The Gatekeeper's Collective (TGC)

IGNITING THE POWER OF BLACK SAME GENDER LOVE

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Screening of Taboo…Yardies, the documentary by filmmaker Selena Blake that documents the island of Jamaica as a hotbed of homo-intolerance and violence.

The controversial documentary is a searing, at turns poignant depiction of the myriad of perspectives surrounding the topic of intolerance and violence towards same gender loving (SGL), lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living in Jamaica.  The film has been screened internationally – most importantly, in Jamaica amid heated anti-homosexual protest, prompting media attention and open discussions on the Human Rights of the SGL/LGBT community in Jamaica 
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with film director, Selena Blake, creator of the 2005 award winning documentary “Queensbridge: The Other Side” (May/Nov Productions), moderated by John-Martin Green, CEO, The Gatekeepers Collective and Harlem Pride, Board of Directors 

Sponsored by:
Harlem Pride
The Gatekeepers Collective
and Global Network of Black Pride 

WHEN:
Saturday, March 8, 2014
2:00 pm

WHERE:
Countee Cullen Library
104 West 136th Street
(between Lenox Ave & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd)
Harlem, New York City

$10 Suggested Donation

Refreshments will be served

For more information on “Taboo…Yardies” visit
http://tabooyardies.com/about/

 Also find updates on Facebook by liking the fan page at https://www.facebook.com/TabooYardies



Topic For Friday, March 7th, 2014:
GATEKEEPER'S IN THE BIBLE: The Terror Texts or, 
Religious Privilege As A Tool of SGL Oppression

- Are homosexual acts serious sins, as suggested by Leviticus 20:13? Or minor sins, not being mentioned in the Ten Commandments or by Jesus? *

- Is the New Testament prohibition against homosexual acts an important spiritual law for all times? Or was it a warning against creating a scandal by violating the cultural norms of that time in history, (as in the case of slavery, the role of women, dress, etc.?) *

- Is the friendship between David and Jonathan in Samuel 18:3-4, Samuel 1:26 an example of a homosexual relationship? *

- If homosexual acts were viewed as a violation of the "holiness code" of Leviticus (which separated the Israelites from the conduct of the pagans) then, do consensual homosexual acts violate Bible teachings, or were the Bible passages intended to apply only to homosexual acts involving idolatry, rape, prostitution or pederasty? *

- And what, if anything, has all of this to do with 21st Century Black people?

If accurate interpretation of the Bible is to determine what message was originally intended and understood by people of that time, then specialized knowledge of the original Biblical languages, culture and issues of the time are necessary.*

Many SGL/LGBT Black women and men have been injured by misinterpretations of scripture.  

Join us with Divinity scholar, Michael Elam, MDiv. for:

GATEKEEPER'S IN THE BIBLE: The Terror Texts or, Religious Privilege As A Tool of SGL Oppression to reveal how homosexuality in scripture has been used to maintain religious privilege in the oppression of SGL/LGBT people, and begin a dialogue on reframing issues of sexuality and spirituality in the Black community.

Also joining us will be
Pastor Vanessa Brown of Rivers of Rehoboth Church.



THE GATEKEEPER’S COLLECTIVE
730 RIVERSIDE DRIVE, Ste. 9E (ent. On 150th St.) 


Brothers, please invite SGL Sisters for this caucus.

*Christian Bible Reference Site



Recommended Reading:
Their Own Receive them Not:
African American Lesbians & Gays in Black Churches
by Horace I. Griffin


BTW, you can find TGC caucus summaries, events info, and other information here at our website: gatekeepers-collective.com


An SGL Black Sheroes & Heroes Monthly Series
March's Focus:
Alain Leroy Locke (1885-1954)



Alain Leroy Locke
Educator / Writer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best known as: The African-American editor called "the father of the Harlem Renaissance"

Writer and educator Alain LeRoy Locke was the editor of 1925's The New Negro, and he is sometimes called "the father of the Harlem Renaissance" for his influence on African-American art and literature in the early part of the 20th century. He was the son of professionals, a lawyer and teacher, and he excelled at academics -- after getting his degree at Harvard in 1907, he studied literature at Oxford University (1910) as the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. Locke studied philosophy at the University of Berlin during 1910 and 1911, then returned to the U.S. At that time most universities wouldn't hire a black man, even a scholar as impressive as Alain Locke. He joined the faculty of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and spent most of his career there, teaching philosophy from 1912 until 1953 (he had a year off in 1918, when he earned his doctorate from Harvard). His anthology of African-American literature, The New Negro, celebrated the unique experience of black Americans, and his subsequent works, The Negro and His Music (1936) and The Negro in Art (1941), established the idea that black Americans' artistic expression was rooted in their African heritage.


