The views on this post belong solely to Terrance.
Fifty. Fifty heartbeats. Fifty people. Someone’s friend, lover, cousin, sibling, child. Dead. Fifty. And just as many have been injured. Fifty dead. Let that number sink in…. Someone will never make it to their college graduation. Someone will be missing around the Thanksgiving and Christmas table. Someone will never make it to see the birth of their niece or nephew…or their own child. Fifty. Fifty people will never laugh again, will never bathe in the sun again, will not show up to work on Monday, will never kiss the person they love. Fifty people will have fifty funerals across Florida. Fifty dead. Gone. Because of the actions of one person. Fifty.
To my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, I hurt and cry with you. In this dark time, I will stand with you. I love you and mourn with you. For now, though….hear my outrage and anger.
It’s June, which means Pride is in full effect across the nation. It’s time for colorful parades, romping festivals, dance and merriment and a celebration of a community that for the longest has been treated as less than second-class. It’s the time of year when we celebrate how far we, as an LGBTQ+ community, have come…..But we have so far to go for true equality. Fifty.
In more than 50 countries around the world, being homosexual is punishable by a variety of sentences, up to and including death in several.
And yet, in the United States, it seems the violence against LGBTQ+ persons becomes more commonplace and a standard event compared to many of these nations even though many laws against homosexuality or homosexual acts have been either abolished or aren’t really enforced (read Lawrence v. Texas as an example). Fifty. Fifty people were targeted for simply being outside of the “norm” in society. It seems like even as we fight and get more rights and equality as a queer nation, we still are never truly a part of the mainstream. WE were targeted on this day. Fifty.
This shooting now marks the biggest body count of mass shootings in the US. Fifty people are dead and I am OUTRAGED! We live in a nation where it’s completely normal for a citizen to obtain a near-military grade assault weapon. His weapon of choice wasn’t a simple glock or other small firearms. The AR-15 is not simply for minor deterrent: this is a weapon BUILT to do one thing…kill. Nothing else. And the shooter obtained it completely legally because “this is America and anything that tries to curtail the 2nd Amendment is inherently unconstitutional”. This shooting brings up a variety of issues: gun control, violence against LGBTQ+ people and hate crimes in general, and terrorism (both domestic and foreign). And the sad thing is, literally the day before this happened, singer Christina Grimmie (rest in peace) was shot and killed at HER OWN autograph signing. We live in a nation where a shooting in Florida is just another weekend. We live in a nation where a woman has to go through more hoops to get an abortion than does some deranged individual to secure a lethal weapon.
Is this the standard that we’ve decided to set for ourselves? Where average citizens can just blatantly obtain deadly weapons, carry them out in the open, and kill innocent people? And, more often than not, the rhetoric of the political right is “more guns mean less violence and the government is going to take your guns” or as Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick puts it “a man reaps what he sows”. Really?! A Christian nearly endorses the sin of one person because he’s ridding the world of people that he sees as sinning too. I’m sorry; but when did one sin begetting another become God’s new normal. And that’s the issue with the conservative right. They’re so busy politicizing their own hypocrisy that they fail to see us as people. And what’s so depressing is that part of their voter base, whether actively or passively, validates these actions, despite the fact that these very same voters would sooner see all Muslims subjugated to the same bigotry as queers. Because welcome to America. 50 people rapidly killed (and some held hostage) by an AR 15 because we don’t want the inconvenience of reloading mid-massacre.
And that brings me to ISIS. Yes, ISIS is our enemy. And whether or not the shooter really was a part of ISIS or had dealings with other terrorist groups is a whole separate issue and warrants further investigating by authorities (even though the shooter had previously been interviewed by the FBI and was, at a minimum, on their radar — but I digress). The larger problem I have to address, unfortunately, are followers of Islam.
To my Muslim brothers and sisters…. your silence only advances the ideals of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups. Your silence only allows a small sect of those who share your religion to speak for you. To my Muslim brother and sisters: you have to speak up. I know in my heart that a great many of the 1.5 billion of you are not violent. But, to not recognize that by not addressing your own community, you become a threat to the rest of us. And more so, those of you that may be non-violent but also share similar views of the extremists of your religion and don’t speak up, your reticence validates the violence committed against us.
