Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Naked Horizons

Last week we re-posted a item from Samantha R., who share with the world a "women thou are loose" expression that was at its core, raw, unapologetic, passionate and above all a testimony that laid naked for all to see. COP 24/7 was fortunate to get her permission to share that tour de force tribal outcry that proves that none of us really knows lies beneath each of our body shells. I got to know "Sam" over the last few years and I can attest to her willingness to "to keep it real" while dealing with all the issues that it takes to make it in this world. Her boldness through this prose, should be seen as "teachable moment" to comfort us all whom have emotional baggage and stirred souls that at some point must be set free to allow us to move forward. Therein lies the premise for us all to "get naked."Meanwhile this post is so timely as we prepare for an upcoming empowerment session entitled Strengthening Gay Arkansas, October 15 in Little Rock. Watch this forum for breaking news on this important event.  Thanks Sam for sharing your searing voice in this forum and COP 24/7 is always open to share "what's really going on" in your lives. This piece is unedited, altered and are her own words.

Part 2: Naked for a Cause by Samantha R.

I was sitting in my den today; thinking and preparing for the rest of my day and week. I found myself thinking about my hysterectomy, more so, the actual procedure. You see on the outside, my womanhood was healthy. However, on the inside, my womanhood was wounded; ill, broken, and all messed up. My womanhood needed fixing. When sitting down with my doctor, she explained the procedure. She shared with me that she would be making a small incision in my lower abdomen and opening and entering through my belly button. She was then going in and removing what was making me ill, in pain, unable to enjoy the feelings from my love when we made love, bleed, damaged, etc. The day of the surgery, I remember talking to the anesthesiologist and saying, “Will you be shaving me for this procedure or doping me up really good so I won’t feel the pain? Will you make certain I get through this and wake up”? And a few hours later, felt like minutes, I was awaken.. I remember waking up in absolute pain, hungry, and the nurse had informed me that for a slight moment, during surgery, my numbers went up and they were fearful I was leaving this earth, but I made it out.. ALIVE, WELL, WITH THE BAD STUFF REMOVED, THE ICKY STUFF SCRAPED, and in time, I should feel like a new woman! I remember thinking, there I was out, open, exposed, with the risk of death or injury, losing what I thought defined my womanhood and its existence, and suffering great pain and obstacles afterwards… BUT NOW, I am healed, feel more like a woman than I have effort felt, able to receive love with love making, and the PAIN IS GONE! You see, with exposure comes great risks. Often, the risks become reality and it hurts OH SO BAD, but once it’s over, healing takes place and restoration shows it beautiful being that always dwelled inside of me, you, each one of us.
In my previous note, “Naked for a Cause”, I left using myself and a very small part of my truth and story WIIIIDE OPEN! I asked the question in the end, am I alone? I asked the question before, what if we were all NAKED, vulnerable, cut down our center with our emotional and mental exposed? I asked, how would, if we would, receive one another? I have come to learn and understand that although my exposure is for me, it entirely for me. I take the risk of exposing myself for the edifying, restoration, healing, and the great need of relief for others, my friends, my family, my community. Yes, we are all responsible for my own paths, but what’s found and discovered at the end of those jagged roads is for us to set into the atmosphere and gift to others our “coming out”.
How would you feel if you knew you, and your life, was being watched by others assigned specifically to you? Do you believe that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or merely a chance? Do you believe that your story, your journey down the road less traveled, is only for you and not to be shared? be locked in a closet full of dried up skeletons? What if I told you that someone’s liberty is riding on you? What if I told you that someone’s hope was riding on you and your coming out, your story, your compassion, your authenticity, your very own liberty? What if I told you that it’s your hand that will catch someone who jumped over the bridge and realized they made a mistake and is hanging on for dear life? What if I told you that you are not only an over comer, but the one that shoots Goliath in the head with your rock and sling shot and saves your entire army, land, better yet, community?

The fact of the matter is that my community, your community, our community is exposed daily with great risks.. And although many of our community mates fail to be open, honest, naked, and in most cases, refuse to ask for help, the consequences of their actions, our actions, are with great consequence, often ending in tragedy, and becomes a reward to those that seek to abolish our communities and their existence. Young girls are mothers and/or motherless, young boys are fathers and/or fatherless, dying, killing, selling illegal substances, and taking life and matters into their own hands. Mothers and fathers are absent in the lives of their children and present in alcohol bottles and crack pipes. The innocence of a mother’s youth is being stripped away, by the minute, and all that is left is an adult that is soliciting herself/himself to the streets; a road mostly traveled filled with pimps, drug dealers, abusive men and women, and other temptations so great no amount of money could buy them back their righteousness and salvation. Fathers have found value in money, sex workers, and their own dreams of personal gain and success, not their children! The homeless, there seems to be no place for them. There seems no place for them except; homeless shelters, food banks, social security and disability applications that most often read, DENIED. There is lack of a permanent address. Questioning rehabilitation, are the homeless shelters consumed with providing shelter and doing their best to provide tools for the homeless to go back into society and make something of themselves or are they only consumed with that and not how the homeless got there?

And then there seems to be a new issue, well has always been, sexual minority folk. Struggling to find their place within themselves, let alone society, where could they go? Who could they turn to? Turn to a God that was described by man and man in authority and the position of leadership as a hateful, angry, God full of wrath, rebuke, judgment, and rage? Surely, those folk couldn’t look up! Surely, those folk couldn’t understand love, relationships, responsibilities, and hope because all of that was stripped away before hope, possibilities, and prosperity could be an option. For many of them, there is no cross road for these folk to even fathom. The only road to be traveled is one of confusion, despair, sickness, guilt, low self esteem, suicidal thoughts, and sex crazed havoc. All of these characters, people described are people that dwell in reside in our communities. The part that saddens me is that we all know it. We all see it. We all read about it. We all have a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, an acquaintance maybe that is one of the people I just described. Now, I would ask the question, “Would you be willing if they were completely naked”? Unfortunately, I can assume that because they aren’t being helped now and they aren’t naked, well…NEVERMIND.
The bottom line is this; we all are need of an affirmation of David, to help us defeat and bring to an end, our Goliath and for many of us, our whole lot of Goliaths. When in fact will our community, your community, be your responsibility? When will we become the surgeons? In a matter such as this, a degree isn’t required to go inside the hearts, emotions, and minds of our brothers and sisters, all the while risking exposure for an unexpected end that offers healing and a great relief.
Let’s get Naked Y’all!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spin Down Tuesday

COP 24/7 Special
3 Decades of HIV/AIDS: Deconconstructing The Gift
This forum has continued to highlight as well as showcase the latest information concerning HIV/AIDS in Arkansas. Even as new drugs have come through the medical pipeline, individuals are discovering regimens that have expanded their lives, their remains much that continues to reveal itself in dealing with this health dilemma. Such is the puzzling phenom as "Bug Chasing," which is the subject matter of the posted video which was created several years ago but this forum felt that it should be revisited. This behavior is described as individuals whom seek out infected persons to be mutually infected due to their despair with the health crisis and the issues of "fitting in" the gay social construct. Especially gay youth who lack safe spaces or those who desire social outlets other than local bars. Striking as this may seem, it is still taking place across the country and this portion of the documentary attempts to deconstruct this approach by inquiring with those who have taken the action of seeking "the gift" or "positive gifting." It is the reaction of the LGBTQ community in regards to social networking and the power of the Internet as a sexual frontier which calls for more dialogue. Watch at your discretion and share your thoughts with us. Watch for more links, video and messaging from COP 24/7 on this ongoing health pandemic.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Monday Throwdown

COP 24/Special:

Op-ed: The Tragic Consequence of Being an Anonymous Minority Statistic

Author Terry Angel Mason says it’s not only the black churches that are to blame for violence against LGBT people of color.