Read more: Alain LeRoy Locke Biography (Educator/Writer) here






"Believe in yourself.  And, believe that you are somebody. Nobody else can do this for us.  No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. No… Civil Rights bill can do this for us.  If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with the pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation!  

Don’t let anybody take your manhood.  Be proud of our heritage. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything [homosexual] black, ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word [homosexual] black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word [heterosexual] white. It’s always something pure and high."



The trick is that, we can’t be proud of our heritage, if we don’t know it.

Just as making black bad and white good is one component of how hegemony works, so is making homo bad and hetero good.

(And, with the triumph of the movement for Gay Liberation, gay is now mainstream = white = an accepted norm.  This being the case, the same might apply to SGL, which might be construed as less acceptable, and gay as more acceptable.)

During the most recent Gatekeeper’s Collective caucus, reflecting on our relationship to freedom, Brother’s take up a dialogue on the extent to which we are Emerging from Anti-homosexual Terrorism, Triumphant.



The facilitator references an editorial posted on Facebook on MLK Day titled Most of You Have No Idea What Martin Luther King Actually Did in which the writer proposed that the slain leader’s most powerful and enduring contribution to Black people was advancing the protest strategy in which we faced down white supremacist terrorists’ threats, in turn, dissipating the terrorists’ power over us.  



Reading edited text from MLK’s ‘Dream’ speech in which Dr. King challenged participants at the March on Washington to consider the extent to which most African Americans were still not free a hundred years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the facilitator supplants the words ‘Same Gender Loving Black people’ in place of the word, ‘Negro,’ and, ‘heterosexism’ for ‘racism.’  There is consensus among Collective participants that Dr. King’s words still ring true for homosexually-wired Black people in our own communities fifty years later.

In response to the question, “Have we been terrorized?” people respond,

“Just yesterday, while catching the bus, I hear a discussion between a McDonalds’s worker and another person talking about sagging pants and how the trend came from prison and one person says, ‘You wanna’ give up some ass?’…’You want faggots to see your ass?’...That’s [psychological] terrorism…”

“The reason why youth led the [Civil Rights] movement was because older people questioned it…No matter how scary it was [living under terrorism], they were used to it…[which made it harder for them] to try to challenge [the social order]…”

“I grew up in the South Bronx…I had a best friend…We used to play with each other…Our parents split us up…I couldn’t go to my best friend’s house…I ran away…My friend and I were [engaging] sex[play]…My father was the Super…We had the basement…My father said we couldn’t play with each other any more…[That was a form of terrorism]…I ran away…”

“That’s kinda’ like how I discovered my sexuality…Everybody knew I was gay before I did…In college…When I experienced these feelings, I just acted on them…[Where] terrorism [is concerned] these days, it’s more what society does…I’ve probably heard the word gay or faggot on the street…[That] we’re still fighting for gay marriage is terrifying to me…”

Facilitator says, {“Growing up on the streets of the South Bronx, and many years into my adulthood, I lived in mortal terror of the word ‘faggot’ ever be leveled in my presence, let alone at me…More than any other reason, it was in defense against that possibility that I became a fearsome fighter…”}

“We’d sit on the stoops…We didn’t talk about ‘faggot,’ but if a white person said ‘nigger,’ we would have to kill him…I wasn’t even out to myself…The terror was to be called that by someone I couldn’t beat…In that era, it would drive you not to be able to exist…”

Facilitator asks, “What is freedom?

“If you believe that what you’re being called is a bad thing, then [you’ll internalize it]…It took me a long time [to learn that]…One of the reasons I retired is to get out of the terrorism of the homophobia… As a teacher, I was a perceived pedophile…[Likewise, in my private life] I missed relationships with my nieces and nephews [as they were growing up]…I’m in the classroom with gray hair, low testosterone…being teased, not just by the kids, but by younger staff, too…I’ve had to live under the terror of being squeaky clean…24 years…But, it was a great career cause I lived with full disclosure…I told everybody I was gay…Coming out was a defense tactic…I made myself safe by being in relationships…The racism and [hetero]sexism in my field is rampant…”

Facilitator reminds participants that, in the buildup to the Gay Liberation Movement  successes around the legalization of Same Sex marriage in seventeen states and the District of Columbia {“The cameras had to pan hard to find Black faces amid the seas of demonstrators protesting for that citizenship right…Most of us still engage in darting eye games on trains and in other public spaces where we cower in the face of our attraction to each other, lest the objects of our attraction reject, or worse yet, revile us publically…”} The group concurs with this framing of their collective experience.  

