I am BLACK & GAY... They are NOT mutually exclusive!
Welcome to my world... A few years ago, I had this idea to start a blog/website, but never found the courage to create until about a month ago. I thought it would be a joyous moment and though it still can be, it has a different meaning now.
Over the past month, I have watched videos of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, listened to the news about Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade. In the midst of feeling grief, anger, and hopelessness for myself as a Black woman, and the suffering of the entire Black community, protests began. Then somehow, the calendar turned and we found ourselves in June. Many of my close friends and family will tell you that June is a month I normally celebrate my heart out. I get to be unapologetically gay, just as gay as I want to be. However, this year things are so different...
As a young Black woman, I knew early on I was different. What did this different look like? As a second grader, I couldn't put my finger on it, didn't have a name for it. Yes, you read that right. Second grade, I thought my teacher was beautiful. Did I want to be like her? Nope, just hadn't found a name for it. Then I grew a little bit older and learned the terms gay and lesbian, I finally had a name for it.
Being Black in America is HARD.
Being LGBTQ+ in America is HARD.
Being a woman in America is HARD.
Well, I hit the jackpot! Holding all three of these identities makes me feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have to stand up for all three communities, sometimes individually and other times all at once. I used to make the joke that people would hire me because I cover SO MANY of the checkboxes that people look for when hiring for diversity. Though it is NOT a joke and realizing that many of my peers are hired because of their visible and invisible identities, I have turned it into POWER.
I know that I have the power to change the perceptions many people have about women, Black and LGBTQ people. I know that I am exactly who people need to hire, whether it's to solely work in your organization or to be the consultant that will change the environment for the people that work within it. I am often asked why do I chose to be openly gay in my life and my workplace, isn't being a Black woman enough to battle? What people don't get is, I can't be just a Black woman because I am also a Lesbian. My identities are NOT mutually exclusive. They make me who I am and I am not going to hide that for anyone. I work with young people everyday and they need to know that they can be UNAPOLOGETICALLY who they need to be in whatever space they find themselves.
So when I look back at June 2020, it will forever be etched in history. A time when I had to grieve as a member of the Black community, as a Black woman, and as a Black LGBTQ woman. A time where I watched our community say enough is enough. A time when my Black LGBTQ brothers and sisters said "Do you SEE us?" "Are you protesting for US?" "Demanding justice for our lives?" When you protest and you say Black Lives Matter, I hope that you include LGBTQ Black lives, as well.
Welcome to my world! Peace