What Young People of Color Think about the LGBT Agenda

By OckyDub | Posted Jul 30 2014 | 21 Comments  

Black FistsIn a recent post Internet Perusing by a Jaded Gay Negro, I mentioned the fact that when I visit mainstream LGBT websites; I don’t see many people of color and I’m bombarded with Marriage Equality. Put frankly, marriage equality is at the top of the priority list of the White LGBT community. Not saying marriage equality isn’t important (of course it is), I just don’t feel it’s at the top of the list as it pertains to issues impacting many LGBT people of color.  Well, apparently my observations are shared by others. A new report by Black Youth Project states:

•More Black (80.2%) and Latino (74.9%) youth believe the marriage equality movement has taken too much attention away from other important LGBT issues compared to white youth (64.0%).

•More Black youth (58.0%) believe that LGBT issues in communities of color are not well-represented by mainstream LGBT organizations than Latino (45.9%) and white youth (42.7%).

•More than a third (35.0%) of Black youth reported that HIV/AIDS is the single most important issue for LGBT organizations to address. Latino youth reported that bullying (20.1%) is the most important issue, while white youth (21.3%) reported that same-sex marriage is the most important issue.

Read the full report here.

This report was highlighted in a eye opening discussion on Roland Martin’s show on TVOne with featured panelist Terrance Laney (Black Youth Project), Cleo Manago (Black Men XChange), and political columnist Jasmyne Cannick (JasmyneCannick.com). After viewing the video, feel free to share your thoughts?

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About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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21 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. African King | July 30th, 2014

    I co-sign w/ Jasmine. Black people made their own movements in the 20th century for equality. Gay people of color can do their own movement in the 21st century.

    I think that gay people of color believe that the words/acronyms like: gay, LGBT, SGL, etc bring them in the same umbrella with White people but unfortunately there is still racism from White gays because…. they’re WHITE. So gay people of color should do their own thing.

  2. lyriq88
    Lyriq | July 30th, 2014

    I’ll say this. As a masculine gay male I feel like I have a particular set of issues. Many of which are highly ignored by society as a whole. I don’t often see my issues highlighted anywhere in mainstream white LGBT channels and I often don’t see my issues represented by a lot of black channels either honestly. It wasn’t until I stumbled across this site by way of a friend that I found out there were people who had many of the same concerns that I have.

    To address this article specifically, I am a black gay man interested in a LTR with the possibility of marriage eventually. With that being said marriage equality is important to me. But there are a lot more pressing issues. A big one for me is youth outreach. How important it is for youth to be encouraged at a very trying time and given the resources to hold their heads high and not engage in risky behaviors. Empower them with knowledge to make good decisions.

    • Sb3000 | July 30th, 2014

      Ditto! After finding this site, which helped me ‘come out’, one of the biggest reasons behind it for me was because I wanted to be a visible rep for younger guys in the struggle. Not like on some ‘gaylebrity’, as @nick would say, but just in the sense that we’re always calling for masc guys to step up’ so I wanted to do just that. I feel like many young questioning kids see 1 image of what they’re supposed to be once they accept that they’re gay. Direction is definitely missing.

  3. BlackguyExecutive | July 30th, 2014

    Part of me agrees with the panelists and part of me believes that the problems is that no one wants to find avenues of common ground and common interests. However, systemic racism can be found in just about every institutional group in America and it is not a new phenomenon. I personally want to see marriage equality happen because I first and foremost view it as an avenue for wealth creation and protection for myself and family. With that comes vested interests. That is what the white gays are fighting for, vested interest. Its about money. Money brings power. That being said, I don’t think that the black community has developed leadership that encourages people to come out, visibility matters. You can’t have a seat at the table without identifying that you actually want a seat at the table. Thirdly, I think that the black LGBT movement can start its own movements and demand attention, that will indeed take work and quite frankly, I don’t see that happening in the black LGBT community. People willing to work, fight, bleed, and possibly die for the things they think are important.

