Screw Gay Pride
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With Chicago’s Gay Pride festivities set to kick off this weekend, the city’s LGBT community and its allies will gather in celebration of their shared identity, struggle, and progression as a minority group. But honestly, I can’t help but to think “why the f*** am I celebrating?”
Forgive me, or not, if I’m not quick to bust out with my spirit fingers and rainbow jock straps, but it’s difficult for me to celebrate when people who look like me are being targeted or even worse, murdered solely based on the color of their skin. Systematic racism and arguably, sanctioned genocide, just doesn’t quite put me in the festive mood.
I’m not insinuating that it’s wrong to celebrate and have fun at this year’s Gay Pride parade. Have all the funs. Life has to go on and what better way to do that than with friends and laughter. But it’s a lot different for some of us gay, Black men of the LGBT community.
If our parents raised us right, we already have this relentless self-awareness of our identity as Black men and other people’s potential responses to that. This self-awareness is heightened beyond gravity during racially-charged times, particularly, when there’s an influx of news headlines and cases where Black people, specifically Black men, are doubly victimized, first by their assailant, then by the justice system that often refuses to do anything about it – even in cases of homicide.
These cases of racial profiling, police brutality, and just flat out cold-blooded murder moves the focal point away from our identity as gay men and instead puts our identity as Black men in the hot seat.
According to a report released by GMFA, a London-based gay men’s health charity, about 63% of Black and South Asian men in Britain said that racism is a bigger issue for them than homophobia. Another study conducted by Guy’s and the St. Thomas NHS Foundation in March 2015 found that Black gay men feel that racism outweighs homophobia within Black communities. The study also revealed that Black men often feel sexualized, objectified, and used as “accessories” for white men. Both Black and Latino men expressed that the gay scene is “segmented and elitist,” which can in turn, have a negative impact on their self-esteem.
Pair the recent racially fueled hatred and evilness with the above statistics, then combine that data with people’s personal experiences on a micro level, and well…you don’t arrive at the Gay Pride Parade. It’s pretty hard to celebrate and raise a glass when I’m trying to prove to some of these same people and the world I’m human.
Terrence Chappell surfaced on Chicago’s media scene as UR Chicago Magazine Online’s fashion editor. Since then, he has worked and contributed to various media outlets such as Michigan Ave. Magazine, CS Magazine, and The Men’s Book. Currently, Terrence serves as the editor-at-large for ChicagoPride.com, the city’s largest LGBT entertainment and news website where he writes “Chappell Confidential,” a nightlife and society column. Terrence also heads “Chappell on Community,” the site’s newest editorial monthly series that profiles the LGBT community’s most innovative leaders.