These are my Black and Brown and Queer family that were targeted. You MUST stop letting ISIS speak for you. It’s not enough for us to have Muslims like Nihad Awad and Shuja Shafi to condemn ISIS; we welcome and expect that from our political figures and activists (and to the near 200 that held a prayer in Orlando after the shooting, I thank you). It is YOU that we need. To my Muslim brothers and sisters, WE need you. Fifty. Fifty people. What if that was your brother or cousin or son…or lover? We ALL deserve to feel safe. I would fight tooth and nail for you to have the freedom to enjoy your religion. Will you not fight for me to love the person that I love?
Pulse is a nightclub, a place where people go to dance and drink and have fun. It’s a place where people of all races, colors, religions, and genders can come and rejoice for a great time, especially in the wake of Pride season. But now Edward Sotomayor, Kimberly Morris, Cory Connell, Tevin Crosby, Amanda Alvear, Captain Antonio Brown, Shane Tomlinson, Brenda McCool, Frank Hernandez and dozens more won’t make it home. One person turned a place that is meant to be a safe space for joy and entertainment into a war zone. Do you know what it takes to stop someone with an AR-15? A couple dozen cops, SWAT team, and body armor. Which leads me to my next issue.
Gun control. Now for my conservatives that may be reading this, just listen. I know some of you flinch at even the mention of those two words but just bare with me….
I am not saying that we have to take the guns of law-abiding citizens. However; weapons like the AR15 or M16 are meant to kill a lot within a very short timeframe — these are weapons that (should be) reserved for our military or high-end homeland/police forces, not the soccer dad who works at Kinko’s. Our military and police force have the potential to encounter aggressors that (oftentimes) carry similar or possibly much deadlier weapons (obviously I know there are even times where local police officers don’t necessarily need these grade of weapons but that’s a separate issue). Who are you expecting to rob you? Who are you so afraid of will be crashing through your door at any given moment that requires you to carry an assault weapon that has been proven time and time again to kill swiftly?
We live in a nation where toddlers shoot more people fatally than die from certain common illnesses. AND the numbers are growing!
That’s what we’ve come to now? You’ve got such a hard-on for the 2nd Amendment that you can’t fathom why Tom from Accounting shouldn’t have an M16? Really? Assault weapons do not belong in the hands of normal citizens. Do you want a 9mm or even your grandfather’s old revolver? I’m fine with that. Those are weapons that are meant for self-defense. When someone takes hold of these near military grade weapons, they have one thing on their mind: to kill. They’re not (wholly) looking to just protect themselves or their loved ones; they’re waiting to just get the chance to use it. And the mere presence of a gun elicits more aggressive behavior. Leonard Berkowitz did a study back in 1967 that found that even seeing a weapon (particularly a gun) causes a weapons priming effect, wherein, the subject becomes aroused and stimulated and results in someone going into the “ready to act” mode. We knew this s**t back in 1967 and we still can’t get a handle on gun control.
And to add insult to injury, me as a gay man, can’t even donate blood to my queer brothers or sisters! Or I can….but I have to wait for 6 months to a year. Now yes, I know that the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s/90s affected many policies and regulations due to the recent (at that time) discovery of the disease and the statistics among gay/bi/MSM persons. But this is nearly 30 years later. Our progression in medicine has become so advanced that not only can we detect HIV nearly 7 days after infection but we also have such medications as Truvada, which when combined with safe practices, virtually eliminates the possibility of infection. And newsflash to some of you: you have to get HIV from someone that has it! I do understand that there are areas of the nation that may have higher rates of infection than others, and we (queers and allies and medical professionals) are working to promote safer sex and other STD reducing behaviors. But my main point is, there are gay men that are at no more of a risk than infection than anyone else (i.e. many are in monogamous relationships and both partners are negative). Why are we being stopped from helping their own community?