    • alton
      NYCforEVER | July 30th, 2014

      Sadly, I agree with your last statement, bro. I honestly don’t believe we as a WHOLE community have it in us anymore to band together toward a common cause. There’s way to much “Crabs in a Barrel” mentality and too many of “us” with personal issues that (in our personal spheres of influence) far outweigh and distract from the notion of really getting behind a movement. As fucked up as it sounds, the White LGBT Community knows this, which is why they could care less about including us in their agenda. They don’t deal with the same issues outside of their “common goal” and therefore are better able to “fight” for a common cause to their own benefit. I dont know if we as a people (Black/Latin) will ever be able to exhibit the tenacity our forefathers showed because it’s like…”I got mine nigga, shit. Fuck er’body else, ya feel me?” smh

      • John | July 31st, 2014

        And why should they? I have witnessed time and time again on the message boards on Towleroad or The Advocate or Think Progress, white people trying to discuss black gay issues and time again they are insulted by black people.

        I have personally worked for a good 10 years within the voluntary to public to political sector-again the same GD issues. Bitch and whine. Bitch and whine. ‘White people don’t help us but they can’t talk about our issues either!!’

        So this is what happens. The white guilt decides fine we will not meddle in ‘black people’ business and instead we will give you a grant-only eligible to black organisations-and ‘as long as you tick the box..you can have it. No questions asked since whenever we do, we’re called racist!’ An organisation, say I think it was the lgbtq male (aids?)centre in Chicago, wins the funding-no questions asked!-and then guess what? The money is gone in a short space of time. But it hasn’t gone towards helping the community of gay black men in Chicago! Where then? Well if the white gay media start to ask/question they are called racist and that they don’t understand the ‘community’.

        So the organisation goes bankrupt. The funders let it go because posing any questions within the ‘community’ will lead to cries of racism. The ‘community’ don’t really care to find out how this happened or fight to keep the organisation-‘we have bigger problems like education!’. The lgbt white community backs off. Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat. Rinse repeat.

        To those little lgbtq sh*ts who did that ridiculous questionnaire. The white gay community are the only reason we have some of the most high ranking lgbt individuals in politics, media or sports succeed. The only reason you know of Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Don Lemon, Wenda Sykes or Laverne Cox is because of this GD white gays, who believe in people being OUT-supported, advised and helped up the ladder; instead of hiding behind a hateful church and negative misogynistic community that puts gay men down at every opportunity they have.

      • Rod Turpin
        Rod! | July 31st, 2014

        This is so sad, but so true.We look towards the predominantly white organizations to do for our community what we seem to not want to do for ourselves. The self-centered non-collective mentality is one of the biggest things holding us back. Admittedly, that mentality didn’t come about without centuries of external oppression, but it’s still something we’ll have to overcome ourselves.

    • John | July 31st, 2014

      + 10000. I could add so much more but black people are irrational in general and black lgbt people take it to another level. These groups can start an argument in an empty room. I hate the white man BUT I want the white man to include me. Huh??

      If I was a white guy, why the F*CK should I work my butt off to get to a decent course, work and schmooze my butt off to get a really good job where I barely leave the office before 10:00pm; and then when I decide to use MY hard earned money to volunteer time towards supporting my general community, I’m given sh*t because I’m supposed to be thinking of another race’s issues that I know nothing of and which they don’t want me to know anything of ??!

      Whose life is easy? Who is happy? White lgbtq people sacrifice family, friends and communities to come out. With no support, all they have are the new connections they will make and hopefully, a culture of people who understand how it feels to be ‘lesser than’. They fight for marriage so they can start a new family and have financial safety within the system-if one of them dies, their money is NOT going to go to that cruel homophobic parent. And ya’ll bitching? SMDH.

  4. straight_up | July 30th, 2014

    To sum it up: your issues ain’t my issues. The mistake that many black gay men make is getting on board championing the “issues” that are mostly important to middle-to upper middle class white gay men and mistakenly thinking that their issues are the same. They’re not. I’ll be the first to say it if no one else has: I don’t give a damn if gay people are ever able to marry in the U.S. Not one damn.

