“Generations: Black LGBT History Experience” is a free gala event sponsored by local organizations will take place Friday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the African American Art / Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. in San Francisco.
;There will be food, art, film and entertainment celebrating historic Black LGBT Americans that have paved and are paving the way. On display at the event will be over 100 autobiographies of Black LGBT movers and shakers from the past and present.
p>February became “Negro History Week” in 1926, to recognize the many accomplishments of African Americans, to write back into American history the contributions of those who had been written out.
From civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and blues singer Bessie Smith to college draft pick Michael Samms, who could be National Football Leagues’ first openly gay player, the lives of Black Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) people are often left out of the picture.
It is time to affirm that Black LGBT people have enriched the nation’s history – and who knows this better and than Black LGBT communities?
Facing many challenges, LGBT people of African descent must continue to work on health inequities and social isolation. As HIV transmission rates continue to occur at alarming disproportionate rates in African American men that have sex with men (MSM), efforts must continue to make free and confidential, Sexually Transmitted Disease Infection (STDI) testing available.
Stigma, homophobia, and discrimination put gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems and may affect whether they seek and are able to receive high-quality health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services.
According to Micah Lubensky, community development manager of SF AIDS Foundations and co-facilitates support group for African American MSM group, “A sense of well-being about one’s history is important, helping internally with the feeling that it’s a positive thing to be gay.
“The reasons for high rates of HIV (mostly have to do with self-esteem issues. If people value themselves more and felt their lives were more worthy, they would protect themselves”, said Lubensky.
Chances of survival after AIDS diagnosis are less for African Americans than other racial groups. At the same time, Black people have many accomplishments to be proud of.
Most of these accomplishments are not taught in mainstream history books, which do not identify an individual as a Black LGBT person.
Even during Black history month, we learn so little about who we are from Black history.
The producers of the event believe history plays an important role in creating a healthy individual and community.
The idea of Black LGBT history started as a small event in 2010, where members of Black Brothers Esteem (BBE) were talking about the lack of Black LGBT history and desired to host a separate event within Black History Month.
Lubensky says the idea made sense to him: “Black communities are not any more or less homophobic than any other communities, but for Black LGBT, the consequences of homophobia may be more devastating, because the community’s protection on the question of race is needed”.
In a climate of continued racial oppression, pervasive homophobia and stigma, it is time to embrace the magnificent history and journey of all Black people in America, using lessons learned to inform us how we think of HIV and how we fight the disease.
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