What about Black LGBTQ lives? The importance of intersectionality within the Black community

 

Lgbtq

(not sure who this artist is but I love this painting)

So last semester I took an online class called the Psychology of LGBTQ Issues with Dr. Matthew Robinson; a professor at Harvard University. There was a few take aways I got from this class that I wanted to share. All quotations below are a combination of old post from weekly write ups written by yours truly.

Overall when you hear the word intersectionality it is often used when talking about feminism. This class made me aware that  intersectionality also includes POC (People Of Color) LBGTQ individuals.

  1. Realizing my privilege as an Heterosexual African American woman

“I never thought in detail about how minorities as a whole share common struggles until now. I never realized that being Heterosexual means that I am a part of a group that may contribute to homophobia (Matthews 2007). Such as white Americans may unintentionally benefit from white privilege. Ethic minorities and the LGBTQ population share similar issues of being labeled “minority”, yet LGBTQ ethnic minorities have to also endure heterocentrism within their own ethnic group. (Greene, 1994). An example of Hetrocentrism is the perpetuation of a romanticized heterosexual family structure seen in the media; painting a picture of how a family is supposed to be according to society. ”

2. Bisexuality do exist in the Black Community….

“Sexual Orientation is often viewed as being dichromatic in nature such as being either homosexual or heterosexual; this type of view often does not give others who do not fit into these categories of sexuality much visibility or thought. Bisexuals are often seen as being confused, promiscuous or not certain with their identity.

I personally thought about the depression and anxiety an individual must go through when having to endure being double a minority, such as African Americans who identify as being bisexual. Ethnic minorities such as African Americans are subject to higher rates of harassment while being apart of the LGBTQ community (Mays & Cochran, 2001). Racial related stress and being apart of LGBTQ community makes this population vulnerable to mental health disorders (Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000).  When compared to the Lesbian and Gay population, bisexual individuals report lower levels of perceived social support, with higher levels of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal ideation, or actual attempts (Balsam & Mohr, 2007). experience poverty, increased workplace discrimination, and endure violence at higher rates (Tweedy & Yescavage, 2015)”

3. Get rid of the DL phenomena 

“Oprah did segments in the 1980s on African American men who are “down low” i.e. having a wife and kids but also have a boyfriends on the side. These segments are seen as the driving force behind perpetrating the stereotype that African American men are  on the “down low” and carrying HIV. Even in the movie For Colored Girls a character is married to a man who has sexual relations with men without her knowing it…“next time you should admit you’re mean, down low and low down; trifling and no count straight out. Instead of being sorry all the time, enjoy being yourself. When I get back I want you gone and take your HIV with you” giving him a paper displaying that she has been diagnosed with HIV positive (Shange, N., Scott, O., Law, L., Venza, J., Carroll, 2000.) Unconsciously internalizing media stories such as this could effect how the African American community (especially black women) I believe that black men should be able to identify as bisexual without feeling the need to pick one or be placed in a box. Sexual freedom should be able to exist within the African American community as it do in White communities.”

4. Spirituality can be used in Psychotherapy for African Americans who identify with LGBTQ…

“Religion and spirituality is often seen as being a major part of someone’s identity and/ or culture (especially with African American patients). Many heterosexual individuals are able to say their religion vocally without feeling a sensibility towards their affiliation. According to Boswell (1980) institutionalize religions have been a driving force of oppression towards Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual men and women since the middle ages. I personally appreciated Davidson (2000) article on ways of incorporating spirituality into psychotherapy and counseling. I have never thought about the spiritual side to the coming out process until reading this article. Religion played a role in the results of Dahl & Galliher (2012) LGBT youth study that showed participants made efforts to deny their attraction to the same sex and felt a disconnection to their religion. In therapy patients may also disclose to therapist that their families have attempted to “pray the gay” away.”

As future therapist it is important to know a patients sexual and religious development, in order to build on their spiritual side, without feeling the need to suppress them.”

 

P.S. Check out Moonlight its really good. 🙂

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An Ode to Choice

IMG_0627IMG_0623IMG_0621For April Fools Day 2017, I flew from New York to Atlanta to witness a ceremony of two people professing their love for one another in front of a sea of black family and friends. I have to emphasize “black” because the wedding was really all black. Seeing a young black couple get married in their early 20s defies stereotypes and  shows that black love is still alive; here in a barn in Toccoa, GA we came to celebrate it.  No April Fool Jokes or Drake Fake Love here. All real and Authentic. Kelle and Rods love is pure and true. Seriously. I met Kelle while working at a psychiatric institution after her and I had to endure dealing with extremely mentally disturbed children. Some how in the mist of that chaos we became close friends. We instantly clicked and have been friends ever since; Kelle is not only beautiful but she also has a hilarious unique personality to match it.  One day Kelle randomly told me if she ever got married she wanted it to be in a barn LOL and she was not playing. The wedding was in northern GA in a barn with hay and I Loved every minute of it.  Ironically, I also knew Rod. We attended Tucker High School together and were Facebook friends. During undergrad I used to always “like” the pictures he would post of his beautiful girlfriend. Who would’ve known that I would one day meet her and become close friends with her? I Thank God for giving me the opportunity to meet Kelle.