You can believe in a conniving snake that tricked Eve into eating a forbidden fruit. We can tout that a man gathered pairs of each animal on an ark and sailed through destruction. We can believe a man walked on water and rose from the dead days later. But we can’t address the issues facing our communities because we’ve become so accustomed to the politicization of issues and the fighting with one another. Jesus was a non-violent, poor nomad who preached kindness and compassion and judge not lest ye be judged. But the Christian right is so quick to slew filth at my Black and Brown peoples and my LGBTQ+ family. To my conservatives, we hear your silence more than we hear your opposition. Even the Pope has come out time and time again, admonishing the violence in the U.S. Will we not hear the cries of our fallen brethren? Will we not love thy neighbor as yourself? Tell me, what will you do?
Trump Administration Cuts Protections for Transgender Americans
On Friday, the Trump administration announced it would be rolling back an Obama-era rule protecting transgender Americans from discrimination in health care.
Under the Obama administration, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on one’s gender identity. Under a revised version of the rule, the Department of Health and Human Services will enforce Section 1557 “by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology” beginning in mid-August. In other words, doctors and insurance companies receiving funding from the Fed can legally refuse any patient needing transition-related medical care.
Of course, as quickly as the rule was finalized, many LGBTQ+ organizations including the ACLU,announced intentions to sue the Trump administration over this new language. “The Trump admin has issued a rule that will embolden health care discrimination against transgender people.. All while a global pandemic is occurring.” said the ACLU in a tweet.
Forget a global pandemic, ACLU. Friday’s announcement came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, a mass shooting at a popular Florida gay nightclub that left 49 people and the shooter dead.
President Trump has made it clear how he feels about the nearly 1.4 million transgender people in this country, his fellow Americans – he doesn’t feel anything.
Dwyane Wade Reveals 12-Year-Old Child Now Goes By Zaya
With all of the obstacles that exist within our society, it’s incredible to see 13-time NBA All-Star and former player, Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union empowering their pre-teen, Zaya, to live her truth.
Wade recently appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to promote the upcoming ESPN documentary D Wade: Life Unexpected. Following a clip from the documentary, he shared that his middle child, formerly known as Zion, now identifies as “her” and goes by the name Zaya.
As DeGeneres praised him for his support of Zaya, Wade replied, “Me and my wife Gabrielle Union are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community. And we are proud allies as well. We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously.”
He went on to share that Zaya expressed her desire to live her truth at 9-years-old. “I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as she and her, I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,” he explained.
Immediately the parents began to educate themselves and seek advice from members of the LGBTQ+ community, Union reaching out to the cast of the popular FX series, Pose. For Wade, it’s all about giving her “the best opportunity to be her best self” while preparing her to live life openly.
According to Wade, “Once Zaya came home and said, ‘I want you to call me Zaya and I’m ready to take on this,’ I looked at her and said, ‘You are a leader. And this is our opportunity to allow you to be a voice.’ Right now it’s through us, because she’s 12 years old, but eventually, it will be through her.”
For more on his journey post-career and as the father of an openly gay pre-teen, tune in to D Wade: Life Unexpected. The ESPN documentary airs Sunday, February 23rd.
Welcome to Uncle Tom’s Haus of Koonery
So in light of the great news of President Trump getting impeached. I was sent an article from a few twitter mutuals of an interview done by Mikelle Street interviewing everyone’s favorite problematic porn star Max Konner. I knew at that moment I would not receive any peace this week. The article at hand denoted that Konner was beginning his own talent agency for people of color. I did a double-take, but I been on this earth long enough to know a stunt when I see one. In the article, Konnor mentioned the need for porn actors of color needing proper tutelage and education before entering the pornography industry. Which I do agree with, but we also know that seeing the phrasing “people of color” does not mean black people and why would Konner exclusively help his own people? He wouldn’t, but that’s been made very clear that he has no intention of helping the Black LGBTQIA+ community after his behavior during the PR nightmare which and is still NoirMale.com.
