The Gatekeeper's Collective (TGC)

IGNITING THE POWER OF BLACK SAME GENDER LOVE

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Economic Empowerment

Gatekeepers’ call is to support community members’ successfully contributing their respective gifts to society.


Operating from a ‘physician, heal thyself’ perspective, The Gatekeepers Collective recognize that we must first make sure to support our own alignment with, and conferring of our gifts.


On Friday, January 8, 2016, in observance of the fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba, Nia (Purpose), TGC asked participants to consider the question,


‘What Are You Here For?’


Facilitator asks, “What do we mean by purpose, or living a purpose-driven life?”


“You’re not who you say you are, you are what you think…In order to end the confusion, critical thinking [is what is called for]…”


“So, there’s this [model called] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs…[where human beings are seen as having different levels of needs which have to be satisfied on the way to becoming self-actualizing]…I have a cousin who didn’t raise his son…His son had been really unhappy about his absence…and when he finally turned up again, in his sixties, he was talking about getting pussy, and getting high…self-gratification…That’s the level of needs he was operating at…For other people, it’s about doing things for other people…”


“When I was growing up, [people thought one’s] purpose was to get married and raise children…At my age, I have a purpose [but] I don’t know what it is…”


“No matter how complex and wonderful an engine may be, the wheel has a purpose that only it can serve…One’s purpose has to do with something that’s bigger than you…Outward…Inward…The minute you say, this is what I’m here for, the universe is [aligning in accordance]…You cannot have a purpose that is apart from the [universe]…”


“You cannot lie…There is something in you that will not settle for anything that is not you…The side-effect to finding your purpose is that you become very strong…”


“As an actor, I can choose my purpose…To tell stories…”


“Your animal brain [operates from] instinct…Your human brains [operates from] divinity…The realization of our divinity is what we are all here for…The roads are infinite…The universe presents to you opportunities to do that…If you look at your life, you will see patterns…We are in a culture that, as Black gay men, they want to shut us down…How we deal with that…Acting out sexually…Drugs…How, in a culture [that attempts to suppress you, can you realize your divinity?]…If you look at us as beings of light, [you come to understand that] how you think determines what you do…When you get on that path, you magnetize others [who are like-minded] to you…”


Facilitator engages participants in a writing exercise around purpose…


Following the exercise…


“[During the exercise, I] thought about my journey, where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed…I had to hold back tears…”


“I felt like I was writing to cry…At first I thought my purpose was to others…The more I become self-actualized, that can be my gift to others…”


“There is something quite disquieting in this exercise…You’re born alone…It isolates you…It is an intimidating question to answer…Everything I answered got me closer to something essential…”


“I find it was pretty deep for me…My purpose is not in a box…[My purpose is] limitless…”

Gatekeepers’ call is to support community members’ successfully contributing their respective gifts to society.

“This is remarkable…I have never been nurtured like l am right now in this room…”

“As a youth [I thought my purpose was to gain] wealth, enjoyment, and pleasure…[Now,] I have plenty of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding…I will pass on this knowledge through books…”


“[My purpose entails] Shaking off the internalized white supremacy…[and] the output of that process of internalized white supremacy…My purpose is unification…Unification for us is the secret of our success…”


“I love sharing, empowering others…[And] protection…I like to protect a lot of people as well…I have received a lot of protection [in my life]…I was in Ohio…I went to my first gay bar…And this person, who I had no idea would be sitting here in this room with us tonight, walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘You, come with me’…He instantly took me under wing and protected me…”


“I think your purpose is attached to letting go and being vulnerable…”


Facilitator says, “I think ‘re onto something…In my experience, letting go of assumptions, defenses, the need to be right and to always know the answers, and allowing myself to become vulnerable has been key to aligning with my sense of purpose…around which I feel extraordinarily hopeful and good about us…”

Has Gay Liberation Liberated Us?
A Gatekeepers Collective Dialogue with SGL Sisters
Facilitated by JM Green & Bonnie Harrison
Considering the extent to which same gender loving Black women and men might need to collectively take up a liberation movement of our own, in early November, The Gatekeepers Collective engaged a group of same gender loving Sisters, asking:
Has Gay Liberation liberated us?


“If you talk about Jews or a white gay person, you will be in trouble, and I want to know why?...”
Co-facilitator says:
“To talk about gay liberation, the first thing I think about is white males…They are liberated…I don’t think anybody else’s liberation is going to do it for us…We don’t talk about the elephant in the room…about male and female relationships…The rooms usually don’t look like this one…What happened that created the divide between us?...That prevents us from being free?...[So] That now, we’re looking at all this brutality…men and women being killed and beaten…Every time we look at Facebook, we’re shocked at [seeing] a girl being thrown and dragged across a class room…There’s a relationship that’s broken with ourselves, our God…[the] biggest is with our Ancestors…It happened during slavery…”
“A white MTF Trans woman came in[to a business I was working at,] and a young Black hetero woman made the mistake of calling her, ‘him,’ and she wanted me to kill that Black woman’s career…We need to be very careful when identifying some of these labels…”
“The freer we are to express ourselves, the more divided we become as a community…Each day a new letter [in the sexuality lexicon]…The umbrella get’s bigger…”
“When I experience my sisters of Trans experience…how free they became…I really [began to understand] the power of labels…I don’t know, sometimes, the labels bring us together…sometimes, they move us apart…”
Facilitator says, “I expect, as the labels are affirmations of people’s identity, and we respect them, they will tend to draw us toward each other…”
Does our lack of desire for the opposite sex incapacitate us from collaboration?


