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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…”


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