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Homophobia, Transphobia, and Down Low Exposés

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Homophobia and transphobia always rear their ugly heads amid celeb scandals. The personal investment of Americans in the romantic lives of celebs continues to show us how far we still must go for equality.

Every time someone with celebrity status is caught in a sex scandal it makes waves. However, none shake the table like a man questioning his sexuality. In this country, we are so heavily invested in policing who sleeps with whom to save an outdated hypermasculine standard. Stories like Dwight Howard’s make front page news with such unnecessary shock and awe. The thought of a man preferring another man or a trans woman should make no difference to any of us, yet it does.

The social cost of being a black gay male in America is high. Much is wagered in the game of living as a closeted gay male at any status level, but celebrity stacks the deck against you. Families could be broken, divorces bargained, and employment could become scarce. For those in the public eye, they face the ridicule of an entire nation where even those in the queer community delight in their exposure. The act of finding pleasure in someone’s unwarranted outing is homophobic point-blank period.

Selfish

Time has shown repeatedly that in the face of exposure, a closeted man will sacrifice your gay ass before he’ll live in his truth. Stop protecting trade! We’ve seen this with Tyga, Bobby Valentino, Young Buck, and countless others. These exposés always come with rhetoric like “This is why no one takes the trans community seriously. The gays and the girls come up missing over this. No one wants to claim y’all.” We find ourselves vowing to stop interacting with people who won’t live out loud. When the dust settles, we’re back in the mess, sacrificing our dignity for some subpar dick or a couple coins.

Through all of this, the queer community becomes the butt of every joke. People reignite the stigma surrounding AIDS and gay men, they trivialize the trans experience, all because someone got burned.

What is the benefit? Why should any queer person make the decision to put themselves second because someone is too weak to come forward?

Weak

Dwight Howard, and any number of your faves, had the opportunity to stand proudly on their accomplishments and chisel away at the stigma surrounding unconventional love. They film these inspiring commercials for athletic companies with language that encourages digging deep and pushing through resistance but can’t even do that for the people they love. They openly chide an entire community that they are secretly a part of and people give them all the benefits of living in the open while their closet is built like a panic room.

Milan Christopher Transphobia

Milan Christopher, what are you doing?!

Stop it!

Down low men profit from homophobic and transphobic environments. We cannot continue to excuse the behavior of men who exploit a community that is divided. Remarks that capitalize on transphobia, like Milan Christopher’s, are the type that enable men like Dwight Howard to exploit feminine gay men or trans women. Stop protecting these men who sit guarded while queer people are killed with no justice, denied access to healthcare, marriage, and housing.

Until they want to be a part of our community, they should have no part of you.

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#MyWhitePrivilege Spotlights Further Racial Disparities

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#MyWhitePrivilege

Employing the hashtag #MyWhitePrivilege, Twitter users have shed light on the various ways they’ve survived interactions that frequently claim the lives of Black or brown people.

Everyone knows that the justice system unfairly prosecutes Black and brown people at a rate far harsher than their white counterparts. But the extent to which white people avoid experiencing the treatment people of color face in America is vast. One user described their experience growing up in a small town with no Black population:

“Growing up in a small town with no Black folks meant that the poor were often scapegoated. Anytime something happened or went missing, the cops were at our house looking for my brother. We survived all of those interactions though.”

As unsurprising as their experience was, they continued with details that truly highlight disparity in racial treatment with regard to the prison industrial complex. Not only did their brother evade prison, they received rehabilitation, therapy to deal with their traumas, and suffered no loss of education or employment opportunities. Throughout the thread of tweets, other users shared similar experiences with the law where despite their behavior or knowledge of their criminal history, they avoided punishment.

As Black Twitter users read the replies, some were struck with awe and others reflected on the struggles they faced. Many lamented over the difficult conversations they prepared to have with their children. The nearly 20K replies contain experiences with law enforcement through local authorities, TSA, Immigration officers, and even school police.

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Not On Our Watch! Howard Uni President Bans Campus Colonizers

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As a response to student reports of unauthorized use of The Yard, Howard University President, Wayne A.I. Frederick has released a statement demanding pet owners respect the campus.

An email sent to Howard University staff and students notified them of the President’s decision to mark the private institution’s grounds off limits. Calling the quad a “treasured site”, Frederick affirmed the community’s desire to keep the area “pristine and symbolic of all that Howard University represents.” Acknowledging the history of residents’ visitation to the campus, Frederick referenced the community relationship before making a formal decision.

“At the beginning of my presidency we held regular meetings that included students, faculty and members of the Advisory Neighborhood Committees to cultivate a town and gown relationship. I recently reached out to our local ANC and Councilwoman to engage in a dialogue. We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting out campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas.”

Last week, reports of residents from gentrified surrounding areas mistreating the northwest Washington D.C. school made waves on social media. Insensitive comments regarding who was privileged to access the campus sparked public outrage among those who wanted to protect Howard’s 152-year legacy.

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Keep Walking, Colonizer! Howard University Students Say Neighbors are Disrespecting The Yard

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White people’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds and has now extended to the campus of famed HBCU, Howard University. The 152-year-old private educational institution located in D.C. has been misused by residents who believe The Yard should be accessible to them as a dog park or outdoor gym.

Students of Howard University have taken offense to colonizers and gentrifiers in northwest Washington D.C in recent years. As wealthy, White residents continue to flood areas surrounding the university, they take liberties they have neither earned nor deserve on the school grounds. Students say they “find it very disrespectful” and have noted a marked increase of such behavior throughout their attendance.

Where students would have seen one or two out-of-place dog walkers on campus in a week, they see two each day. Graduating senior, Briana Littlejohn, spoke with The DCist, about the residents’ use of the campus, stating, “You know this is a university. You know this is a historically Black university. And you feel so entitled that you’re just going to walk your dog there?” Many other attendees feel the same, but their outrage has recently been met with unreasonable alternatives by residents.

Speaking with Fox 5 correspondent, Tisha Lewis, Sean Grubbs-Robishaw who lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood said the following:

“So, they’re in part of D.C. so they have to work within D.C. If they don’t want to be within D.C., then they can move the campus. I think we just need to work together and I don’t think it should be a he or there or here…It’s our community and that’s how it should be.”

Sean Grubbs-Robishaw,

Grubbs-Robishaw admits to using the grounds as a shortcut to get to the McMillan Reservoir, a popular spot for walking/running. But his argument conveniently glosses over the fact that Howard University is a private institution while also disregarding its status as a historically Black university.

The campus has been mistreated by those new to the area as a location for picnics and other abuses. The university has yet to directly state that such activities are prohibited by residents, Alonda Thomas, a spokesperson, has said there is no policy prohibiting dogs and that the campus is “open”, meaning anyone has access to it.

Do you think the disrespect that Howard University campus is receiving is related in any way to the #DontMuteDC protest? Do you think the campus should be closed to the public?

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