“Since now we can live everywhere, we’re more separated…hetero males and females will naturally be together because they want to procreate… We don’t have that need…So, what holds us together?...I was at one of the Black Lives Matter protests…I though I was doing something…The Civil Rights Movement had to do so much, they got exhausted…I didn’t learn how to fight…They taught me how to love…”
“What does bring us together?...If we’re not trying to get with each other?...When I go to gay parties…boy parties…I have a good time…I don’t know how we can do that and incorporate the business…”
“These conversations are frustrating to me…The white boys have figured it out…You’re not white? We’re not voting for you…We got it…When the question was asked, ‘Has gay liberation liberated us, we came in [with all this stuff about how we feel]…While we’re having these conversations about how we feel, White boys are controlling the means of power…If we want to have an impact, we need to be able to have meaningful conversations about how we can help us…If you don’t have money and power, then you have to get it thorough politics…Let’s leave these labels aside for a second…The White boys see the pie, they take the whole pie…”
“I am sitting here today because of another SGL black woman who nurtured me…A Black same gender loving mentality is very different…”
“Two things come to mind…There are a number of African Americans for whom gay is the center of their life…The [GLBT] Center saved their life…There are others of us for whom SGL has been central…I see a need for those communities to coalesce…The thing that I got from SGL, they got from the LGBT community…The places that accept us and affirm us and where we can find opportunities for [generating] income…And, [the question is] how can we bring all those [dynamics] together?...”
Co-facilitator says, “When I think about what we’re experiencing [that’s] new…[It’s] Two different worlds…What I identify with is a Black world…[Back in the day,] They didn’t care what language you spoke, either you were Black, you were White, or you were Chinese…There was no Korean, or Dominican…Segregation didn’t allow the luxury of fighting a Black fight, or a gender war…I had a Black mother and father, so it was clear, I was going to be a Black woman…[I has to consider] How can I be a part of a process that was going to save my people…I can be a part of a conversation about [having] an identity that has nothing to do with sexualities…There is a difference between Black people and White people…Every[one will have to take into account for themselves the question in the old song,] Whose Side Are You On? Whose Side Are You On?...”
“Part of the problem is that we are Black first and other things secondarily…Black homosexuals have been supporting our Blackness first and yet we see little results of our being accepted [by the larger Black community]…If we keep supporting without demanding respect from our community [we will keep getting what we’ve been getting]…”
“I agree…[I think about Jamaicans call us] ‘Batty Boy’…We sit and we bop to the trap music…But, deep inside it’s like [the music is disrespecting us]…Trap music is about dealing drugs…”
“There [can be] no [more] isolation…We have to approach [each other]…We have to focus on what is pro-Black…”
“The issue is human rights…If I’m being violated…There are people going into Nigeria [right now], Black and White to kill people like me…Redefining pro-Blackness means challenging your own community…”
Co-facilitator says, “As Africans, we are tribal…People from tribes…Clannishness [can be divisive]…We are at least three parts, mind, body, and spirit…The spirit is the most powerful part…and when we were denied the possibility [of maintaining our connection with spirit, that is when we started becoming disconnected from each other]…There are people who are not ready…You cannot drag them along…Some of us are not supposed to be part of the liberation struggle…I can’t save everybody…What I can do to help is to save myself…Where do I go to get healed?...When we have something to offer, we should share that with our family…We should make a commitment to heal…”
“One of the things we can do to heal is to measure…We have to have goals we can measure…We have to liberate ourselves…”
“Next steps: 1) healing ourselves, and 2), Measurable goals…”
“The first thing we must do is to align with Black Lives Matter…I expect to challenge the Black Power [patriarchal perspective,] among Black [heterosexual] men…we need to challenge them…We need to be present for those conversations…”
3) We need to share our own processes that have worked, identifying a progressive mentality that is about reimagining a world that is based on our own ethos…And sharing whatever works for us…Therapy?...A good doctor?...Whatever it is…”
4) Identify skills…”
5) “Political education classes…”
6) Facebook private groups…We[can] help to bridge the gaps [between] queer POC groups…”

Facilitator says, “We’re pulling together an organization – a coalition which we hope you all will become a part of…towards advancing a movement for our liberation…”

Explore the Unknown Limits of Your Ability
Explore the Unknown Limits of Your Ability


What Are You Here For?

Gatekeepers’ call is to support community member’s successfully contributing their respective gifts to society.

Operating from a ‘physician, heal thyself’ perspective, we must first make sure that we support our own alignment with and conferring of our gifts.

That said,
on
Friday, January 8th, 2016
8 pm
Join
The Gatekeepers Collective
@ JMG’s Safe Space

for a fun-filled exploration about where we stand in relationship to our respective and collective ‘Nia’, or purpose(s) and what it means to be 21st Century Urban gatekeepers.

The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper

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