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Black Gay Men Are Not Handbags, They Are People

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written by Elizabeth Walker

 

I am a black, heterosexual, married woman with kids.

I am not sexist because I have a male friend.

I am not racist because I have a black friend, or a white friend, or a Latino friend, or an Asian friend.

I am not homophobic because I have a gay friend.

All of these sentences sound ridiculous.  Utterly ridiculous, as having one friend does not shift your internal belief about a particular gender, race, or sexuality.

I will admit that I have and will probably keep saying something that is offensive, whether it is intentional or not.  It is never my intent to hurt people even when I am hurt.  Yet, I watched along with you Nene on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and cringed when she threw a party titled, “Girls and Gays” or “Girls and Bring A Gay.”  It appears there wasn’t a consensus on the title of the party, and Nene even said that her intent was not to be offensive.  Yet, I don’t care about her intent.  Any person with any common sense would know that this is bottom line offensive.

It was gross.

 

“A gay male is not a handbag.”

 

A gay male is not a necklace that goes with my fabulous Tiffany’s earrings. 

A gay male is a male.  A person. 

This party reaffirms how gay males, throughout the years have been exploited for their quick retorts.  NeNe, has made a career off taking the language of her “gay accessories” while giving them no credit.

The fact she threw a party for the girls and the gays is just so offensive on so many levels and how dare people attend!

How can people show up to a party that degraded the very being of a group of people?  I will admit that Derek J confronted her about the name of the party, but Nene just showed you how she felt about gay men – she means you no harm as she uses them to make more money off of their talent.

Nene may not be homophobic, but she is a parasite of black gay men.

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LGBTQ

“I Looked Up To Y’all”, Queer Artist Plane Jaymes Accuses Yo Gotti of Homophobia

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Two days ago a queer rapper name Plane Jaymes dropped a slideshow posted on Instagram which shows him with rapper Yo Gotti and others in his entourage. This post was brought to my attention earlier today by queer rapper Zé Taylor when he made a post that said, “this makes me so sad.”

Plane Jaymes shared a heartfelt message about his experience when he was apart of Yo Gotti’s record label Collective Music Group.

Here’s what the post in its entirety said,

” YoGotti You said you believed in me and wanted to help me change ppls lives for the better. Up until you & keonn55 found out I had a boyfriend. I looked up to y’all. I gained a lot of experience from being with y’all and I’m forever greatful for that. But the fact that me being gay is why y’all no longer wanted me apart of the team is honestly fucked up. I took these pics down cause keon told me to just so y’all could be “comfortable” Y’all won’t put my music out but I’m still stuck in that contract I signed w #CMG which says y’all own the rights to pretty much all my publishing & everything I do unless y’all terminate that contract. Can’t reach y’all thru phone/email & that ain’t been working for over 2yrs so if I’m “canceled/ shelved” & not family like y’all said I was, all because I’m gay then what’s the deal. Tired of struggling all because of who I chose to love. And if this is how it’s gonna be I’ma just have to chalk putting out music period.”

This is a common trope when it comes to heterosexuals liking queer art but don’t want queer or trans representation associated with it. Although this story is on a whole different extreme this story is similar to the situation with Big Freedia where they had to reach out to Drake to be included in his most recent music video where they’re only shown for 5 seconds although Drake used Freedia’s vocals in his music.

Plane Jaymes recently did an interview with DJ Booth where he aired more of his dirty laundry with his dealings with Yo Gotti and the backlash from his being dropped from his label because they found out he had a boyfriend. In the interview, Plane Jaymes describes his humble beginnings from when he was trying to get signed as a starting artist, but Gotti got a hold of his demo and decided to fly him and his management team out to Miami.

Things seemed to have heated up after his “friend” who knew about his attraction to guys outed him to his management team. Eventually, word of James sexuality reached Collective Music Group Vice President Keon who pressured James into taking down the pictures that he reposted so there wouldn’t be any controversy surrounding their label being affiliated with him.

