Friday, July 18, 2014

Houston LGBT Community Needs To Be BETTER Black Community Allies

Photo: Kim was the promoted to Assistant Director last night for the telecast.  Here is her POV.''Failure to engage my community means failure to win at the ballot box.' 
-TransGriot., March 23, 2009  Black People More Homophobic, You're Kidding, Right?

As many of you are aware, I spent an hour on Houston Media Source TV last night discussing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance with show hosts Fran Watson and Durrell Douglas .

At least the first 30 minutes with Christina Gorczynski, Daniel Williams, and Noel Freeman were enjoyable.   The next thirty was a battle with King Hater Dave Welch and HERO opponent Kathy Blueford-Daniels, who shares my ethnic heritage.   

When it was over, he ran like Usain Bolt out of that studio because after the tag team demolition of him by me and Christina and the daggers I stared into him, he didn't want to hang around to see what was coming next from me.  I probably made it clear from the side eye I gave him off air that I have zero respect for him because he is a human rights oppressor.        

But Kathy and Christina struck up a conversation which I joined because she and the other woman there with her wanted to know more about the trans community.    

After I gave her some Trans 101, the four of us as women of color moved on to some other issues of discussion.   Kathy didn't like my calling the anti-HERO folks haters, and  my response to that was if you are in a coalition with people who want to roll back my human rights, you're a hater.   If you lie down with right wing dogs, don't get mad when their fleas bite you and I call you on it.

Kathy explained the reason she is part of the anti-HERO coalition is because she is part of the section of the African-American community that gets bent out of shape with any mention by white LGBT peeps that LGBT rights are a civil rights issue.  In her mind and the minds of a segment of our community, when you say that, you are conflating the African-American civil rights movement with the LGBT one.  

No matter how many historical examples I gave her that Black LGBT peeps like Lorraine Hansberry, Bayard Rustin, and James Baldwin were indeed part of the Civil Rights movement and as fellow African Americans I and other Black LGBT people can make that claim because it is part of our shared heritage, she wouldn't budge from that ossified in her mind perception.   

And she was very pissed off when Mayor Parker stated the HERO was a civil rights ordinance.  It most certainly is.  But in her mind and the mind of like minded African-American Houstonians they had a major problem with her saying it.

Kathy is active in many issues in the Houston African-American community and is a super neighborhood leader.  One thing she asked me was where was the Houston LGBT community when it came to fighting for issues besides marriage and their own human rights ones?

Hey, she's not the only person who has asked me that question.  So have other leaders in the African-American community.   I've asked the same question myself about the.repeated failures in the TBLG ranks to spell the word intersectionality..

She remembered me after I told her I have been involved in fighting against the closure of Black schools in HISD for two years now.  I spoke to the HISD school board in 2013 and back in March about those issues in addition to speaking in favor of the TBLG friendly HISD non discrimination policy.    I was also front and center last July speaking at a Trayvon Martin protest rally at City Hall.  

That's what I have done, mainly because I have consistently preached that Black trans issues are Black community issues and vice versa.  Dee Dee Watters' has an annual toy drive she holds every Christmas as her way of giving back to the Houston Black community.  Other Black LGBT people do their part to give back to our community in myriad ways.   . 

But Kathy's question is a valid one.  When has the Houston TBLG community stood up and played a visible, vocal or fiscally supportive role when it comes to the issue concerns of other ethnic groups here in Houston?    Where is the Houston LGBT community when it comes to other issue concerns besides marriage and other LGBT oriented ones? 

African-American Houstonians ask where was the Houston GLBT Caucus voice when we were complaining about and fighting those HISD school closures?  The Houston Latin@ and Asian communities ask where are you when it comes to immigration issues that don't involve bi-national same sex married couples or other issues specific to their community? 

And all of us non white H-town peeps ask, where were you LGBT community when our voting rights were being attacked by the Texas GOP?

As Kathy stated to me, if that intersectional cooperation had been happening in H-town prior to May 28, we would have had additional support from the Black community for HERO, and Dave Welch and his hater collective's attempts to collect signatures would have been a non-starter.

But these HERO opponents see a predominately monoracial Houston GLBT community leadership.  They don't see people who look like them highlighted as leaders in it and one glaring example of that is Houston Pride.   There has to my knowledge NEVER been in the history of the Houston pride parade an African-American male or female grand marshal.  Don't think that hasn't been noticed by our straight and SGL African-American brothers and sisters.

There also the myth that wealthy white gays are trying to 'piggyback on OUR civil rights movement' that Welch, Miller and their cadre of his hate ministers are gleefully exploiting.   The perception the Houston LGBT community is selfish and pushed this ordinance when we have pressing needs of fixing potholes and streets is another factor fueling elements of the anti-HERO opposition. 

And yeah, let's be real, a major chunk of this is homophobia and transphobia.  

Many of these POC peeps are quite aware that Dave Welch and his pastors are Teapublican  homophobes and are being played as 'useful fools', but don't care as long as they can stick it to the LGBT community.

Even if it takes down a HERO ordinance that benefits them.

So what can we do to change this perception?

Short term, use the term 'human rights' or 'international human rights' Councilmember C.O Bradford did to describe the HERO and make it clear this ordinance protects 13 other characteristics besides sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Other things on the to-do list will have to be long term ones like highlighting and elevating BTLG leaders of color in our Houston LGBT leadership ranks.  Being a supportive ally and showing up when there are issue concerns for other Houston ethnic and constituent groups.  

But what needs to happen starting today is the Houston LGBT community needs to get busy doing a better job of working intersectionally with all communities, especially the African-American one.   

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