Sunday, May 28, 2017

Racism in the LGBTQ community: the boundary between organizational and personal is vague


Leadership of Capital Pride has been addressing the concerns of minority groups, especially “No Justice No Pride” (May 8), and Lou Chibarro, Jr. has a detailed and balanced article on their concerns in the Washington Blade for Memorial Day weekend, “Confronting racism in the LGBT community”, here.

The most remarkable sentence includes the language “…unless you are intentional in addressing the people of color and other minority groups, you are likely catering to the same white, cisgender, middle and upper class gay men…”   I encountered this sentiment when I moved into New York City in 1974, at the GAA Firehouse on Wooster Street in those days, and later at the Ninth Street Center, a little less so at Identity House.  This idea can operate at both levels, the organizational, and (as I recall from a broader youth sermon at an Arlington church from someone very cis) the “very personal”.

I think that organizations as a whole are quite responsive to various groups in the community.  This goes for HRC, but especially the DC Center, which has many specific social outreach programs (for example, to trans and the elderly).  But, as Nancy Pelosi once said, “Democrats are capitalists”.  Democratic capitalism has been our best system, but for some people, it comes out as elitist. We need corporations (even Trump’s own if he wants to come) in Pride.

It is certainly true, though, that as Washington DC (now the troubled NE part especially, as the area around the Eagle) gets gentrified, the poor people get driven out.

It's at a personal level that it gets challenging. As a gay male, my own tastes as to what is “interesting” are very narrow, and based on notions inherited from a segregated past.  Does this matter in the bigger stage?

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