Sunday, May 31, 2015


By the time that many of you will read this, it will be a new day.


Tonight went well, starting with the HERO one year anniversary event, The Loosen the Bible Belt and a late dinner went well. It was after dinner that my heart shattered into a billion pieces, as a friend and I left a Montrose area restaurant, I ran into another friend. I immediately knew that when I saw her that she had no where to go and probably had not eaten, probably that whole day. So I gave her the last two dollars in my pocket and then bought her something to eat. The ride back home for me was quiet and filled with thoughts about how and why it is so hard for the LGBT homeless to find shelter, help and care without being HIV positive.

Let me step back and tell y'all how tonight was the culmination of  several interactions with her and observations about her and how she is/was treated over that time. I first met her when, I visited Msociety a subsidiary of Legacy Community Health Services here in Houston. She was sitting at the welcome desk and We politely spoke as I observed that she was in the process of transition from male to female and it was clear that she lacked the resources to help along in the process. For context, when I say resources, I mean counseling, hormones, and people to help guide her through this transition. It was obvious from that point on, that when I made subsequent visits that the staff was not equipped or trained in how to be a resource or to refer Trans persons of color to agencies that can help.

She would be looked down upon by some of the visitors and some of the staff with whom the interactions were quite interesting to watch. Because of those accumulated interactions, I began to ask questions and found out that she is homeless like many of the LGBT youth in the Houston area. I know all too well what that is like because I WAS part of the LGBT homeless youth community for a time in New Orleans. It is sad to see that we have drop in centers like Msociety and others that only cater to CDC codes like "MSM" (MEN who have SEX with MEN). WHERE IN THE HELL ARE THE ALL ENCOMPASSING TRANS RESOURCES? That is one of many questions that come to my mind as I write about homeless folks within the LGBT community. I mean Legacy is really great at helping those in TRANSition along with all of the required processes, please correct me if I am wrong.

Why tell us how to prevent STI/STD infection and then allow us to be faced with lack of resources like SHELTER, FOOD & OVER ALL SAFETY? This is not to blame those doing the hard work of prevention in our community, but intersectionally speaking we don't have our ducks in a row to address all of the issues that we face in Houston and the rest of out country. We must take the responsibility to take care of ALL of the parts of the LGBT community. We cannot fix it all at once, but we need resources to be available to ALL and VISIBLE TO ALL. SO I AM ASKING THOSE OF US IN THE HOUSTON LGBT COMMUNITY TO WORK FROM WITHIN THEIR OWN LANES TO REDUCE OVERALL LGBT HOMELESSNESS.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#HERO One Year Anniversary Celebration

I would like to invite the followers of this blog to attend the HERO one year anniversary party:

"May 28th will mark 1-year since the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance passed at City Council. Since then we've dealt with petitions and juries and trials and done our best to fight misinformation and educate the community on why HERO is important. While the case is now being appealed, we can pause for a moment to celebrate how far we've come - but we must look ahead to what is next. Join us for food and drinks and make a toast to HERO and the heroes who made it happen."

1545 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas 77008

Time: 7PM


Friday, May 15, 2015

Urgent help request: #HIVisNOTaCrime in Texas or anywhere!!!

From: Advocacy Without Borders

FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2015

Urgent help request: #HIVisNOTaCrime in Texas or anywhere!!!

I have written before about HIV criminalization, here and here. Most recently, though, when I have written about it I have shared how it is currently affecting my state, Texas and I have also shared about a collaborative call where the problem and an action plan was discussed. Now I am talking about it again. Because what many of us consider our worst nightmare has come to pass.

Senate Bill 779 has been moved out of the Texas State Affairs Committee and assigned to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. With only two weeks left in the state legislative period - which will not occur again until 2017. That is NOT good I have written previously:

"...the state of Texas is on the verge of taking a gigantic leap backward. There is a state bill, Senate Bill 779, that proposes to amend the state Health and Safety Code to allow for HIV test results (which are currently confidential) to be subpoenaed during grand jury proceedings - and for a defendant's medical records to be accessed without their consent to establish guilt/innocence and also potentially to be used to determine sentencing. Essentially, this bill proposes to criminalize having HIV."

We MUST oppose this. And we need YOUR help, whether you

have HIV or not! This is a human rights issue. We need YOU to

stand with us, PLEASE!!!

The following text of the post derived in its entirety from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition (thank you, Venita!); republishing here for easier sharing. Please help now!!!