    If you’re a black gay man sitting around worrying about marriage equality then you are seriously disconnected from reality. As a black man, whether or not two white boys with extra cash to toss around are be able to spend $100,000 on some opulent wedding does not concern me at all. Black gay men championing for marriage equality seem lost in some alternate universe. As a black man, there are many more pressing issues that will have a greater potential impact on your life than marriage equality. Issues like police brutality, mass incarceration, the American INjustice system, un or under-employment, surging HIV rates, inadequate health care are probably a lot more relevant to the average black man, and are non-issues to the average white man. So I will never understand how these blissfully ignorant black gay men let white gays convince them that marriage equality is somehow mission critical for them. Like everything else, they’ll use their energies to champion for their causes, then discard them like last Tuesday’s take-out box when they accomplish their goals.

    Anyway, black men have more critical things to worry about. Instead of wasting your energies on marriage equality for well-off white boys, come back to reality because we could really use your efforts to combat some of the issues that you and some of your brothers are facing. Thanks.

    Btw….gay marriage will be the last thing on your mind when some cop is squeezing the life out of you via a choke-hold on some street in an urban American destination of your choice. Real talk.

    • Isaac Colver | July 30th, 2014

      I do agree with what you say 100% Sir…but let’s face it, this HIV epidemic is largely due promiscuous behavior on part of these young people. As someone in that age demographic, being young is not an excuse for them being wanton whores, KNOWING THE RISK. So my thing is, if they don’t care, why should anybody else? That is one of the things I have issue with, people need to learn personal responsibility.

      • lyriq88
        Lyriq | July 31st, 2014

        I said in my comment earlier today a big issue we have is youth outreach. Nobody is REALLY talking to these kids. Yeah they know HIV exists, but do they know how REAL it is? To draw a quick parallel, diabeties runs in my family. But if I’m in my teens/twenties and am in relatively good shape, I’m not worried about prevention because it honestly doesn’t feel like something that can happen to me… Until it does.

        HIV wasn’t a dangerous reality for me until my partner caught it. I was 19. Having unprotected sex with this man who told me that he was a virgin, yet he was positive. It eventually comes out that during a break we had, he slept who someone unprotected. He’s been positive since he was 21. And it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was so young and had my whole life ahead of me, sleeping with him unprotected and could’ve caught it from him.

        I didn’t have anyone I could trust to talk to. It’s 7 years later and my parents don’t know about my sexuality or issues and I doubt they’re equipped to really deal with the things I go through. It was a tough time for me and my partner. Seriously getting to these young guys is such a major concern. But like somebody else here pointed out, it’s hard to do when no one in the community wants to identify themselves. We need to work on the community as a whole and make these guys feel safe to admit to themselves that they’re SGL and then help guide them and empower them. That’s so so important!

        • Isaac Colver | July 31st, 2014

          Who needs to talk to them? I am 19 as well, and I’ve known that AIDs was a huge issue in the gay community even as a child (of course I didn’t know exactly how it worked but I knew that it was prevalent). By mid teens, you should know about consequences. These 18,19, early 20 somethings can be all on these apps, all on the internet posting ass pics, advertising themselves and sleeping around then it is up to THEM to be responsibility. Nobody should have to reach out to them. We live in a politically correct society devoid of responsibility and that is a huge issue in black people, including gay blacks…especially young gay blacks, who are under the influence of pacifistic liberals. If you want to have sex, then you should be prepared for what comes with it (I made the choice to live celibate because of this issue…you have to be responsible for yourself).

          • Ant | August 1st, 2014

            Those with experience, knowledge, and wisdom are the ones who need to talk to the black LGBT youth, that’s who! The “elders” of the community have a responsibility to reach back, help, educate, and support the youth. That’s how progressive communities operate. Ignoring that responsibility is selfish and leads to division and destruction because it really does ‘take a village’.

            Personally speaking, despite what I thought I knew about HIV/AIDS and the gay lifestyle, if it weren’t for the older gay dudes who took me in when I first came out and showed me the ropes, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I thank God for them sharing their experiences, listening to me, advising me, and helping me to safely find my way. Now that I have grown into a somewhat well rounded black adult gay man, I have made it my business to share and look out for the younger generation as well. That’s what we all should be doing.

            Also, let’s be less critical of the youth and more supportive each other. I’ve learned that always pointing out what’s wrong doesn’t really do much to solve the problem.

            • Isaac Colver | August 2nd, 2014

              I never had any of that, and I’m doing just fine. Like I said, people need to be responsible for their own damn selves. These 18, 19, 20 somethings are old enough to understand. Stop babying them. Especially in this age od social media, there is not way they shouldn’t know.