Kelle and Rod love is a testimony to choice and true love. These two were designed for each other by God. Their love shined so bright at their wedding that the whole church could tell that these two are the epitome of true love. Rod and Kelle made the choice to love each other, get married, and to commit to each other forever before family, friends, and God.

I loved the wedding, I loved seeing them together ,and I am truly thankful I had the opportunity to witness “Love”. Personally,  I’m still figuring out “Love” but I know it’s a choice. To seriously commit and build towards marriage. To chose to love your partner everyday. When Kelle met Rod for the first time at Savannah State University she called her mom and said “I think I just met my future husband”. Once you meet that person you will just know it.  Once you make the choice to choose someone God will be there to lead every step of the way or tell you that this person isn’t the right one. Either way God will be there and will never leave your side. The presence of God and the Holy Spirit was in the room at Kelle and Rods wedding to let us know that he will continue to be their with this couple as long as they continue to also chose Him. A Love rooted in God can not be easily broken.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12

P.S. They met at an HBCU IMG_0477.JPG

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Why Anxiously Ivy?

Anxiously Ivy was born from a continuous cycle of bad situationships that I have encountered during my early 20s that I felt have shaped me. Essentially,  I was in situations with people who “almost ran off with all my stuff.” Who had tried to convince me that I was the issue. Not saying that I was perfect, but everything was my fault and I could do nothing right within their eyes. I was the “anxious” one who didn’t know how to relax her nerves but how could I possibly relax around someone I knew was empty? Someone who didn’t really love me.  I was in this situation growing feelings for someone who told me whatever rolled off their tongue so that he could get these vines (feelings) to grow within me with no intentions on watering them as they bloomed by next season. These vines had a rocky foundation of hurt, lies, and manipulation. After they attempted to kill my vines that bloomed for them … I decided to instead embrace my reliance; being “Anxiously Ivy“.

“You fell in love with my flowers and not my roots. So when autumn came around, you didn’t know what to do..”

 

“God is within her, she will not fall.” — Psalm 46:5

Somebody Almost Walked Off With All My Stuff

for-colored-girls-cover

Most of friends KNOW hands down my favorite movie is For Colored Girls. Now before you mention how depressing it is or sad; look past that and think about the context. This movie covers daily struggles that Colored Girls go through from men; rape, abortion, physical/emotional abuse, cheating, and lies. This movie is about the secret language of resilience  black women share among each other. Sisterhood of strong personalities that may have been passed down from our grandmothers and their grandmothers. Survivors. Still sometimes the rainbow is Enuf; even for the strongest.

Juanita: Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff and didn’t care enough to send a note home saying “I was late for my solo conversation” or “two sizes too small for my own tacky skirts”. What can anybody do with something of no value on an open market? Did you get a dime for my things? Hey, man! Where are you going with all of my stuff? This is a woman’s trip and I need my stuff to “Ooh” and “Ah” about. Honest to God, somebody almost ran off with all of my stuff and I didn’t bring anything but the kick and sway of it. The perfect ass for my man and none of it is theirs. This is mine, Juanita’s own things. That’s my name. Now give me my stuff. I see you hiding my laugh and how I sit with my legs open sometimes to give my crotch some sunlight. This is some delicate leg and whimsical kiss. I gotta have to give to my choice. So you can’t have me unless I give me away. And I was doing all that till you ran off on a good thing. And who is this you left me with? Some simple bitch with a bad attitude? I want my things. I want my arm with the hot iron scar. I want my leg with the flea bite. Yeah, I want my things. I want my calloused feet and quick language back in my mouth. I want my own things. How I loved them. Somebody almost ran off with all of my stuff and I was standing there looking at myself the whole time. It wasn’t a spirit that ran off with my stuff. It was a man whose ego walked ’round like Rodan’s shadow. It was a man faster than my innocence. It was a lover I made too much room for. Almost ran off with all my stuff and the one running with it don’t know he got it. I’m shouting, “This is mine!” and he don’t even know he got it. My stuff is the anonymous ripped-off treasure of the year. Did you know somebody almost got away with me? Me, in a plastic bag under his arm. Me, Juanita Sims. Somebody almost walked off with all my stuff.

…. I brought you what joy I found. And I found joy. And then there’s that woman who hurt you. And who you left three or four times. And then you went back after you put my heart in the bottom of your shoe. You just walked back to where you hurt and I didn’t have nothing. So I went to where somebody had something for me, but none of them were you. I got a real dead loving here for you now, ’cause I don’t know anymore how to avoid my own face wet with my tears because I had convinced myself that colored girls have no right to sorrow. I lived for you. I know I did it for myself, but I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand being sorry and colored at the same time. It’s so redundant in the modern world.

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yd9eJRecAk

For Colored Girls thats dealing with heartbreak

From an old essay

“I’ve been in limbo a little after being hurt by love. I wasn’t really sure how to channel that negative energy I was feeling until passing an art store near campus a few days ago. I decided maybe my way of coping and expressing myself should be through art.So I started a “For Colored Girls” series of paintings which are inspired by Ntozake Shange’s monologues that focused on African American women journey through love, struggle, loss and eventually empowerment. This is just my way expressing my feelings when words won’t do it justice. This is dedicated to “vulnerability”.”

 

“My Love Is Too Delicate To Have Thrown Back In My Face”.FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender (2)