Senate Bill 779 Talking Points

"Senate Bill 779, introduced by Sen Joan Huffman, would remove the confidential nature of HIV test results and allow them to be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. SB 779 is targeted solely at people living with HIV as stated by the Sen. Huffman in the Senate State Affairs Committee when the bill was introduced. SB 779 was passed by the Senate and has now been assigned to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. We need your help defeating this bill! Please call and email the members of the committee listed below. We also need folks willing to travel to Austin to testify against this harmful bill in the next two weeks.

SB 779 is bad for the estimated 76,000 Texans living with HIV and for Texas for the following reasons.
1. Using HIV test results in any criminal prosecution makes it appear that HIV is the crime rather than the actual crime being investigated. We need public health solutions to fight HIV and not criminal prosecutions.

2. Criminalizing people because they are HIV positive continues to perpetuate fear, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Texas does not have an HIV specific criminal statute. Prosecutors should charge the actual crime and not the health status!

3. Treating a medical condition as evidence of a crime is at direct odds with public health campaigns to get as many people as possible tested and, if HIV positive, into treatment. Tests results can’t be used against you if you don’t get tested.

4. There is no evidence that HIV related prosecutions increase disclosure, reduce the spread of HIV or deter the rare acts of intentional transmission.

5. Laws should reinforce science-based public health messages. SB 779 could also be applied against persons charged with crimes involving spitting and biting. There is simply no need to prosecute someone for attempting to transmit HIV through spitting or biting, because that is not how HIV is transmitted.

6. It violates the privacy rights of people living with HIV by permitting confidential medical information to be used in a criminal proceeding. Issuing a protective order at a later stage does not prevent the violation of privacy.

7. HIV is a chronically manageable disease and should not be treated as a deadly weapon. Defining HIV as a deadly weapon further stigmatizes the disease and those living with it.

8. Although the bill is supposed to target cases of intentional transmission; it is overbroad and would apply to any person living with HIV involved in a criminal prosecution.

Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Members

Chair - Rep. Abel Herrero (District 34 – Nueces)
(512) 463-0462

Vice Chair - Rep. Joe Moody (District 78 – El Paso)

Rep. Terry Canales (District 40 – Hidalgo)

Rep. Todd Hunter (District 32- Nueces)

Rep. Jeff Leach (District 67 – Collin)

Rep. Matt Shaheen (District 66 – Collin)

Rep. David Simpson (District 7 – Longview)

Thank you."



Originally posted by theCounter Narrative Project

May 15, 2015
Today at Michael Johnson’s trial, the jury recommended a 30 year sentence. Yesterday, after just a few days of testimony and only two hours of deliberation, a nearly all-white jury convicted Michael Johnson on one count of recklessly infecting a partner with HIV, one count of attempting to recklessly infect a partner with HIV, and three counts of recklessly exposing partners to HIV. We are saddened and enraged by what seems to have been a lackluster defense of Johnson, but ultimately we are not surprised. There are many people in this country who still believe, out of ignorance or cruelty, that people with HIV are pariahs who we all need to be protected from. But Michael Johnson is a part of our community and he is not disposable. Far too many young Black gay men receive an HIV diagnosis in this country, and nearly one in three can expect to in their lifetimes. And Missouri’s solution, to a problem they helped create, is prison.

Contracting HIV isn’t Michael’s fault. For decades, so few resources have gone toward a community based HIV prevention and treatment response for Black gay men. This has created a situation where contracting HIV feels almost inevitable. It is ironic that the state of Missouri would convict Michael Johnson of criminal transmission out of a claim of concern for “the public.” If Missouri has such concern about the health and wellbeing of its residents, why won’t the Missouri state legislature even expand Medicaid—a very easy way to ensure nearly all people with and at risk for HIV could have access to health care? After the trial is over, it is very likely that the young men accusing Johnson will continue living in a state that will do very little to ensure they have access to HIV prevention services and basic access to health care. Johnson will be in prison, and the accusers who are currently HIV negative will likely remain highly vulnerable to HIV infection. That’s the state’s fault—not Michael Johnson.

It is hard to ignore the racial optics of this case. A very muscular and attractive Black man stood accused by mostly white men, in a small county, and was tried in front of a nearly all-white jury. Whether in health care, or the courtroom, there is no justice for Black gay men in either location.

We want to reiterate that our support for Johnson will continue, whether or not he disclosed his status to the accusers, and despite whatever sentence he receives. We will continue to fight until he is released, and until all such laws are removed from Missouri and across the country. We will continue to work to support Michael through any appeals, and his time in prison, however long it may be.

But in the meantime, this is the agenda we will be actively pursuing:

1.Support Michael Johnson while he’s in prison, continue to raise awareness about his case, work to support any potential appeals or strategies to reduce his sentence or overturn this ruling altogether.

2.Continue to dialog with Black gay men around the country in person and through social media about the importance of opposing such laws.

