Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guest Post: A Black SGL Call to Arms - By: Brandon Mack

Originally written June 2014.*

Black SGL men I have to ask you…Where are you in the fight for your rights?

This past week, the Houston City Council passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (#HERO) after hearing several hours of testimony from members of the Houston GLBT community.  One of the most notable absences during those testimonies was the voice of Black SGL men. Less then 10 men testified as members of the Black SGL community. There was representation by transgendered, lesbian, and bisexual people of color, but our presence was notably absent. Thankfully, the measure passed, but it left a big question as to where are we in the fight for our own rights.

Throughout Facebook I see several groups devoted to conversations among Black SGL men to talk about our issues and to share our commonalities and differences. There are public groups and gatherings where Black SGL men talk about their issues and what they can do to address those issues. However, these conversations and dialogues often just remain online or behind close doors and rarely translate to action. Too often we become comfortable in letting others speak for us, or take up the torch for us. We separate ourselves from our sexuality by whittling down our sexual orientation to simply what is done in the bedroom and stating that it is nobody’s business what I do in the bedroom or who I sleep with. We often wattle down each other to just simple dicks and asses and don’t participate in our own rights struggle.

I’m here to say that we are FAR more than that. That we have to, need to, absolutely must, participate in the fight for our rights. While Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Medger Evers were the public faces of the Civil Rights Movement, they were not the only actors. It took a large portion of the African American race to participate in marches, sit-ins, and speak on behalf of our rights. Those small actions collectively created a movement and that created change. We are never going to create changes if we do not participate in the efforts to attain rights. Civil rights and change come to those who show up. By not showing up we are allowing others to dictate our lives and our rights. Even if we have victories like HERO, it is our duty to participate to make sure that our voices and concerns are addressed and not just left to the few who do participate. Those brave few can’t always be the workers because when they get tired, weary and unsupported who will then pick up the torch for them, and therefore for all of us. If Bayard Rustin had been tired and not been apart of the movement, we would not have had the March on Washington, and the world would have never heard Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  Therefore, it is imperative that we take action!

I am calling my Black SGL men to pick up their arms and take action on behalf of themselves and our community. We need to take our dialogue and conversations offline and to full frontal action.