Greetings dear readers!
A ray of light penetrates the Trouble steadily brewing in Black paradise.
Momentous judicial action on June 26th, 2015 solidified a critical stepping stone.
“Marriage Equality” legally activated in U.S. territory from shore to shore set fresh charge resurging into a weathered lamp. That lantern—under attack by social thugs and legislative bullies all along the way—was preciously carried by gay forbearers on our dark, treacherous, seemingly endless trail.
It’s an especially fitting time now—affirmed by new surfacing circumstances—to scour such gripping gay movers-and-shakers. They fire up my highly autobiographical book “Trouble In Black Paradise.”
I “came out” in 1979—absolutely alone—blasted from a horrific closet. A force took me beyond my intellect’s dug-in, steel resistance. I had believed both my closet and intellectual stand were absolutely iron clad.
In San Diego it was a stark, terrifying time, especially as a Black 25-year-old making bold public self-acknowledgement toward sexual discovery. That emergence had been preset by another task. I’d already been cutting my teeth on the Black and poor people’s community development scene.
At age 19 in the minority social repair setting ethnically “coming out” (owning an Afro heritage under fierce American attack) was by blazing light of day and Afro celebration pockets made it easier—but not much easier. Black self-hatred went through the roof.
We trained to engage America’s corrupt system. It showered society with clever dog-eat-dog nuances—policies fattening privilege “class” at the expense of hard working average folks.
The daunting task of mending so many damaged segments that’d been set at odds (against one another) required a broad based approach. Veterans “on the lines” knew what was paramount here: lighting the flame of our social consciousness. It triggered something else.
My Eastern spiritualist “coming out” erupted. A different level of Black led “guides” in that fascinating setting had broke new ground, where added resource saved my life. Here, daylight support also awaited initiates, but open affiliation was still a novelty and nasty Western persecution remained fresh.
Colonial Christian America brutalized outsiders (wrecking lives and careers). As an Afro-centric Buddhist I was now marginalized by the very group that had initially protected me—Christian affiliated Blacks whom white churches viciously marginalized.
Another marginal extreme though, excluded from all the rest, loomed ahead.
Broad based leaders grooming me hardly predicted their resonant advocacy fire led to an inevitable: my entrance onto a new, absolutely foreign gay landscape—rife with cutting edge turmoil.
Homosexual reality sat squashed beneath the heel of all other discriminated groups. It was stuck underground, imprisoned among a stream of scorned cast-a-ways in shame-filled choking darkness. But something akin to the force of a spiritual DNA piston had fired in me, refusing to be hampered—shocking my attention.
I set those combined leader’s resonant advocacy flame into my own specialized lamp, took a deep breath and plunged away from them into mystery.
Rising from one chilling uncertainty, back to a surface certified with hostile bombardment, steeled my conviction. I found un-mined jewels when sifting underground rivers of souls—discarded gay folks polished by their own above board civic investment, thrilled to see me. We dared to coalesce with steps to bare our “essentials” up into legitimacy’s light of day—an isolated, dangerous affair.
Not many were willing to risk. You could be viciously attacked by gays themselves who thought you were exposing them to the light of day. I was.
Tom and I met 10 years later in San Francisco. He’d come from Chicago through the same early period, navigated the same landmines. By then our kinship adoptees had made havens to breath, launch resistance and perfect the art of same gender love. Scores mysteriously vanished, yet active resilience took to streets again.
Gay pioneers among us, making a last undaunted stand (for our lineage) knew only one certainty:
Fear of being ostracized by blood families, imminent physical, psychological and character attacks, damnation by our standard religions, possible loss of homes and livelihoods, police and bashers ceaselessly stalking our sanctuaries, agents planted in bars to spring arrests when we publically “touched.”
Most horribly, with no recourse, lynching was sanctioned in homophobia’s legal eyes—the gay “repulsion card” having courtroom power over battered lives.
With AIDS outer society rousingly preached that we had only one certainty: imminent death.
In short, thoughts of ever witnessing shards of legal protection and inclusion (or standard long lived lives) bounced around in pipedreams. We planned not to see “protection” in our lifetimes.
Tom and I married in 2014 after 23 years together, following what suddenly slipped through cracks into the light of day: marriage rights in California.
Now, the recent “national ruling” boosted one humdinger of a magnificent step, a fine crafted bolster positioned to succeed other key scratched out achievements—a superb finish suddenly visible on an incomplete road.
The light at the end of this tunnel would establish total Civil Rights protection for the gay community stratum. The “ruling” gives that supernova like light mouthwatering possibility—it is a most important element needed for the next judicial victory.
The Supreme Court ruling translates to this: the LGBTQ community segment is a legitimate “culture” in our country’s human spectrum—with a valid “essence” of human nature that must be granted what is constitutionally due to all valid American folk; it is “equal protection under the law” and the authentic authority to seek “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagen and Sonia Sotomayor, identifying the fourteenth amendment as the cornerstone for their decision. A major aspect there offers protection for valid individuals from infringement on personal rights by states.
“Five snaps up” for justice!
Obviously though, much work still needs to be done. Kennedy could have outright said it is illegal to discriminate against the lesbian/gay spectrum—he did not.
The dissent of Chief Justice John Roberts, with Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas was outright anti gay bigotry couched in legalese. Roberts and Scalia in particular attacked Kennedy’s notion.
