As a gay man, I have experienced a great deal of difficulties assimilating and finding my way in this supposed land of the free. Black gay males often find themselves struggling to cope with multiple oppressions. Racism, homophobia, and sexism has prevented us from actualizing many dreams and aspirations and in an incongruous kind of the way we have taught ourselves to overcompensate as a coping mechanism for rejection and hate.
Many black gay men struggle internally with self-acceptance because most of us grew up in a culture where autonomy and diversity weren't conventional, and we were taught to believe that our "gayness" would somehow further demoralize the already deleterious image of black men. Even worse, was the rejection felt from our family members and peers and the contrived lessons taught by our spiritual institutions that because of our sexuality we was doomed to hell and that God did not love us; which fed into our already low self-esteem and further exacerbated our self-hate and shame.
Unfortunately, my experiences being black and gay has not lived up to the grandiose, hypersexual footage of care-free living and expression as personified on television. Actually, as a gay professional black male I have experienced the exact opposite. Instead of being accepted, I've been denied; instead of being trusted, I've been distrusted. Instead of being taken by my race, I have met discrimination and bias, which has made me acutely aware of the paradoxical conflict currently going on in America.
Contrary to major belief, being gay in America isn't about color, status, or financial prowess. Being gay is about being emotionally and psychologically free to express oneself without fear of being ostracized, boxed in or unloved because of one's sexual identity. A person that identifies as gay does not walk around purporting their sexuality; being gay is an identity and identity is defined as: distinguishing character or personality of an individual.
Identifying as gay resonates with being comfortable in one's skin, knowing that we can be anything that we want to be and that the only thing that stops us from obtaining the American dream is our fears and inhibitions. As a group of informed people, we have to stop judging our brothers and sisters by the orientation of their sex and learn to fortify each other by the content of their character.
We often glorify our dislike of each other by unnecessarily discriminating against each other and harboring hidden contempt. This has to stop. As sojourners for the oppressed, it is time for us to think differently so that we can have something different as a nation, and people. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of who they are, whom they love, and who loves them. I am reminded of a black man first that we want to be respected and afforded the same constitutional rights as all other American's.
Discrimination is discrimination even when used under the guise of religion. Discrimination is designed to subjugate a group of persons. Just as we don't want to be victimized for the color of our skin and want to be treated with dignity and respect; we must learn to do the same for our brothers and sisters that identify as gay. Biblically there was one group of people that consistently angered God, and that was the religious self-righteous. The religious self-righteous were prideful and arrogant and acted as if their superiority positioned them for more moral greatness than others. However, these religious elites irritated and saddened God because He saw this group of people as arrogant, unloving, hypocritical, and judgmental. For the past year, we have publicly decreed that "black lives matter" and we have marched diligently to that end. Although, I know that many of my black brothers and sister's will not take the time to read this post, however, I truly hope that one day we all realize that GAY LIVES MATTER too.
For more than six years Psychotherapist and Life Coach, Dr. Warrick T. Stewart (affectionately known as Dr. Warrick) has been an integral and innovative addition to the counseling, and mental health field. Dr. Warrick is a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor in both North Carolina and Georgia. He is also a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Diplomate of American Psychotherapy Association.