There are thousands of same-gender-loving people within the congregations of black churches. Because I have ministered from their pulpits for more than 40 years, I am very aware of how these churches’ refusal to address issues such as HIV/AIDS has gravely crippled us. But there are other more commonly overlooked culprits.
When black newspapers ignore and overlook the importance of pertinent issues that impact the lives of gay African-Americans, they tacitly approve and condone acts of hatred and homophobia. Black publications depend heavily on financial support from religious institutions and indirectly these papers must shoulder some of the responsibility for the spread of the virus because an innumerable amount of anti-gay sermons have been preached from their pages.
In my new book Love Won't Let Me Be Silent, I call out the tremendously negative influence that hip hop has had on the nation in regard to the LGBT community. Although much of the homophobic language has been toned down in contemporary rap lyrics, there remain cleverly disguised, subliminal homophobic messages that make it absolutely clear being gay is totally unacceptable and definitely not manly.
Personally, I feel that most hip-hop artists will never truly fully embrace same-gender-loving people publicly. What's more, some gay and lesbian hip-hop artists conceal their orientation, as asserted by Terrence Dean, author of Hiding Within Hip-Hop. The silence contributes to the rise in attacks against both HIV-positive and -negative same-gender-loving people
To see the tragic consequence of anonymity on display, one need only recall Oprah Winfrey’s disturbing interview with J.L. King, author of the controversial book On The Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of Straight Black Men Who Sleep with Men. King’s alarming confession of what life was like on the down low immediately garnered him national fame, and King became a trusted HIV prevention activist and educator, especially to Black America.
Immediately after that interview, a series of articles published in Essence, Vibe, and the Washington Post attempted to expose a secret sexual cultural phenomenon called "the Down Low." Although those articles caused somewhat of a stir, none were as troubling as the cover story of the August 3, 2003 issue of the New York Times Magazine entitled "Double Lives On The Down Low." Written by journalist Benoit Lewis, the work sent a shockwave through the African-American community as the article aired some very dirty laundry.
Among the story's many shocking insights, the article revealed that after 25 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic not only had HIV infection rates steadily climbed for African-American women, but black religious institutions, in particular, created and supported homophobia within black communities. The result of this homophobia, according to the article was the birth of a subculture of dishonesty and denial with respect to black masculinity, desire, and sexuality. This subculture sabotaged any attempts at HIV prevention or treatment, the article said.
Is it any wonder then that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs' researchers recently published a report that found LGBT people of color were subjected to a disproportionate number of attacks — 70% of the 27 murder victims in 2012 were LGBT and HIV-affected people of color. That was part of a 23% increase over the previous year in murders of LGBT and HIV-affected people across the United States, the second highest yearly total ever recorded.
Last week I awakened to find this startling message in my Yahoo inbox: “Iowa student dies after brutal beating in which attackers shouted gay slurs.” While this heinous act does not surprise me, it does sadden me deeply to see another young black man brutally murdered. Police say it was not a hate crime, but not in dispute is that Marcellus Andrews, 19, was heard being called“faggot” while a group of attackers beat him on his own front porch.
Simply put, even though Americans pride ourselves on living in a technically and socially advanced democratic society, in many ways we are hypocrites. America has allowed bigots and religious extremists to enshrine countless unethical laws that illegally deny same-gender-loving people equal rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Too many religious leaders and right-wing politicians are allowed to use the Bible to justify their outlandish actions. What's worse, many of them feel no remorse for their homophobic statements that fuel attacks on innocent people of all sexual orientations, and of all races.
Nowhere is this attitude of attack and ignore more prevalent than among our presidential candidates, many of whom extol divisive and inflammatory rhetoric while the country reacts with barely a notice.
We, as the black community must evolve. But we, as a nation must evolve, as well. We must move forward and embrace the more noble aspects of our humanity. Needless to say, it won't be easy; it never is! Nor is living easy, particularly for HIV individuals who are reading this and who will become victims of assault, or for the thousands in the LGBT community, white and black, male and female, who desperately and simply want to live as God created all His children to live — happily and freely.
Terry Angel Mason is a gay HIV/AIDS activist and author. His book Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent speaks about homosexuality and homophobia in the black community. Look for his upcoming book, They Say That I Am Broken, in Fall of 2011. OP 24/7 Special

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Deep End of COP 24/7

This forum was designed and developed as an interactive platform to encourage conversation, debate, discussion or dissent. When we embarked on this journey some 5 years ago I had always hoped that others would step up and bring their voices on the issues and situations that surround us daily. We have never feared any topic, back talk or subject matter during the evolution of COP 24/7. Always know that your opinions, observations, rants or oratory thoughts are openly encouraged and roubustly awaited. With that said, such a voice has come forth to share her thoughts and we feel proud to offer it to our readers and beyond. It is unedited or altered and used by permission.

