Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, April 17, 2017

Racial Bias: This IS an Issue!

Girl, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. Dozens of folks (all people of color) have stated they were not allowed to enter the new gay bar, Rebar, in New York City. When asked for a response, the official answer from the bar has been "this is not an issue." Well, judging by the promotional photo from the bar (yes, that is their image pictured above) it's obvious that there is a specific "type" this bar would like to attract. 

Let me just start with this, I am not going to beg to spend my money at an establishment where I'm not wanted. I've worked long and hard for it and I'm gonna spend it somewhere that welcomes me. You'll never catch me beating down this door to get in or begging for acceptance from a group that obviously would prefer I walked on by.

Well, walk on by I'll happily do. But if you're brazen enough to set up this practice [they told several black men the bar was at capacity and they couldn't get in and it was confirmed the place was only about half full] then be man enough to stand by what you started. Don't get it twisted, I understand and appreciate the "theme" bars.  I've visited and enjoyed a lesbian country bar where everyone wore flannel and two-stepped all night. The difference is, I was welcomed in that establishment without issue.

When I first came out, nearly every gay bar I went to was predominately black. I still love me a black gay bay. But let's be clear, while the clientele may be mostly black, no one is turned away because of the color of their skin. 

Reading headlines like the one's today about Rebar make me realize I need to quickly finish my book, Creating An Inclusive LGBT Community. Racial bias is found in most communities, and that includes the gay community. Transphobia is not exclusive to just the staight community, it runs rampant in the gay and lesbian community as well. If the gay community is going to continue to demand inclusion, then we need to practice what we preach. Do you speak out on issues regarding immigration? Does your organization make sure individuals with disabilities have access to your building? Do you feel that the issue of women's reproductive rights is an LGBT issue?

We can no longer only be active regarding issues that affect white cisgendered gay men. Our community is made up of people that are black, brown, and Native-American. We come from every nation and for some of us, English is our second language. We are Christian, Jewish and MUSLIM. We are young and we are old. Some of us are single, some of us have multiple partners, and many of us are raising children. Some of us have HIV and that does not mean we are dirty. Some on us wear our rainbow flag on our shirt and some of us live in silence about our sexuality, but that does not mean we are ashamed of who we are. Some of us are effeminate, some of us are masculine and both are okay. Some of us are kinky, and that is okay too. We may be able-bodied or we may have some physical challenges, but we all belong. Whether we go to work with a badge or a stethoscope, in a uniform or a suit and tie, with a white collar or a blue collar, we all deserve a place at the table. We are short and tall, thin and plus sized and there is value in all of our voices.  

New York City deserves better.  The LGBT community can do better. And that's I have to say.

United Airlines Denied Disabled Man's Mobility Device

Really, you can't make this stuff up. Less than a week after United made the news for forcibly ejecting a paying customer from their plane, they are once again in the news. And once again, it ain't pretty.

Trey Harris and his partner were planning on going on a JoCo cruise for their honeymoon. Trey suffers from autoimmune spinal arthritis and is unable to walk without aid. He walks with difficulty with a cane but planned on using his Segway for mobility while on vacation. He booked his flight through United. He did all the right things. He called United to confirm if he could bring his Segway on the flight.  He was told yes and informed that he also needed confirmation from TSA to make sure he would make it through security. TSA agreed and sent him a confirmation email. 

However, things would go very differently when he arrived at the United gate for boarding. The boarding agent informed Trey that a manager would have to determine if he would be allowed to bring the Segway onboard. The manager that arrived to make the decision said, "We don't allow hoverboards, they're fire risks." After Trey pointed out that his device was not a hoverboard and then pointed to the safety sticker on the Segway that stated there was no risk, the manager continued with, "We don't even allow Samsung phones, we definely won't allow that."

In order to board the plane he was forced to leave his Segway at the gate. In his post on his Google site, Trey stated that he cried for an hour after boarding because he was embarrassed and he felt as if the other passengers blamed him for the delay in the flight. He was initially threatened with arrest for leaving the Segway at the gate. Then after getting to the cruise he had to spend hundreds on a rental scooter.

Really United? Trey's post came after his return from his honeymoon. The "United Drags Customer Off Plane" incident happened after his incident; however, the story is now trending because of Trey's delay in sharing. He reached out to United hoping for a resolution but never received a response. He figured after hearing about the other story, why not share his horrible ordeal with the airline as well.

Can't wait to see what United does next!

SURVIVING SURVIVOR - Outing Someone is Not Okay!

Surely you've heard. Even people that are not fans of the reality show Survivor couldn't escape the whirlwind of controversy that recently erupted.  Every channel and every available news anchor was sharing this story like it was breaking news.

Just in case you're unaware, what had happened was  . . . it was an elimination moment and contestant Jeff Varner (pictured left), in a desperate attempt to save himself, decided to out fellow contestant Zeke Smith (pictured right) as transgender.  I guess he thought that would shift the attention away from himself but quite the contrary happened. Instead every remaining contestant rightfully ganged up on Jeff asking him, "Why would you do that?" And stating,  "That was not cool."

Apparently the world shared this sentiment with the Survivor cast because there has been a great deal of backlash aimed at Jeff following this episode. He was voted off the show. He has since lost his job as a real estate agent in North Carolina.

After hearing this controversy I couldn't help but reflect on an excerpt from my book The ABCs of Coming Out. The O in the book states, "Outing other people is not okay." I went on to share that "coming out is a personal, private and sometimes life-changing decision. When a person makes the decision to come out it is usually after some serious, intimate soul searching. Just because you are aware of someone's sexual orientation [or gender identity], it does not automatically give you permission to share it with the rest of the world when that person may not be ready to do so himself."

I do feel that Jeff is totally sorry and very remorseful about what he did. Jeff is a gay man himself.
He posted the statement below on his Twitter account. These words are powerful and I believe they're his truth.

When I first heard this story I too was a bit outraged at Jeff. But I think there is sincerity in his attempt to make amends and I believe everyone is deserving of a second chance when they make the effort towards redemption. I wish both contestants nothing but the best in there future endeavors.

If you have not seen what transpired, please take a peek at the clip below: