Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer: The Big Ole Fag

It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting gay man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

Entry #3: The Big Ole Fag

Today I walked to the dollar store to get some food to eat for the next couple of days and I heard the most crazy ass comment. A couple of people recognized me from my LGBT work and more recently as an organizer with Black Lives Matter: Houston. I bring those points up because as soon as I turned the corner a voice in the distance is saying, "Look at that big ole fag walking up the street." She is cut off by the guy standing near her as he goes "Yeah, he with BLM. He cool." I am processing this as I walk by, thinking I'm good enough to fight for Blackness, but not enough to fully exist. Then I flashed back to a well intentioned event this past weekend in Austin.

A really good friend of mine put an event together for his organization centering Black men that for the most part went well. There were breakout sessions at certain points during the events, one of those sessions was led by yours truly. The moment that the announcement for my breakout session rolled off of his tongue the microaggressions started. "Ashton is a good friend who came in from Houston to talk to host a session called Blackness Is Not A Monolith: The Intersectionality of being Black & LGBT." He gave everyone directions on where to go and what to do as I sat in the space designated for my session. By my count, FOUR out of almost TWENTY - FIVE men and one woman came to the session as I watched the disdainful facial expressions of the men quickly avoiding my gaze to go to the other session. I thought that I wasn't bothered by it, but today made me realize that I was and am bothered by it. Actually, it hurts deeply to the point of white hot anger. Interestingly enough I sat in a later session on mental health and expressed that I typically don't feel safe around straight Black men and that I tend to feel safer around Black women.

I kept my stride into the dollar store and commenced to shopping, as I entertained the thoughts about how people pull their children closer or watch the movements of my eyes when I am in the presence of young guys. I flashed back to being 16 when I was accused of doing something I would never, EVER do. I stayed with a friend of my mother's who happened to be a really cool stud, her girlfriend had a little boy and one day he used the bathroom, I am guessing he was constipated. Who knows, but I wake up to three people standing in front of me accusing me of making him bleed in an attempt to penetrate him. I NEVER touched that child, I had actually just been raped the week before and didn't tell anyone. Eventually they figured out that I did nothing wrong and they never offered an apology. In my trauma and still in physical pain myself, I left and went back on the street. I grabbed a couple bag of chips as I fought back a tear or two.

I then continued to carry on with my shopping while processing the look the face of one of the overtly observant men as two teen boys stood near me in closing to the event in Austin. As if I can turn someone gay by just breathing or speaking. That man was genuinely uncomfortable around me and it was clear that if he had the chance to, he might try to harm me physically. I can fight, I'm strong and I can defend myself, but the idea of hate this strong towards me even though I looked like him. Black. Accusations and implied looks from folks come on a regular basis, specifically from BLACK men and SOME women. I checked out with the salty ass cashier and quickly grabbed my things as I could. How can I care so much about a community that has elements so hateful, I asked myself as I walked out of the store. Of all of the risks that range from police violence to death threats from white supremacists, I feel most threatened in my own queerness. It brings me to a place of pain that I have always felt in this life of mine. I am not a predator, I don't have a gay agenda and I just want to live my life.

I am a MAN. I am a BLACK man. I am a Black QUEER man. I AM A BLACK QUEER MAN!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Two Weeks’ Notice

Two Weeks’ Notice

By WeirdG thaArtist (Graham Maio)

I’m putting in my two weeks’ notice from the LGBT community

Because when I was seeking my identity as a young boy and I typed in “What does it mean to be Black and Gay in Google, it came back and said “Did you mean: what does it mean to be Gay?”


The glossy pages of your gay magazines feature young white men with six packs and muscle.  That’s not me.

While you celebrate marriage equality and get the full benefits and healthcare package of white privilege I’m walking out of the courthouse with my new husband when we’re both shot down in the street by a cop.

And you will probably say, “Those THUGS deserved to die!”

You call me your gay brother yet when I walk towards you on the street you release your partner’s hand in fear.

Why?  Because according to you Black people are the most homophobic beings on this planet.  You say that with no proof of evidence.

Yet we do know that the party which writes all the anti-LGBT bills is made up of members who share your skin tone and not mine.

I have one week remaining...

And on the rare occasion that I’m accepted into your exclusive circles I’m expected to leave the Black part of me at the door so you can feel comfortable.

Yet when I try to connect to you as a fellow LGBT member you are condescending and dismissive.

I am tired of constantly having to prove myself more as a person rather than your chocolate fantasy.

That’s why I allow the air between us to grow stale...

One more day.

I am not attractive to you as your Grindr profile indicates when you say “No chicken.”

However, when you are looking for that Big Black Cock I’m “cute for a Black guy.”

You segregate me at the clubs with “Hip-hop Night” or “Urban night” and the bartenders lace my drinks with racial slurs.

So I’m signing off from the LGBT GLBT however the fuck you want to say it community...

I am not gay; I am Black and Queer!

And goddammit I am HERE!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Intersectionality & Problematic White Gaze

Today is the perfect example of what I have been saying about White Gaze and how people like to separate Blackness (to be bluntly specific) from being LGBT. Whether it is done maliciously or with good intention, it is offensive and proves that folks often do things from a place of privilege. Before I continue do you remember or know what White Gaze means? Here is a refresher:

"The white gaze is looking at the world through a white person’s eyes. In America it is everywhere. It is in history books, on billboards, on television, in films, in fashion magazines, on the Internet. It is the world as told by white people for white people...

Most White Americans do not see it that way: they are just presenting the world as it is, the way anyone would who was being fair, honest and open-minded. Any twist it might have is purely a personal one.

They fail to see how the colour of their skin colours their view of the world. That is for two reasons:

Many live in such a white world that their white gaze is rarely challenged and so they do not even notice that it is there. Only certain black voices make it through into that world, mostly those of Rented Negroes.

- Whites like to believe “I do not see race” and “we are all the same”. In a colour-blind world there is no white gaze. They believe, want to believe, in a colour-blind world, which means the white gaze should not be, therefore must not be."

Often times Whites in general and more specifically the LGBT community always commit the crime of exclusion to take the moral high ground. They say that "this isn't about race, it's about hate toward the LGBT community. Well to day this meme below was posted on twitter:

In response to a Trump sticker that was spotted on someone's vehicle, photographed, posted online and had gone viral:

Here is how I responded via two posts:

I meant what I said, "Regardless of how you take it, I'm not going to support this photo (left) as a response to anti LGBT, RACIST folks. It is an image of a CONFEDERATE FLAG and we all know what that flag means. I'm not going to hug a person who wants to commit genocide of my race and hates me for being LGBT at the same time. Its called intersectionality, it is always racial coupled with Homo/Bi/Transphobia. So When did we separate being queer from possibly being black or a person of color? NO MATTER HOW WELL INTENTIONED IT IS, IT ISN'T COOL." I was going to avoid blogging about this, but I am angry beyond repair, angry because racism exists. I am angry because people really believe they can make issues of anti LGBT sentiment non racial. Then when you try to explain it to them, they have some type of mental block that does not allow them to compute that what they have said or done is wrong. So you have to call them on their shit when they refuse to understand even after you graciously explained to them what hey did wrong.

No its not like that, they say...then we shake our heads in disbelief because they are so busy trying so it ain't about race because their main point is most important. My good friend Angry Black Hoemo put it best when he said:

"First, if your privileged ass wants to forgive unabashed homophobes, that’s your prerogative, but speak for your goddamn selves. Leave the pride flag and the rest of the LGBTQ community out of it. I don’t know how forgiveness works in your, little world, but generally, an extension of peace and forgiveness from the oppressed victim is preceded by a sincere show of remorse and desire to do better from the oppressor/aggressor…neither of which has remotely happened, here. Clearly, based on the existence of that original sticker, alone, LGBTQ-phobia is still alive and well and bigoted ass people have no plans or intentions to stop. How do you “forgive” discrimination that’s literally still ongoing, at full-speed..."


"Second, I fully understand the context of this meme being a direct response to the Trump 2016 sticker. But you can’t overlook the historical context, in that the figure you’re jumping to forgive (on my Black-ass behalf, at that) is, ultimately, a confederate sympathizer. Confederates…y’know, the people who literally went to war to try and ensure that people like me remained in chattel slavery? For whomever made this (and I’m making a pretty safe guess that it was one of the WhiteGayze™), who the fuck are you to speak for me and any other Black, gay person on whether or not we can forgive a self-identified confederate lover? Remember that this community doesn’t revolve around you and your white-ass experiences (as much as you’d like for that to be the case)..."

I hate use people to make a point or to make an example out of them. But the problematic conversation that I had with Cristan Williams (who made clear that she posted the problematic meme) brings my and many other folks' assertions to light:

*Note that I don't know Cristan Williams every well, and this is not a personal attack on her.

The message opens up with a screenshot of my tweet of disapproval.



More justification of the indefensible coupled with info I could care less about...

For context:

I politely ended the conversation because I quickly realized that she didn't get it. I dont get why one does not or would not understand the blowback they will receive from using the confederate flag in any image that is purported to show love to a hateful person. This was erasure, whether anyone wants to accept it or not, it is also turning a blind eye to racism.


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer: Zero Fucks Given

It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting gay man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

Entry #2: Zero Fucks Given

Photo Credit: Burnell McCray
My level of trust for people is at an all time low. People do and say things that make me wonder why I do some of the work that I do in the Black LGBT community. Messy, shady, and all of those evil things that folks can be, I have experienced and witnessed. If you think I'm too "out" or too "loud" or too anything then there is a space for you and your platform to do it your way. I get some of you don't respect that I did this without the cliche college degree, without buying into respectability politics, without being a church queen, and without kissing rings, sucking dicks or brown nosing asses for short term benefits to say that I accomplished something. I do this because I give a damn about my communities. I don't give a fuck about titles and status, I don't care to be one of the plastics. 

I can't pretend that I want to take part in many groups in the Black Gay community of Houston or anywhere else for that matter. Too much ring kissing and etc, I like not being obligated and bound by narcissistic and needy mentalities. I like this path I took without little boosts and pick me ups from "fathers and muthas." I did it honest, by just wanting to help and be a servant to my communities. It took longer and the support structure is non traditional, but I wouldn't change it for anything. Don't take it personal or as shade, I came out at 15 so I was exposed to the "frats" and "families" sooner than most and it gave me an edge on choice and individuality. I dodged some bullets to say the least. These bullets would have me in jail for writing checks and memorizing the credit card numbers of tipsy people from across the way at club 2020 and etc.

I didn't join the houses and the families because it seemed predatory, let me say there are some more than honorable families out there. But there are two sides to a coin and I do not trust men of any orientation to be honest, I don't trust fellow gay men. In the quest for individuality, folks saw me as this young teenger that they could shape into the things they wanted me to be. I had learned what it meant to be Transgender from my friend Amber, on the surface level and where I fit into the gender spectrum. I knew early on and fully understood that my gender identity is that of a man. He. Him. His. I say all that to say this, there are people out there who wanted to exploit my young body and tried to get me to transition and make me prostitute. I mean it came to a point where I was nearly forced to take hormones, until a friend walked in fussing for them to stop. While on the other end of the spectrum I got to meet folks to told me to just be me. This is why I am so supportive of the Transgender community, because transition should not be taken so lightly.

On one end of the spectrum I dressed in drag for fun at least five or six times and on the other it was peer pressure, you gotta make coins so do this drag show, to which I said no. There is totally nothing wrong with that in my opinion if you enter that realm without pressure and etc. It was cool but I preferred jeans and a tanktop with budding facial hair. Then there were the older men who wanted me to be like the other boys my age and be manipulated into sex + shelter for a colorful outfit from Banana Republic and some Kenneth Cole Boots. I had to find me, and in finding ME I learned to encourage folks to do whats right for them. Had I not been thrust into the world early on, experienced rape, attempted rape, physical altercations and etc, I would not be who you see today.  This is why when I witnessed up close and from distance the fuckery that is the non traditional "fraternity," I ran for the hills. I saw leadership by folks doing mediocre things and taking credit for work done by its members on a completely individual basis....

To Be Continued

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer: Will Cisgender, Heterosexual Black men and women stand with me and for me when I need them?