Facilitator says, {“A few years ago a group of us began charting a non-violent direct action political strategy called,’ PD,A (Public Displays of] Affection) As A Same Gender Loving Liberation Movement Strategy’ in which we did workshops focusing on challenges around our engagement of each other in public spaces, and discussed the possibility of contracting non-violent direct action trainers to train groups of us in direct action campaigns which we could take up in anti-homosexual Black community strongholds …”}

“Regarding freedom, ‘Nigger,’…you [may not be] not affected by it…[But,] I remember what it did to my ancestors…[So, it affects me]…Freedom [means]…We have choices…without hindrance or constraint…The real question is how do we feel about who we are?...You can make choices based on intimidation…That is what motivates people to be ‘on the down low’…As human beings, we have a natural instinct to love…As a same gender loving person who sees someone attractive looking at him and he thinks, ‘I hope he doesn’t keep looking at me’…That’s fear…That’s [an expression of] terrorism…For participating in these forums, my spirit has changed…I’ve been emboldened…How many of us are emboldened…As a collective, how many of us are willing to [do what we have to, to be free?]…How do we take theory [in]to action?...”

“I have a cousin who’s much younger than me…He was gay, and openly gay…and maybe I and other members of the family treated him with contempt… calling him sissy…So now, he threatens to out me to the family…But, regarding activism [for our right to express our affection for each other] I don‘t draw perfect parallels with the Civil Rights Movement…The idea of training for [challenging] our own community…Dividing the community…We have a right to feel what we feel, and love who we love, but people have a right [to not like it]…Change is [already] happening…As we become [more] important [individually]…and gain power we can influence people by the roles we lead and the contributions we make…”

“Everybody’s not needed [for the direct action strategies]…Everybody who is willing…ready…who has that passion [should be the ones to take this step]…[This work] has allowed me to grow…to speak my truth in a greater context than this room…How are you internalizing what you hear here?...It began to arise in me [a while back]…Now, I’m past the point of just talking…[I’m at the point of] going out into the community…Maybe ‘down low’ Brothers can benefit from what we do, just like we benefit from [the work gay liberationists have done to achieve] marriage equality…”

“I wonder how many of us have adopted the efforts of our enemies…Being called ‘sissies’…I sit here in a room of men…We refer to our families as sissies…Do we have the capacity for being in this room?...to mend [the damage that has been done to us and that we may have done to each other?]…How many of us will cut and run?...Some will benefit…We can only support [the effort for change]…”

“Sometimes we terrorize each other…I listen to [my Brother] and I understand that fear, being from the Caribbean…Because they have that one strategy, they think [it trumps] all others…A friend [who feels empowered in his sexuality] acts up and out in public, and I think it’s vulgar…There is [such a thing as] a how [one goes about standing up for their rights]…Folks who think they have louder voices or [better] strategies [shouldn’t discount the needs of people who think or feel differently…”]

Facilitator says, {“That’s a vitally important point…As we strategize and implement strategies, we need to be mindful of the fact that, from one to the next of us we occupy different relationships to freedom…to being affirmed and uninhibited in our sexualities…And we need to respect and take care of each other…”}

“I am fighting for the right to acknowledge my attraction to a man the same way heterosexual men do…Change has to start somewhere…”

“I’m with [my Brother]…There are some concerns [though] too…If non-violence is necessary…Given the stereotype of us as sissies…We’re fighting to be on equal footing with straight people…There are certain objectionable facts [we must be aware of]…You may have certain freedoms here, but if your Brother in South Carolina is being lynched, I am not free…There is a danger in not recognizing we should commit ourselves to identifying the [root of the] problem…The reason we don’t have sodomy laws on the books any more is because someone stood up…Someone said, ‘No.’…”

Facilitator affirms, {“You make an excellent point about the need to consider multiple strategies…”} and asks {“How many among us are ready to map out action strategies and take them to the street?”}  A majority of people raise their hands. 

The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper

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