Monday, July 27, 2015

#ITLQBM - Blackness & Equality Under Attack (Video Update)

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

Waller, TX

Houston City Council

In recent posts, I have discussed at length the Sandra Bland case and on a macro level about how #BlackLivesMatter. On the flip side of the coin, my involvement with the #HERO (Houston equal rights ordinance) has been very active, especially since a rushed ruling just came down from the Texas Supreme Court. These are the intersections that I and many of my counterparts of Color speak of when we are doing the work to demand respect and the decriminalization of Blackness. As of today, I am faced with a choice to testify at Houston City Hall tomorrow during the Council meeting on behalf of HERO or be in Waller county to meet with my cohorts in front of  the county jail to stand in solidarity for our fallen sister Sandra and discuss next steps beyond our planned event on August 9th.

***For some background on both issues follow these links:

When you think about it HERO intersects with the movement for Black lives in ways that are quite interesting. Here is how: 

*The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes as it applies to my intersections:
- sex - race - sexual orientation - color- ethnicity- gender identity*

As a Black man I choose to be part of movements that impact all People of Color for the better and isn't it interesting that regardless of where I stand, I am under attack by the current power structure. In this case the power structure is clergy, government, law enforcement and at its foundation is homophobia, racism, prejudice and bigotry. In a previous post I said "...Honestly, the factors that I have just pointed out are a primer for the real discussion about being a “Black Queer Man.” Take all of those factors and apply which ever resonates to you individually now add to it being out and Gay. We still have to deal with those stigmas that our heterosexual counterparts have to deal with and then some. We are attacked by those who look like us for not cosigning what I described earlier as what it means to be a strong Black man, we are told that because of who we are that we do not exist. IN FACT, we do have the same issues and then we are treated as if we are no longer Black and are still niggers in the eyes of society on a systemic and structural level. Now, let me take that down to a micro level and deal with all that I previously mentioned and combine it with the issues that we experience as Queer Black Men of color. First, we still have to deal with racism from a group that we are supposedly part of and are “welcome” to, which is the mainstream LGBT community. In many ways we are shut out by mainstream White gays unless we bring something to the table that they just cannot function without, DIVERSITY...We are only needed when it’s beneficial and then we have to live in our poverty that people think we don’t experience. We work in jobs that not only attack our race systemically and structurally, now we have the vector of homophobia in the work place to deal with. In fact, the structural and systematic homophobia that plague the LGBT community at large is much worse on people of color due to the same racial barriers to access as our heterosexual counterparts. We work in low paying jobs that range from fast food to hospitality and then we have to deal with being looked down upon by the ones that look like us and are gay like us who are making some good pay and etc. There is an overriding theme that we are being attacked from all sides, do you see it?"

When I wrote this, I had no clue that it would be so relevant to my feelings and what I am currently experiencing. I feel extremely stressed out and emphasis on being under attack. Do you know what it feels like to have people vying to be Mayor of Houston, currently elected/appointed judges tell me and so many others that an ordinance that protects me as an individual in six different ways is void in the eyes of the state of Texas. It is a constant feeling of siege when I hear about the loss of a Black life at the hands of some cop who likes to use excessive force and abuses his/her power. There is no way that Sandra Bland killed herself and it is clear that this is a cover up of epic proportions. Black Lives truly do matter and intersectionally speaking, this is the time to rise up, not just for the protections from discrimination and for law enforcement to do right by us. The time is now to rise up and recognize that we are being pushed out of affordable housing while being moved to the outskirts of the city, we lack access good healthcare facilities, and our kids are sent to schools in one of the most segregated school districts in the country that has a focus on the early criminalization of students. Who expels a kindergartner? WE are under a level of attack that cant be quantified or measured, we need our voting rights restored, we need affirmative action to be protected! What good is it if I can get same sex married at city hall and walk out to the possibility of some bigot protesting my rights, a cop ready to put his bullet in my brain, the prospect of losing my job for being gay, and a host of other issues not being discussed. Lets expose the hate, racism, and bigotry where ever it may be hiding....

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