3.Repeal of the laws that criminalize HIV exposure and transmission, in Missouri and nationwide.

4.Challenge our allies in Black progressive organizations, criminal justice reform, HIV prevention and treatment, and the LGBT movement to take more of an active role in challenging HIV criminalization.

5.Develop more capacity for Black gay men’s grassroots organizing.

We know that many people still remain incredibly frightened of an HIV diagnosis, which undergirds the logic behind many of these laws. We also know that this country has an all-too vivid imagination when it comes to ideas of out-of-control Black sexuality, and a commitment to prisons and punitive responses to challenges. This allows state actors to be absolved of responsibility for creating the conditions that lead many Black gay men to become HIV positive, or imprisoned, or both.

We will fight until Johnson is released, and until we are all free.


Tyrell manning

Daniel D Driffin

David Roscoe Moore

Reggie Dunbar II

Michael J. Brewer

Brian Alston-Carter

Kenyon Farrow

Isaiah Wilson

Ricardo D. Wynn

Mathew Rodriguez

Stephaun E. Wallace

Tyrone Hanley

Alvin Agarrat

Bryan C. Jones

Michael Blair Franklin Jr.

Dr. Jeffrey McCune

Kevin Q. Ewing

Terence Pleasant McCune

Matthew Rose

Marco M. Brown

Devin Barrington-Ward

Aunsha Hall-Everett

Darwin Thompson

Cornelius Mabin

Michael Tikili

Michael Everett

Preston Mitchum

Derrick Merkerson

Anthony Thompson

andré m. carrington, Ph.D.

Brandon Dykes

Derrick D. Matthews

Gavin Morrow-Hall

Anthony Antoine McWilliams

Tabias Wilson

S. Wakefield

E.Taylor Doctor

James Lester

Keith R. Green

David Malebranche

Raymond Thomas

Kali Lindsey

Ronald G. Murray,MPA, LSW

Leo Moore

Robert W. Williams, III

Cornelius A. Wilson

Kenneth LeBlue

Adrian Ogle

Rev. Bertram Johnosn

Kenneth Pass

Darius Bost

Kenneth Moore

Charles Stephens

Amir Dixon

Justin Smith

eric o. reece

Anthony Galloway

Eddie Wiley

Darron Marble

Corey Yarbrough

Cornelius A. Wilson

Michael C. Webb, Jr.

Craig Washington

For more info, contact:


Friday, May 1, 2015

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

Over the last year, I have been in many settings that range from protests to politics. Some may ask why I would say intersectionality, well here is the thing, as a Black Queer Man I am in several zones of peril at the same time. Let me be clear, it is important for me to highlight both of those intersections… When I wake up and prepare myself for the day, I have to reconcile that I may not ever return home the way I left it. This is including, but not limited to death… Each day is a learning experience. When I walk out of my door and lock it, the first thing a neighbor is going to see is my skin tone, my color and when examined thoroughly, the sight of me, my skin tone evokes thoughts good and bad.

We are socially conditioned to see people only through the scope of racial identity and before we even get to know the person ethnically and morally. This conditioning is highly rooted in systemic and structural racism and has been passed down to ALL of us through various means of socialization. There are those of you who may disagree, but ask yourselves, when was the last time  you locked your car door at a traffic light when a White man may have been walking past, now ask yourself the same question but make that man Black. Why don’t you go to certain neighborhoods that happen to be identified as Black? Why are there food deserts in Black neighborhoods? Why are school closings only occurring in high poverty, low income Black areas?

Why are our property values exponentially lower than in neighborhoods that are predominantly White? I don’t see too many of you applying the underlying structural and systemic racism that is at play when you ask these types of questions, IF you ask these types of questions. On race alone I have so much stacked against me as a Black man, and I find myself witnessing and experiencing myself being the subject or person in the questions I just posed earlier. I use public transit and that means that I have to cross the street quite often, and from my experience I have seen people reach to lock doors, reach possibly for weapons, and etc.

Systemically and structurally, we ourselves are taught like the rest of American society to see Black skin as criminal, aggressive, uneducated, animalistic and savage. Because we have adopted this learned behavior, we subject ourselves to respectability politics in order to appear acceptable to our own skin cousins and to be non-threatening to Whites and others who do not look like us. So we are obliged to dress a certain way, it is inferred that we talk a certain way, walk a certain way and act accordingly to “the script.” We have to delicately balance how we play “the game” in order to not be attacked from all sides; that fine line of coming off as trying to be White and coming off as too ethnic. We get labeled as angry, bitter & out of control because we get stressed out from the politics of it all.

