Wednesday, July 12, 2006

For Gays on the Streets, Survival Comes Before Pride

This article appeared a year ago (June 2004) in the NY Times. Sometimes, these issues get a minute of publicity and then fade from the public consciousness. I had an opportunity to observe firsthand the plight of some of these youth on the pier at the end of Christopher St. this spring. I also wrote about what I saw then.

In an effort to keep your attention on this serious issue facing our black, same gender loving youth, I remind you now of this article and encourage you to contribute your time, energy and money to help alleviate some their suffering and help give them a start toward being self sufficient black men. This is the story of OUR CHILDREN.


David Antoine's coming out last year did not exactly fill his family with pride. A few months shy of his high school graduation, Mr. Antoine said, his mother told him to pack his bags, and he was suddenly out on the icy streets of Brooklyn, his life stuffed into a trash bag, his bed the hard back of a subway car rumbling from one end of the city to the other.

Brian Murray is still trying to find his place in what is known as the gay community. A good night is the soft bed of a stranger and $100 in the morning. A bad night is an empty stomach, a park bench and the rousing jolt of a nightstick on his bare feet as he is ordered to move on.

Like Mr. Antoine and Mr. Murray, his friends, Michael Leatherbury, 25, would consider cheering his gay brothers and sisters marching down Fifth Avenue this afternoon if he had a few coins in his pocket and a place to call his own. No sense flirting with strangers, he says, when home is a lumpy cot in a city shelter. "Being homeless is not exactly conducive to dating," he says with a shrug. "These days, I'm not feeling very prideful."

Click here to read more....

From Fratman:

Step out of your comfort zone and do something to help someone who so desperately need your help. Find an organization that will feed, clothe and/or give a bed to these youth in your city or another. I suggest you start with GMAD. For more information about homelessness among homeless LGBT youth and a lists of shelters in your state, see the Safe Schools Coalition website. If you know of others, feel free to post them here in the comments section for others to see. Be sure to include contact information.


(Since I posted this, I have received one comment from the Captain. I hope you will also respond because as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has said:

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.")

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One Nation Under Whose God?

I received this email with the usual request to pass it on. I do so not with the intention of the sender, but that you might see the homophobia that is so blatantly and disturbingly a part of the mindset of the principal and leader of a public school. Note the first group that he chooses to denigrate in the name of God:

"A statement that was read at a Tennessee football game This is a statement that was read over the PA system at the football game at Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee, by school Principal, Jody McLeod. "It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country." Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a Prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it "an alternate lifestyle," and if someone is offended, that's OK. I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, "safe sex." If someone is offended, that's OK. I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a "viable means of birth control." If someone is offended, no problem... I can designate a school day as "Earth Day" and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess "Mother Earth" and call it "ecology." I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as "simple minded" and "ignorant" and call it "enlightenment." However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to Bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated. This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical... I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. For this reason, I shall "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and ref rain from praying at this time. "However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM, in the name of JESUS, to Bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that's not against the law----yet." One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer's Box! The only place they didn't pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America - the Seat of "Justice" in the "one nation, under GOD." Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee, remembered what so many have forgotten. We are given the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion. Praise GOD that HIS remnant remains! "

A final word from the Fratman:

Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee forgot that we are all one people created in the image of God and commanded to love one another as He has loved us.

Shem hotep.

(Note: This entry was republished due to technical difficulties and the 2 original comments were lost. If I can retrieve them from emails, I will re-post them)

Two previous comments:

Wow, that really pissed me off. And the bit about environmentalism...? Wow. This lady's head is so far up her ass, I'm amazed anyone could understand what she was saying on the PA system. --Posted by Jeff Crowder to Seasoned_Yet_New_In_Da_Life at 7/10/2006 04:18:52 PM

Note to self: Never drive through or stop in Kingston, TN. --Posted by Bernie to Seasoned_Yet_New_In_Da_Life at 7/10/2006 05:34:10 AM

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Human Rights Campaign Airs "Dirty Laundry"

Ok, now that I got your attention :

In January of this year while visiting DC, I had the unexpected pleasure of attending the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) luncheon for youth from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Aside from being in the presence of very vibrant youth who seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves in this positive and affirming environment, and being in the room with one of my fav authors, Alphonso Morgan (the man is just plain handsome, props), and listening to an inspiring message delivered by Dr. Michael Lomax (United Negro College Fund), the occasion gave me an opportunity to learn more about the work of this pioneering organization.

There are 2 things that I want to call to your attention:

1. The HRC has a great publication on the website entitled "Resource Guide to Coming Out for African-Americans." It covers the spectrum from 'religious organizations' (hmmm, gay black buddhists?) to 'Black Prides' (yeah, I am going back to the ATL in Sept., holla) to 'Hotlines' (not the kind of party you thinking). There aren't very many things left in life that are free, but this guide is yours for the downloading from the Human Rights Campaign Website. Get it while it's hot.

2. The HRC is sponsoring previews of Maurice Jamal's new film "Dirty Laundry" in several cities. Check out the listings and the movie trailer on the HRC website. Although the schedule ends with September 2006, a reliable source (hey, the NY Times isn't the only one with them) tells me that Greensboro, NC may be an additional location in October. Stay tuned.

So, let me end by giving a mad shout out to Brandon Braud and the crew of tireless workers at HRC for the good work that you are doing for African-Americans in 'the life.'
Shem hotep.