To Bayard Rustin, fighting for his equality as a black man, while leaving his identity as a gay man unspoken, would have been an unthinkable betrayal. This Black History Month, we should not forget trailblazers like Rustin.
The psychic distance between tolerance and acceptance is congruent to the emotional difference between a bleak handshake and a brotherly hug... Tolerance is not enough, and there is no room for neutrality.
Maybe by seeing a gay black man in a relationship, other gay black men will see long-term relationships as something they can do, too, and perhaps, just perhaps, this can be the catalyst for driving down HIV rates among gay black men.
Though media coverage of LGBT issues has drastically improved overall in the past few decades, the media's focus on how these issues specifically affect LGBT people of color is still almost as nonexistent as it was 20 or 30 years ago.
A string of TV series that portray well-rounded LGBT characters has helped challenge stereotypes and set the table for acceptance. Unfortunately, there have not been many TV series that portray LGBT African Americans.
One of my findings is that working-class black lesbians live in black communities, not "gay ghettos," and that social location shapes their identities, family formation, and other understandings in ways that differ from some white LGBT people.
Yes, the Down Low may have been a media catchphrase, but it compelled one black gay man (me) to turn that negative into a positive spotlight on same-gender-loving black people who openly live far away from the shadows of their communities.