I have to be honest that I found the interview to be amazing and at minimal a cross-examination of Konner’s work history, work ethics, and very sorted and messy racially insensitive history. Konner acknowledges that there will be criteria for all those that apply to join the slaveshi-, sorry the Haus of Konner.
He says in the article:
“Right now we have three exclusives: Derek Cline, Jabari Clutch, and Asher Lee. I have a bunch of other submissions but I’m taking my time to go through everything because it is a boutique talent management company. I am not just accepting everybody that applies. I’m trying to pick models who I feel like have what it takes to make it.”
Now, what this statement could subversively say so many things. Firstly, Jabari is the only black presenting model. Derek is racially ambiguous and Asher is Asian. Even in the first stride of selection, there is only one Black person in the mix (pun intended). Secondly, “boutique talent management company” is reading as “no fats, no fem” because knowing the shortness of sight that Konner has he may only present body boys and cis actors that are racially palatable.
Mr. Street follows up with the question:
“The release says that you all are prioritizing “models of color.” Are you referencing all models of color, specifically Black models, or will it be all models with an emphasis on models of color?”
Konner responds with:
“As of right now we are looking at all models of color. I’m trying to decide if I want to have one or two models that don’t necessarily fit that because in doing this I don’t want to become the problem that I’m trying to fight. There are so many avenues and so many arenas where we as models of color are shut down or shut out because of the color of our skin, and I don’t want this to be a thing where we say: OK it’s all models of color and anyone who is not that, get out. So I’m still toying around that, but right now we are exclusively models of color.”
My thoughts are that this is basically saying that “I’m gonna have some good ole boys in the club because I don’t want massa upset with me none.” I’m just saying. Rather than doing the right and altruistic thing and doing an all-black agency. Konner is going to appease the comfort of his white fan base in spite of the fact his black fan base was there for him when he was the porn actor Isaiah Foxx. Which if anything he owes that little boy the world because Konner is fully aware and present on the issues that BLACK porn actors face and what Isaiah a black bottom porn actor felt.
The thing that is further disturbing in the article is when Konnor says this:
“I do plan to send models from Haus of Konnor over to Noir Male but one of my big things is: if I send a model to a studio there’s agreement between me and that studio that nothing that has to do with that model’s race or nothing pertaining to the “BBC experience” is what that model is participating in. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had no clue what I’ve been working on and then the movies come out and it’s like ‘Oh god!’”
This sounds very historically familiar. So during the slave trade, the Caribbean Islands was used as a large space for sex farms for slaves and “buck breaking”.
Noted on RacistReport.org:
“These male slaves were purchase based entirely on the prerequisite of them possessing a large penis. Black men were routinely raped by their gay slave owners. The process was known as “breaking the buck.”
It involves a strapping Negro slave, who was defiant, was beaten with a whip till bloody in front of his entire slave congregation. The slave owner would cut down a tree and, with the help of the overseer, would then pummel the deviant “buck” into submission. Once the slave was worn down, the master had the other Negro slaves force him over the tree stump where his britches would be removed and he laid fully exposed buttocks, he would remove his own clothing and proceeded to savagely sodomize the buck in front his wife, family, friends, and children.”
Konnor is basically handing these gentlemen over to a problematic porn company ran by the also very racially problematic DJ Chi Chi LaRue. After the debacle with PrEP/U=U advocate, #TakedownTina activist, and now amateur porn actor Jacen Zhu. He stepped away from the company for their purposeful mishandling of race in the studio. We can not trust that Konner will have good intentions.
So let’s be clear. Is there a race issue in gay porn? Absolutely.
Should there be a space cultivated for porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes ma’am.
Should there be a space cultivated for black porn actors of color to get jobs and to be treated fairly? Yes sir!
Should Konner be the one doing it? No, not at this juncture and especially around his limited education on race.
Konnor has clearly acknowledged that there is a problem, which is good for him I guess. I just understand that there needs to be more work done to supplant footing for black LGBTQIA+ porn actors of all genders and body types and this attempt is half-cocked, lazy, and wildly remedial. He participating in the same foolish stunting that Noir Male did as well at their inception.
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