candlelight vigil/ remembrance ceremony enlighted me to something I wasn't aware of - transphobia, tranpanic and transviolence. The day of remembrance brings a spotlight to those members of the trans-community that have been murdered over the course of the year.
See more photos from the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2007 here or 2008 here.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Gay Pride in Phoenix will be on us before we know it. In case you didn't know, Arizona launches and shuts down the Pride Season with the first pride of the country happening in Phoenix and the final pride happening in Tucson. Gay Pride in Phoenix will jump off in two weeks (April 18 & 19) and it's one of the most exciting one's I've ever wanted to attend.
So what am I looking forward to this year? Well, this year I will be walking in the parade with my men's group UGIMA (United Gay Informed Men of Arizona). We are less than a year old so this will be our first opportunity to participate. So I'm looking forward to sashaying down 3rd Street putting my pride on parade for the world to see.
There is just so much happening around town that I can't begin to list it all. Just know that I"m looking foward to what's coming. But before the weekend gets here I want to take the time to count down my favorite times celebrating with the Arizona LGBT community. Whether it's pride, protests or pageants I have some wonderful memories (and some very scary pictures) that I want to share. So each day (until Pride is upon us) I'll be counting down those memories.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This is the one of the most amazing panel discussions I've seen in quite some time. The discussion was made possible by several organizations collaborating and making it happen. So first off let me say kudos to GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Hollywood Chapter of the NAACP and the Screen Actors Guild for joining forces and bringing the phenomenal brainchild to fruition.
The discussed revolved around the media's depiction of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals on television and in film. The people at the table are the correct people at the table. Oh my God, I can't believe they brought all these influential, creative, innovative people together in one place. I'm loving it. The only face(s) missing were Patrik-Ian Polk or atleast one cast member of Noah's Arc.
I'm glad members of the audience made note that it would have been great if they could have had atleast one transgender member of the community join the panel. But the organizers did explain in the end that this panel was pulled together in the course of a week. So with the time it took to generate this group of people I'm impressed.
This is one of those videos I'll be making all of my friends watch. Thanx to GLAAD for posting the video.