It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting gay man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

Entry #1: Will Cisgender, Heterosexual Black men and women stand with me and for me when I need them?

Lately I have been questioning how I feel about the question that lingers in the back of my mind, one that burns my mind with great interest. Will Cisgender, Heterosexual Black men and women stand with me and for me when I need them? For context, I mean will I get the same love and fight out of people if someone comes after me in any way for being gay while Black? To be honest, If I had to answer right at this very moment, the answer would be NO. It hurts when I think about it. When I see Black folks, I see folks that I want to protect and shield from a system of oppression, while feeling a shoe on my throat. Its their shoe that I feel! A lot of y'all tolerate me and then give me a pass for dressing like you think a man should dress. Y'all like my beard and tell me that I could still get it, could I be your baby daddy? But what if I wore tight jeans and spoke with a soft voice? It does not feel good when folks compare me to a tyrant like Suge Knight, another way to say that I am palatable to your possibly homophobic mind.

I know a lot of y'all don't hate me or anyone like me, but its hard for us to see this as factual. If y'all can talk about fucking, kissing, etc and then expect us to not do the same, what is fair about that? I went to the store today to get some punch and overheard a guy on the phone. Shit, couldn't help it because he was loud as fuck:

"If you gonna invite me over, just give me a heads up next time. I dont have a problem with being in the same room as a gay dude, but I need to prepare my head for that..." 
- Random Black guy

What the fuck would you have to prepare your mind for? Most of the time I and many others of my orientation have to prepare our minds to be around y'all. Why are we such a threat to your fucking manhood?! To make things worse, y'all think every gay Black man that looks your way wants your ass and dick, when in reality we dont want you and are probably grossed the fuck out. You make yourself look ugly. Black women can dance with me/us, cook with me/us, shop with me/us and talk about their male exploits without my/our judgement. Often we are not extended the same courtesy, let us want to do the same, we are interrupted and asked to see if we can tell if the dude she is fucking is secretly looking at other dudes. I am not your personal gaydar, I aint into fashion or sports and I DON'T want your man.

These are some of the reasons why I keep getting no for answer when I ask myself if Cisgender, Heterosexual Black men and women stand with me and for me when I need them. A great example is the silence from the "activists" in Houston when this happen Deric Muhammad wrote that piece in the forward times about "teenage lesbianism." When I responded to it, many folks came to HIS defense and not the Black women he denigrated with that piece. I was asked on several occasions to go easy on him and others who have gotten away with this homophobia and misogyny.

READ HERE: Deric Muhammad & Houston Forward Times You ARE Homophobic

Go easy?! For context, I still care for Deric and his work, I don't see him as an enemy. But this shows that even in our Blackness that we can be oppressed by folk's violence through words. Why are you silent when we get called fags, punks, sissies, dykes and etc? Why were you silent when your pastors came out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance because of LGBT protections without regard to the reality that Blackness and Queerness exist in the same space and time. Why is intersectionality suddenly so foreign when I bring up the fact that I am affectionate toward the same gender? Yet WE are the first to stand when you get shot down by that blue bullet, the first to organize and protest. I see how y'all privilege the straight men over me and people like me who do the work so that you can be comfortable. You think that I dont know that a lot of yall are walking around in Houston telling others who dare to work with me "I dont see how you can work with him, he on that gay shit." What the fuck is "gay shit?"

"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...There is an overriding theme that we are being attacked from all sides, do you see it?" APW

Last year I touched on all of this in my post, Black Lives Matter: Sandra Bland & The Irony of HomophobiaI said that "There are many times that I speak of homophobia in the Black community to the anger of many who look like me. The reason why, is because many don't want Blacks to get even more of a bad rap more than is already is thrown at us. They rebut with the response that White people are just as homophobic, but I KNOW THAT already. We should be able to talk about issues within our communities of orientation on a micro level if we are to demand respect from other communities. Many occurrences of anti-LGBT happen very close to home and from people who look like us, it is sad. It is saddening that I came across this video of Sandra Bland, using language and sharing feelings that I fight against on a regular basis..."

Ashton P. Woods