Why Is There No Black Gay Pride?

As I was sitting at home pondering the big Pride Celebration, someone brought it to my attention that Kansas City lacked something that distinguishes other large cities: There is no black or any other minority gay pride celebration. At first, this didn’t faze me. I mean, lets’ face it. We black folks don’t take gay pride as seriously as white folks. We have an identity to protect from our homophobic neighbors. We don’t want to be labeled fruitcakes and faggots. This is the Midwest; the Bible Belt of the nation. Besides, we tried it some years ago and it didn’t fly.
The excuses went on and on, and my friends seem to back me up on the whole issue. But something got the better of me. I began to wonder if my reasoning was correct. Maybe I was missing something; maybe I didn’t have the whole story. So I decided to do a little investigating on my own. I went on the Internet and typed in Black Gay Pride Celebrations in the US.
BAM!!! Sites popped up. Cities like Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, even Charlotte are hosting Black gay pride celebrations; and they’ve been doing so for years. At these celebrations, they sponsor events that are relevant to the average black person struggling with his or her identity. There are workshops, expos, and worship services. There are also elaborate celebrations and rock til you drop parties.
So what happened to us, KC? How did we miss the boat? Well, I did a little more digging and I found that these cities had a few things that KC lacks. One is unity within the black gay community. Black gays in this city have a very fragmented community. We divide ourselves according to “gender” as well as the stateline the separates Kansas and Missouri. Kansas doesn’t like Missouri and vice versa. Masculine gays look down at the more feminine gays and vice versa. And black gay men and women seem to tolerate each other at best.
Another obstacle is what I call “the Identity Crisis Syndrome.” This is more prevalent in gay black men. You know the deal: Everything is fine when you’re getting with that special piece that you’ve been chasing for some time. It’s even cool to go out to a bar once in a while. But the moment someone tries to connect you with anything gay, you’re ready to deny it and go out and beat up the first queen you see. Don’t say it hasn’t happened. I did it too—but that was in the Sixties and I was still trying to find the comfort zone for my sexuality.
But the biggest problem is SELF. This one is comprised of three elements: esteem, pride, and confidence. Because of our backgrounds, most of us have become needy. We need to be accepted by our peers regardless of the sacrifice we must endure. We need to impress others, not ourselves. As a whole, black people are homophobic. We frown on anyone whose lifestyle is different from our own. We degrade and persecute others to make ourselves feel more secure; to boaster our self-esteem. We fail to take pride in our uniqueness. This is our biggest downfall.
So what can we do? How can we get on an even keel?
We need dialogue. We need to start talking about the issues that affect us as a community. We need to have some type of forum or platform to work from. We need to be more organized. We need to listen to ourselves. Has it ever occurred to you that most of the major headliners for the Pride celebrations are black entertainers? EnVogue, RuPaul; they’re black. Yet we’re too cautious to come out and support them. Are you afraid that someone will see you? Well, I got news for you. If they’re there, then you need to question their actions, not yours.
But let’s get back to the question at hand. Why don’t we have a Black Gay Pride Celebration? Do you think Kansas City is ready? Write me and tell me your views at ray_jemison@hotmail.com.

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