Wednesday, November 20, 2019

As a Black Gay Man, this is what I think of Mayor Pete

I like Mayor Pete.  He speaks well.  He carries himself with the air of an educated man who has served his country with pride.  He served with the blissful ignorance of not knowing that the very country he served could have cared less about his dreams and struggles as a gay man.  I don’t know Mayor Pete personally, but I know enough of him to be proud that if elected to be President of the United States, he will be the first person of the LGBTQ community to do so.

It is this community that binds us.  We are wrapped in the same pain that every man who belongs to this community shares.  At one time or another, we shared the same triumphs and pitfalls that every man and woman who holds his or her head up and announces to the world who they are without wincing in shame.

Mayor Pete was well into his thirties by the time he realized who he was.  I don’t know what his journey to his true self entailed.  I don’t know how many tears he shed at night before coming to terms with the fact that he identifies as a homosexual.

I shed those same tears.

We are cut from the same cloth.  But while I acknowledge willfully that I am looking forward to seeing how his potential candidacy will play out, I wonder what his nomination will mean for me personally

I came out of the closet in 1979; the year that I graduated from high school.  I was in awe of a world that I had hoped would embrace me.  My world became a whirlwind of disco music, socializing and late nights at the local diner. It also included writing for Philadelphia’s local gay publication, “Philadelphia Gay News.”
 I found out very quickly that I was not welcome in all circles of the gay community.  I found out that the same group of people that welcomed me also rejected me.  I found out that some aspects of the gay community shunned Black and Latino gays by implementing questionable carding practices to keep their patronage white.  I found out that youth was not always the sign of beauty; unless that youth was white.  I became acutely aware that racism had nestled itself quietly within a community that I thought I belonged to.  Ads that ran in local gay publications for men seeking potential partners were often followed by the descriptive, “No Fats, no Blacks, no Fems.”

And yet, this is where Mayor Pete and I come from.  So, I wonder if he is capable of seeing me; a part of his community that needs to be represented just as much if not more than the white gay community.  I am curious if he can represent me as my voice (and people like me) will be raised in the hopes of his becoming our nominee for the presidency.

"We are cut from the same cloth.  But while I acknowledge willfully that I am looking forward to seeing how his potential candidacy will play out, I wonder what his nomination will mean for me personally." ~ J.L. Whitehead

And while I raise my voice for him, I silently wonder if he can represent a portion of my community that has always been pushed aside.  My mind wanders to the plight of trans women of color.  I can’t help but wonder if he can truly see the “us” that makes up the gay community of color.

I didn’t know that racism existed in the gay community.  I found out very quickly that it did.  It wasn’t just because of the carding practices at some of the white clubs.  It wasn’t that at one time, the newspapers that circulated in the gay community relegated the issues and concerns of the gay community of color to a side note; a blurb buried in the middle of its publication never to be seen or addressed at all.

We are tolerated.  But we have not been fully embraced.  I don’t know what Mayor Pete’s stance is on issues that pertain to communities of color.  I don’t know if he will properly represent me as well as people that look like me.  I’m not sure of this at all.  I also don’t know if Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will represent me either.  After all, the African American community has grown accustomed to our issues as well as what matters to us being pushed aside.  We are used to our needs and wants being dismissed as casually as someone would swat away bothersome fly on a hot summer day.

Will he gain the support of the African American community?  Will he talk to us and address our needs and wants?  Or would his support of the very community that he comes from condemn his elect-ability? 

I’m not sure.  Only time will tell.

~ J.L. Whitehead

Friday, September 27, 2019

Trumps Last Article

I made the cognizant decision to stop writing about Trump.  Over time, I realized that I was perpetuating perhaps even feeding into the ego of a man who does not have a viable moral compass, questionable ethics and at the very least, has no value for all of the citizens of this country.