              • Ant | August 6th, 2014

                It’s commendable that you were self-sufficient and resourceful enough to be just fine without it… so far. But that doesn’t negate the fact that it should be available for those who do need it. No one can deny that there is a large segment of our population that needs guidance. Maybe you’ll start to understand this as you mature and experience more of this world for yourself.

  5. OfficialJLC | July 31st, 2014

    The movement is there and waiting for some action to get behind it. We have so many things to focus on as a community but where would one start? Unlike our white counterparts, we have the additional challenge of being black (stigmatized), MSM (stigmatized) and don’t you dare have the nerve to be those two things while being a Christian. I think the lack of action speaks to a higher problem, and that is being positively represented in the media, because a lot of people don’t really take us seriously because when they see black and gay (or whatever you want to call it; MSM, SGL, etc) they think of the parodies of us that they see on television and in movies. What I think would be a good first step is working to destigmatize ideals around being black and gay. Maybe that’s something I’ll work on to contribute to the community. I’m still not sure whats being done wrong with HIV prevention, but things get sticky when you involve humans because we have a choice in everything we do and some of us don’t always make the best choices.

  6. GNerd2012
    gnerd2012 | July 31st, 2014

    There are definitely more pressing issues gay black men should be concerned about such as this HIV/AIDS epidemic, mass incarceration, unfair/inaccurate media representation (which goes for the black community as a whole), and lack ofvinstitution building.
    Gay black men definitely need to organize themselves and set a blueprint for their agenda that does not involve any influence or shared source of power from a white organization. It’s amazing how whites have GLAD, NAMBLA (unfortunately), and many other groups to finance and enforce their political power, but we have nothing. It’s time to start building brothers and sisters, and yes I said sisters because the black lesbians are in the struggle as well and tend to be ignored.
    As for gay marriage, we as a people need to understand that love only constitutes maybe 20% of the reasoning why marriage exists. Marriage is all business, financial gatherings, building of the political strength through unionizing families, and providing structure for the children. I understand the need for marriage but we need to sit down and discuss the relevancy of its importance to our cause and whether or not it should be put on the forefront; unfortunately, whites are the ones calling the shots on that for the LGBT community as a whole.

  7. Rod Turpin
    Rod! | July 31st, 2014

    Many of the commenters before have echoed this sentiment, but I’ll say it again: If us black lgbt individuals feel that the pride movement isn’t addressing our needs, then we need to mobilize on our own. Its unrealistic and honestly unfair to think that the pride movement, something specific to gay rights, would have even the slightest stake in struggles unique to racial minorities. They claim to be a gay rights movement, nothing more.

    I will add though that I feel like turning marriage into this scapegoat of how superficial the gay rights movement is actually plays against us. Marriage equality as an issue wasn’t even originally brought to the media forefront by gay groups, it was by republicans/conservatives who wanted to generate a wedge issue to mobilize their base. They were the ones who focused on that over all the other serious issues pride addresses (they’ve done plenty on HIV/AIDS prevention, employment discrimination laws, and hate crime legislation, but these conservatives ignored because they’re more serious issues people are more likely to support). And every time we pretend like marriage is the only thing lgbt groups fight for, we play right into our oppressors’ hands. You can support equal marriage AND many more life-altering issues in our community, civil rights is not a zero sum game.

  8. John | August 5th, 2014

    Well gentlemen I’m white and always thought one of the very few advantages to being gay was not having to get married. I cringe at bowing to hetro standards with adopted kiddies, white picket fences etc, kids need to know that living your life is a personal matter. And those that don’t embrace all their gay brothers are just ignorant.

    • Ocky Williams | August 5th, 2014

      Well keep in mind there are also hetero folks that don’t want to get married and have kids…BUT there are also plenty of gays who do. Getting married and having kids for some is the last steps for life long commitments. It may have nothing to do with sexuality but legacies.

  9. Kevin | August 7th, 2015

    I felt really uncomfortable in Seattle during 2015 Pride because I, as a white gay guy, made too much of an “impression” on people because I wore a #BlackLivesMatter shirt.

    I swear, Pride has become a White Corporatist event.

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