As a Black man I see the images that illustrate that there are two ways to live get educated or live a street life. We get beat down by those who look like us when we show signs of intelligence and are belittled for being educated. Then in many cases, we are seen as threatening by our White counterparts who in many cases have what they got from nepotism and favoritism. Now think on this for a second, I have not even gone into the depths of talking about my being Gay or Queer. We are taught that in order to be a strong Black man, we must be providers who are masculine, tough, lack emotional depth, produce children, believe in God, and find a wife in order to succeed.
I believe in taking on that personification that we buy into misogyny, patriarchy, machismo, homophobia, effemiphobia and hyper - masculinity.  We are forced fed to believe in God even if some of us know in our hearts that Christianity is not what we truly believe in. As Black men, regardless of sexual orientation we are forced to live in some type of closet where we have to hide mental illnesses, health issues, atheism and then we have to wear a smile and be conscious of our society that is steeped in White supremacy in order to not get killed by that crooked cop for coming off as too strong, too educated and dare I say it? Wealthy.

A lot of us come from those neighborhoods I asked about earlier where it is rumored to be dangerous and violent. I don’t know about you, but it seems that education, when the conditions are right can bring about wealth. We got educated in those neighborhoods and grew into productive citizens in those neighborhoods and now that some of us have gotten our piece of the pie, we now look to avoid THAT neighborhood. In New Orleans we had a phrase for the White people fleeing integration which was and is called “White Flight.” When they left property values dipped, schools that were considered top performers went to hell, all because they didn’t want to be around US. Now we have taken on the same mentality, instead of investing in development, increasing home ownership and bringing businesses like grocery stores into our neighborhoods, WE MOVE.

Then we get pissed when we hear about our “historic landmarks” and our familiar haunts being torn down or transformed into some gentrified paradise for folks who want to move back into the city and not necessarily experience the true ethnic diversity that once thrived before that Starbucks popped up. When we move, we in a sense allow those who could not afford in any way shape or form to leave with us to be priced out of their own homes by increasing rents and even higher property taxes. I am not trying to guilt trip anyone for making decisions that have contributed to the betterment of themselves. However, what I venture to say is that it would be nice if we looked back and gave back instead of down our noses and being selfish.

Honestly, the factors that I have just pointed out are a primer for the real discussion about being a “Black Queer Man.” Take all of those factors and apply which ever resonates to you individually now add to it being out and Gay. We still have to deal with those stigmas that our heterosexual counterparts have to deal with and then some. We are attacked by those who look like us for not cosigning what I described earlier as what it means to be a strong Black man, we are told that because of who we are that we do not exist. IN FACT, we do have the same issues and then we are treated as if we are no longer Black and are still niggers in the eyes of society on a systemic and structural level. Now, let me take that down to a micro level and deal with all that I previously mentioned and combine it with the issues that we experience as Queer Black Men of color. First, we still have to deal with racism from a group that we are supposedly part of and are “welcome” to, which is the mainstream LGBT community. In many ways we are shut out by mainstream White gays unless we bring something to the table that they just cannot function without, DIVERSITY.

We are only needed when it’s beneficial and then we have to live in our poverty that people think we don’t experience. We work in jobs that not only attack our race systemically and structurally, now we have the vector of homophobia in the work place to deal with. In fact, the structural and systematic homophobia that plague the LGBT community at large is much worse on people of color due to the same racial barriers to access as our heterosexual counterparts. We work in low paying jobs that range from fast food to hospitality and then we have to deal with being looked down upon by the ones that look like us and are gay like us who are making some good pay and etc. There is an overriding theme that we are being attacked from all sides, do you see it?

We are shut out when we are at critical points in our lives by all sides and experience barriers that are unheard of. When we express these issues, our truths are denied and we hide behind curtains that protect us from a great deal of the ridicule that we already experience. Could you imagine what it is like to be a Black Queer Atheist? I the eyes of some, Atheism is seen as worse than even being Queer! Now, if you walk that path like I do, then you know that you are now subject to attack from another front and from all sides, LITERALLY.  Now pick any of the so called descriptors and reconcile them with the current situation in the United States where we are finally seeing Black lives, not just men being taken by abusive police, hate crimes, disease, mental illness and suicide.

We are dying from various reasons that range from health to hate, and we are not getting the attention at we need, nor do we give said attention to ourselves. Just look at how we are being treated like cattle when it comes to HIV prevention and treatment. They don’t think we can comprehend HIV 101, so they think they are doing a good job by teaching us how to use a condom and are now pushing prep down our throats and hoping for the best. They probably think that more of us are HIV positive and are in seroconversion than previously known and they are trying to get us on meds ahead of time and watch the grant funding roll in from pharmaceutical companies and the HIV industrial complex.

To be continued…