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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.guns-5 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.

2016-06-12_croporlandoallegedgunman2a14657500301484c397990-googlechrome_001And 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?

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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?

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  1. Nicole Green

    June 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I loved this article

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Dating With HIV

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LGBTQ

THE INHERENT OPPRESSION IN WHITE QUEER SPACES

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The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of KingofReads.com

 

If you’ve read any of my writing previously, or understand how I feel about intersectionality, then you are fully aware that I am getting ready to wage war on the Midtown-Moon, previously Burkhart’s, in Atlanta, GA.

Snuggled in one of the whitest areas of Atlanta, I was at first apprehensive about traveling to this predominantly White Queer Space, as the privilege in these spaces is often insurmountable. However, because I was reassured by my Black Queer brothers, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and practice the very thing that I preach: cultural immersion. 

To give you an idea of the types of folx that venture here:

Let’s get back to why I proclaim that these White Queer spaces are indeed insurmountable: language, language, language.

For some ridiculously odd reason, White gay men love to make the most insensitive, racist, xenophobic, transphobic comments all in the name of a gotdamn joke. Do I look like a fucking joke to you? And do you know what the most unfortunate part about this is?

Come closer…closer…

BLACK QUEER PEOPLE STILL WILLINGLY TRAVEL TO THESE SPACES AND ALLOW THEM TO PERPETUATE THESE IDEOLOGIES!

Moving right along. We walk inside Midtown-Moon and we’re greeted by a seemingly friendly karaoke host. His energy was great and kept the attention of someone like myself who honestly, doesn’t do well with large group outings. Cool.

It is important to note that while this is a predominantly White Queer venue, they sometimes cater (notice I used the word “cater”) to “People of Color (POC),” not Black people.

Let’s observe the quotation around POC. This simply means folx that they love the brown and black people who help them perpetuate the xenophobic, privileged, and internalized oppression all in the name of color. It’s like a false ass “kumbaya” moment.

On this particular Tuesday Karaoke night, about 67-70% of the patrons were visibly of color, mostly Black (get into it).

We’re moving right along with karaoke and on comes “1000 miles” by Vanessa Carlton. We all know this song! This excitement is now thrown out of the window because the overly obnoxious host decides to scream,

Oh bitch! You chose the whitest song ever! This is White privilege right here!

Immediately, I’m slightly disgusted. I’ll get back into why this comment is literally vermin.

After he rants, and rants, and screams these same sentiments almost throughout the ENTIRE song, the poor patron singing takes his exit.

Next on the list is “Bye, Bye, Bye” by none other than NSYNC. Our Xenophobic host was partnering with an individual by the last name of Sanchez. Here is the next rant:

Bitch! Immigration! Immigration! Somebody find Sanchez! Immigration! Somebody call ICE!

If you are not bothered by the above statement, you need to challenge your understanding of cultural insensitivity and xenophobia and its effects.

Why did this White gay man feel as if he had the space to make “light” of experiences that he will never have. Why will he never have this experience? BECAUSE HE IS WHITE! BECAUSE HE IS WHITE! BECAUSE HE IS WHITE! BECAUSE HE IS WHITE!

People, it’s time to wake the fuck up. Some of y’all are in the period of in between snoozes. I need you to wake all the way up.

As a privileged person, especially being White, it is not your place, nor will it ever be your place to make light of oppressive situations all in the name of a fucking joke.

Language folx, creates space for thoughts. These thoughts create space for feelings. These feelings create space for perceptions. These perceptions create space for actions. Actions create the space for marginalizing people, wrongfully incarcerating them at alarming rates, allowing environments to not have clean water for years, allowing the homeless to freeze to death, allowing a seventeen-year-old’s murderer to walk free, the abrogation of DACA, the slaying of young immigrant children, and the shutdown of a government to build a gotdamn wall that literally has no benefit.

To you people who claim that everyone is “too sensitive,” wake your dumbass up.

To the Black people and other POC who uphold these ideologies, wake your dumbass up.

To the people who are offended by me insulting your disregard for human life, wake your dumbass up.

Sidenote: As this raging xenophobe cracked his “jokes,” the rest of us just looked at him.

The Black people and the other People of Color were just there for good karaoke. That’s it.

White Queer people, if you would like for everything to be “kumbaya” and all inclusive like claim it should be, stop saying dumb shit that reinforces a divide. No, I don’t have to assimilate to oppressive bullshit.

-A Fed Up Black Queer Man

Photo citations:

https://thegavoice.com/news/atlanta/burkharts-gm-responds-owners-racist-facebook-posts-uncovered/ (this one even points out the racist owner in the article)

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Teyana Taylor Returns to IG, Releases WTP music video

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Teyana WTP

10s, 10s, 10s across the board! Teyana Taylor gave us body and brought it to the ballroom in her W.T.P. music video.

After leaving the platform because Def Jam didn’t release the video for WTP on time, Teyana is back. She returned to IG yesterday, posting a still frame from her video captioned with a touching message.

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First time I met YOU (LGBTQ/ballroom) I was 15. An age when I didn’t feel my prettiest, didn’t know who I really was ya know. I was still finding myself in this crazy world like any other normal 15 year old but it’s so crazy how before I became the woman I am today, most importantly, I was accepted with open arms by YOU. YOU made me feel so beautiful. YOU embraced my strong features, YOU embraced my big hair, YOU embraced everything about me like no other and I knew from that day on that YOU would a home for me and would forever be apart of who I would become & something I would love and forever embrace AT ALL TIMES. Stepping into the industry shortly after, I realized that a lot of people did not embrace YOU the way I did, I was confused I could not understand for the life of me why YOU wouldn’t be embraced! Why the hell was people ashamed of YOU!! My sweet 16 I had YOU part of it and it weirdly did not make the episode, I had YOU in my very first music video at age 16 that you also oddly didn’t make it in. I never understood why but it hurt me. But I never let it stop me from EMBRACING & LOVING YOU. So I continued to always remind people that this is me! This is who I am. Once I realized that them NOT embracing YOU had become a repetitive thing, I vowed to continue to represent YOU whenever to whoever!! And that one day when I am where I want to be and I have control and power I would WORK MY PUSSY unapologetically to the world with you and make sure the world see where I come from and not have to worry about ANYONE editing YOU out or being ashamed of MY HOME. YOU have taught me to embrace my sexuality, tap into my sexy, love my strong features, love my body and the list goes on and on. It’s so dope to finally do something for/with YOU that WE CONTROL UNAPOLOGETICALLY. I love YOU so much and thank you for everything. I want to thank my staff and crew, I want to thank all the icons, legends & kids for making this video magical W/O YOU no pussies would be WORKEDT!💕 and @_mykki_ thank you for ur voice and presence on WTP my love.❤️ swipe to see full caption.

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WTP is a self-directed ballroom tribute filled with cameos and references to Paris is Burning. Throughout the video, Teyana pays homage to the culture that helped her find herself. The video features queer dancers, models, and an iconic cameo from Lena Waithe. Establishing herself as the Muva of House Petunia, Teyana directed crews in New York, Atlanta, and L.A.. She even contributed to the editing and credits an all-female production company for the shoot.

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