Collective Music Group just forgot all about James and left him in the dark dazed and confused. From the interview, he said, “I wasn’t trying to fuck they shit up, and I was new to this shit about myself, so maybe I should have just fought back? Well, I offered to take it down, he said take it down, and it just ended at that point. I didn’t really hear from nobody at that point. No contracts were sent my way that disclosed termination.”

Till this day Plane Jaymes is legally under contract with Collective Music Group however they won’t release his music to get airtime or promotions and they have severed all times with the artist completely. No one can make music with him because he’s still under contract with them.

He doesn’t have any hard feelings towards Gotti or anyone else affiliated with his record label and all he wants to do is get released from his contract so he can create his own music for his benefit and become a voice for those who feel like they’re too afraid to be true to themselves.

On another post, he posted on Instagram of him and his boyfriend the comment section is filled with homophobic rhetoric after James shared his story of what happened between him and CMG.

 

What would you have done in this situation if you were a queer artist trying to make it in this world?

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LGBTQ

The Conversation Surrounding LGBTQ Youth: Jamel Myles Loss to Suicide

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What usually goes through the mind of a 9-year-old? Their favorite cartoon or video game? When their homework assignment is due?

Those are probably some things that the typical 9-year-olds would be thinking about. However, death or dying from suicide should never be one of the things a child should ever have to think about. Unfortunately, we lost the life of 9-year-old, Jamel Myles, last week from death by suicide after being told to kill himself by his classmates four days after he started 4th grade.

Jamel was found in his home dead by his mother last Thursday. This story made it on twitter headlines on Tuesday and started a conversation surrounding LGBTQ youth, bullying, suicide, and sympathies for the family.

So who’s the blame for the death of Jamel Myles? The kids who bullied him or the heteronormative rules set up in society. I lean more on the latter because children often get their behavior from adults.

In an academic journal a study conducted by the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the results found that 40% of adolescent youth who identify as gay, lesbian, or questioning contemplated suicide. Unfortunately, transgender identifying teens weren’t included in this survey but the numbers would be even higher than the ones that were reported originally.

Below are excerpts from an article on the ACLU website in regards to Harassment of LGBTQ Youth.

” A study of Massachusetts high school students published in the journal Pediatrics reports that nearly one-third of gay teens had been threatened in the past month with a weapon at school, compared to 7% of heterosexual students surveyed.”

“The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) conducted a survey of 496 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students from 32 states. This survey found that over 90% of LGBT youth reported that they sometimes or frequently heard homophobic comments in their schools.”

Entire studies are done to show how LGBTQ youth are affected by bullying and harassment yet people on social media including parents are still feeding into homophobia which their own kids learn from them.

#YungMiami from #CityGirls speaks on an old tweet that’s been surfacing 👀

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

Gurl I….Get your problematic faves and their associates with this trash rhetoric off of social media.

I always hated seeing those what would do if your son/daughter were queer tweets because the people only use them as a way to bash the queer community with a hypothetical. Just admit that you’re homophobic or transphobic so we can drag you properly and move on.

Those who identify with the LGBTQ community have to go through two forms of adolescence one where they walk in the world as “heterosexual” and the one where we have to hide our true identities because society says we’re not morally right. Most times we suffer in silence in order to not be singled out by our peers or family members.

Jamel Myles was confident enough to tell his mom and sister about how he identified; however, the harassment pushed him over the edge and another queer youth was lost too soon from suicide and bullying.

Conversations are still being had over the ways we can improve society so more children and adolescents would feel safe and comfortable in their identity both in the world and in their families. Overall we have a long way to go.