I don’t have to tell you who this man is because you already know.  For some of you, he is a savior…the great white hope if you pardon the metaphor.  For others, he is a bigot…someone who seems to enjoy inflicting pain on people of color and whose policies reflect who he is and what he believes.
We know that 33% of white America side with, support and place extreme value on Trump.  They take pride in calling him “my” president all the while knowing that his governance does not blanket all the citizens of this country.

This presidency has exhausted me.  The weariness comes not just because of the multitude of scandals that has plagued the White house since his inauguration.  I’m weary of the back and forth between the Democratic and Republican parties.  I’m tired of the scandals that seem to pop up at the end of every news cycle.  But I am mostly tired of this administration’s attempt to convince the American people that what they are doing will ultimately benefit them; that they are doing what they are doing because they are patriots and will lift up the middle class when what we are seeing proves otherwise. Enough is enough.  We have never had a president that has been as enshrouded in chaos as the one that we have in the oval office currently. 

I don’t know what the future holds for us as a people.  I would like to think that we will survive this and come out better now that we know that 33% of this country believes in the ideology of “America First.”

But it’s not the idea that America should be first in every single aspect of governance that concerns me.  It is that the ideology is shaping out to be America alone.  We elected someone that would go to the White house and “shake” things up.  We should have known that someone with no experience in being the president of the most powerful country in the world shouldn’t be allowed to learn how to govern on the job.

But we’re here now and short of voting him out of office and not allowing him to have a second term, there is nothing that we can do about it.

We will get through this.  We will survive this.  But what do we do with the hatred that has bubbled to the surface of our nation?  What do we do with the major problem of “white supremacy?”  How do we fix that problem because it’s here, live and in living color?  That has been the question that has resonated in my mind for the last year or so.  What do we do when Trump is out of office because like it or not, eventually that day will come, whether by impeachment, the end of his term or being voted out.

So what will we do?

~ J.L. Whitehead

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

What to do when this administration hurts your psyche

I normally don't write about mental health issues in this blog.  I always try to reference topics that address issues of mental health that deal with the aftermath of abuse and normally this appears in another blog.  
This administration is implementing policies that is causing many of us to feel a sense of helplessness.  We have window seats to attacks to our constitution and the media.  We are watching someone instituting policies that have either been poorly thought out if any thought has been given to them at all.

I realize that there has been a daily assault on the psyche of America.  The assault can either be construed as positive or negative.  This post is for those of us who have been feeling the not so great effects of this presidency.

For those of us that have been feeling depressed, anxious or downright upset with what is going on in our country…first and foremost, understand that you are not alone.

Many of us are feel the effects of a presidency gone awry.  We feel this sense of unease with a man who sides with dictators, locks people of color in cages and implement policies that will separate the classes so that that there will only be people that are poor and people that are rich.

You are not alone.

Understand that what you are feeling is completely normal.  You are responding to a narcissistic person who must be in the news cycle two-four-seven.

We have never had a president who interjects himself into the lives of the American people daily.  And for those of us that feel down, anxious and depressed, please understand that you are not alone and what you feel is not out of the ordinary.

You want to do something, but you don’t know what to do.  Obviously, you want to get out and vote and hope that it means something but it’s hard when you know that the president of the United States is inviting a foreign adversary to meddle in our elections and he has a base that will come out to keep this administration in place.

We know that the independents, progressives and democrats need to come out to support the candidate that wins the nomination for the democratic party.  But what do you do in the interim?
For those of us that are feeling this overwhelming sense of helplessness, you need to get involved.
This simple act will help you feel as if you are doing something to combat what the president is doing.  If you go to church, find out what your church is doing to help the people that are in cages.  Below are a listing of websites that may be of assistance to you.

Just a note: These are resources that I have come across that may prove helpful to you. Please understand, I am NOT recommending or endorsing any of them. It is up to you to determine if they offer something you need and whether it is appropriate for your situation.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

NAMI State List:

  • Panic Disorder Information Hotline -- 1-800-64-PANIC
I sincerely hope that you found this entry informative and of assistance to you.

~ J.L. Whitehead


The Legacy Diner

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