Kennedy says in essence this: that the Constitution is a living representational legislative body that must evolve when specific times (other than when it was crafted) may reflect the evolving society—one that displays a far broader cultural spectrum than when the slave owning, white male “founders” designed it.
In other words, the founders provided for a legislative social refinement “tool” to be used by their future populace, to address the uniqueness of that future era—not a finalized stone block set as a museum piece, solidifying one segment’s brutal privileges over another’s.
Such is why in their hearts the founders knew this concept (espousing “equality” in a “democracy”) was an unleashed dragon, eventually coming home to haunt their privileged heirs.
Afro-American Justice Thomas, lap dog for Scalia (the guardian of elite privilege) insanely backed tyranny’s rationale. They said because major global societies, including religious institutions, were anti gay for millennia (presumably not allowing gay marriage) it should stay that way without a court overturning antiquated status. They hid under the cloak of “state’s rights” while promoting the holier-than-thou ideology of certain states.
Given this ludicrous rationale Thomas must want: 1. Afro-Americans to still be slaves (while he maintains freedom’s privileges). 2. Women and children to have zero rights. And 3.Certain religions (namely the Protestant Wasps) to preside over all others—their historical butchery accepted, trumping the rest with full persecution rights restored.
“Four snaps down” for romanticized, murderous power tripping bigotry!
Here again, much “outside” work obviously must be done.
But slapping me in the face also is the blatant “gay cultural” deficit that poses major foreseeable trouble. And the new gay perpetrators are oblivious—thinking their reactions (and non actions) are benign, noble and without injury.
A sad case and point:
Visiting a Castro bar recently I spotted and went to greet a young man befriended over the last few years. My soul had been shaken by recent events. Among many the nonstop tragedies (spawning Black Lives Matters) now punctuated by the massacre in a historic Black South Carolina church.
To top it off Marriage Equality’s question still loomed unanswered, growing anxiety surrounded the still awaited decision, itself wrestling for center stage. Yet to the contrary masterful triumphs from many local events (set on a national roll) had flushed the Bay Area with a string of electrifying metro magic—so I did feel marvelous in my poignant space.
He is white and stereotypically handsome. He’s relatively new to both owning his gayness and finding “place” in an awkwardly layered gay scheme—but absolutely having a ball! Our conversations have held substance potential (as he’s a bit seasoned from having “been around”) and were enthusiastic, until now.
Greetings led to asking how I’m doing. I candidly shared tidbits about my state—wavering but stabilizing after some absorption—and considering the continued avalanche of global incidents, encouragingly optimistic.
Tightness then slipped in the air, a hint of weight shadowing his polite demeanor. The prospect of a receptive and relating ear as I risked letting thoughts flow (treasuring what could be a refreshing cradle for release) got suddenly blasted in rebuff:
“I didn’t come here to talk about that stuff!” he curtly replied. “Let’s talk about that some other time!”
Every risk taking ancestor in my memory heart had been open handedly slapped! Passion drew up infusing my civility, demanding I offer a reminder: the here he speaks of affords him comfort in a safety strengthened sanctuary (greatly diminishing his social molestation) because of forbearers he is not comfortable talking about—or acknowledging!
His retort, asking what horrible conditions became ousted from interactive gay spaces, dimensionally shocked me. The question told so much more than my frozen response could begin trying to fill in. The question though, seemed to seek diversion from the subject, not draw elaboration.
I expressed dismay that gay and general Civil Rights trailblazers would spark unsettling anxiety, rather than his fiery interest and gung-ho toast to achievement.
Agitation in full throttle he suggested maybe he should read my blog. I suggested that he actually read my book—our gay history being under fire (and the lies attempting to eliminate facts) moved me to chronicle groundbreaking reality for his posterity.
He stormed off, high drama axing the moment—implied accusation (of being overwhelmed) screaming: this delicate mind needs protection from violation—a tranquil homo scene shattered by “outside” intrusion.
It was an exact carbon copy of white gay men huffing away in insult, shutting down from the raised issue calling out a scene’s blatant racism.
How ironic: this one would benefit from what so many sacrificed for, so that he can actually have a tranquil homo scene—yet be so disturbed by gay valor (reflecting the lives of those invaluable contributors).
I’ll not hold my breath expecting we’ll have this conversation elsewhere, in some spontaneous boulevard rap session—standard white gay men tend to not. I’ll also not expect that he will step up to rally for the next phase of gay (and human) rights achievement, or will feel any need to conscientiously protect our gains.
Or that he’ll even believe those gains can be lost (just ask the Blacks of the “Delta Blues” 3 part series penned in my earlier blogs).
I’ll not give up hope though. I have seen starved lives painfully intervene on their own body’s emotional madness, pulling caustic, stubborn intellects kicking and screaming back to the water.
Yes, this was early me that I saw. As shared above (regarding my “coming out”) I can personally verify the notion: a famished and delusional body—ignoring the wise “inner voice”—makes a tall risky order (which can pay a tall, devastating price).
Now is especially the time for us to exactly know who we are in the spectrum, getting in touch with the jaw-dropping, priceless lives who selflessly forged on our trans cultural behalf.
Please read and share my book, “Trouble In Black Paradise,” with your friends and family. Especially, surprise someone “in the folds” whom you know really needs to know.