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For The Culture

Message to Allies: How Not to be a Weirdo During Pride Month

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It’s that time again – Pride! In remembrance of the LGBTQIA+ community who sparked a nation-wide gay rights movement after the Stonewall uprising in the late 1960s, you might already have noticed that sections of your town or city are decorated with rainbow flags and welcome signs, streets and sidewalks are painted with rainbows, your baseball team may even be wearing rainbow-colored socks (which their bigoted fans are currently arguing on the internet about). If you aren’t seeing signs of Pride month in your town, you need to move far, far away because you live in a sad, sad place. But I digress…

All month, there are Pride-related events – festivals and parades and parties and drag shows. As an ally, you may want to attend these events, and you probably feel pretty proud of yourself for all your “wokeness,” which means you have no clue about just how problematic and down-right annoying you are. As an ally and a former weirdo at Pride events, let me offer you some advice so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Noah Berger/Associated Press

No matter how many books you’ve read, how many podcasts you’ve listened to, and how many Tumblr pages you’ve double-tapped, you’re still problematic.

You just have to accept the fact that you are problematic. No, you aren’t as problematic as the guy white women and men voted into the White House, but you’ve probably still got a little learning to do. Kudos to you for educating yourself, questioning your beliefs, and trying to be a better person — you should feel proud of yourself – however, there are just some things you will get wrong, and it’s okay. If somebody checks you about it, take the lesson, nod, smile and grow from it.

You’re a guest, so act accordingly.

At many of these Pride events, a good time will be had by all. There will be plenty of Beyoncé, some good ole fashioned twerking and voguing, and you are going to want to join in the fun. You should, but remember, ain’t nobody come to see your straight-ass duck-walk, so chill.

I get it, you're excited & want to be supportive, but remember, the LGBTQIA+ community has been getting on fine without you since Moses parted the sea. One of the best things you can do as an ally is to let people live in peace. Click To Tweet

You’re a straight, we get it, now be quiet.

You are in a space populated by everyone on the sexual identity spectrum, and the assumption is that your sexual identity does too. If your sexual identity is firmly planted at cisgender hetero, that’s all well and fine. It is quite okay to be okay with that. However, don’t spend the day announcing to everyone that you are a straight. I know you think it’s cute or whatever, but it’s not. Ugh, I am literally cringing as I write this reflecting on how stupid I was. Woooo chile…the ghetto!

Save your questions and insights for Twitter

I remember when I first heard the word Trade. I happened to be a Pride event, and I was so intrigued. I was so curious that I proceeded to spend the rest of the day grilling my lovely companion about the history and origin of Trade. If that wasn’t bad enough, I then proceeded to point out every gentleman to verify if he would be considered Trade. Imagine you are at a party having a good time and your weirdo friend keeps tapping your shoulder pointing out men asking, “Oh, oh, is he one? With the baseball cap and the sagging pants? He’s Trade, right?” I was so clueless, just a whole mess. It was cute that I learned a new word, but Pride events are not the place to get your education (unless you’re at an educational workshop, which I was not). Chances are you will hear some new word or lingo that you aren’t familiar with; it is okay to be curious. My advice – create a new document on your Notes app, type the word down for research purposes later and keep the party going. Don’t stop the good time trying to learn some shit.

Photo Credit: Eric Cash

Don’t be a cliché

It is inevitable that you will be overcome with the sheer fabulosity of it all. Before you can stop yourself, the ‘Yesssssss Queeeeeeen’ is going to jump out of you. Sometimes, this is appropriate like at a drag show, a contest, or maybe a performance. Please don’t be that person that ‘Yesssssss Queeeeeeeen’’s every boy in a belly shirt and booty shorts you pass. A compliment is fine, but don’t be a weirdo about it. There is a huge difference. People get all dressed up to be noticed, not to be your spectacle, feel me?

Allyship is a slippery slope. It’s a thin line between being an ally and a weirdo, believe me, I’ve crossed it more times than I care to admit. Mostly, we are well-meaning people, but being an ally is a process. It’s about taking ownership over building trust with the community we wish to align ourselves with, and this requires consistency, accountability, and yes, a little humility. And I get it, you are excited, and you want to be so supportive, but remember, the LGBTQIA+ community has been getting on fine without you since Moses parted the sea, and one of the best things you can do as an ally is to just let people live in peace.

What other tips can you share to make people better allies?

 

Featured Image Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

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