COP24/7 Special
NAKED for a Cause by Samantha Rochelle

So, I wonder…what would happen if we were all NAKED! I’m not talking about Naked in the shower, in bed, at the doctor’s office, maybe even on a stripper pole. I’m talking about totally, completely, without a single piece of fabric, NAKED!? And taking it a step further, what if we all were NAKED and cut emotionally and mentally WIIIDE OPEN?! Wow! Talk about no need for perception then..Ha! What would happen if someone asked you the simple question, “How are you”? Having become that exposed, would we still be able to lie and fabricate our story and say, “Oh, me? I’m great! I’m whole! I’m awesome”!

 Would we search for “cover up” words and say, “ I’m ok. All is well. Things are good and I am good”!? OR WOULD WE ANSWER THE UNEXPECTED, “I’m not doing well at all. I’m hurting so bad and don’t know what to do about it. It pains me to think of where I am right now. I have screwed up and can’t forgive myself. I’m struggling with my demons. I’m a big liar! I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I gave all of me and they cheated. I blame others for my mishaps. I just hurt him/her because of my own insecurities. I judge others because of my fear and understanding. I’m thinking about jumping over the bridge today and ending it all. Life doesn’t seem worth living. I’m miserable and looking for company.

I never got over my past ish and so because I don’t know how to deal with it, I hurt others for a little sense of fulfillment”. OUCH! How then, would we be able to receive others? How then, would be able to love others, in spite, of themselves? How then would we be able to embrace others? Would we deny them of their needs and refuse to help? Would we run away from them because we are feeling the same way? Would we choose to not welcome them in because it’s too much responsibility of us to actually be our brothers/sisters keeper? OR, would we actually be able to connect with others? Would we be more willing to accept others? Does being “REAL” actually mean the desire to be a person or accept a person of authenticity?
What would have if we laid our carnal, fleshly, filthy selves before one another? Would we get our brushes, cleaning supplies, buckets, and help to clean each other up? Metaphorically speaking, would we throw each other to the wolves, burn each other up with the leaves, or take the trash to the dumpster? Folks, this is a crucial time! These questions aren’t just for Christians, Muslims, Jehovah witnesses, atheist, agnostics, science believers..It’s posed for us all! I don’t have some great scripture read for you, quote, or any of those things. I am simply moved by compassion and a filthy, dirty, human being full of mistakes, hardships, hurt, anguish, confusion, wrongs, and struggles with the desire to compel …. The desire to compel and challenge…..The desire to compel, challenge, and hope with urgency that each of us will stand or lay NAKED , pour out truths, and offer up our authentic selves to one another!

You see, not only am I dying daily and constantly seeking healing and restoration on the inside out, but so are so much more of some of us! I look and remember some people that I know that are in jail paying for crimes they have committed. But, I also acknowledge, look, and remember some people that I know that are paying for their crimes and conditions right where they are. Just because we aren’t serving jail time, doesn’t mean we aren’t bound by chains of affliction, loss, and the need of affirmation and someone to meet our needs! At least, in prison, there is or should be some sort of rehabilitation plan…Where are our rehabilitation plans equipped with ; therapists, ministers offering forgiveness and hope, etc….

So, again, I pose the original question, What would happen if we were all NAKED, emotionally and mentally WIIIIDE OPEN? What would happen if I stood before you and told you that I was NAKED, WIIIDEreunited with the only man I ever loved and having him taken away from me for 7 years in prison and being reunited with him ONLY to discover that we have changed and the LOVE IS GONE, settled for lovers that were beneath my potential and should have never been a part of my journey, had casual, meaningless sex and put myself at risk of a sexually transmitted disease that I couldn’t get rid of because of the voids I needed filled, felt and sometimes still feel TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD, forsook several friends, cheated on a spouse or partner, damaged a person’s heart for seemingly ever, attempted to kill myself a time or two, had thoughts of giving up my beautiful son because the responsibility was too great, resented my father and mother, experienced a jealous spirit towards my sisters, had a need to please everyone regardless of how I suffered because of it, currently in a condition full of recent mistakes and not sure how to get out, questioned God and his existence ,etc…

There I am folks, NAKED, WIIIIDE OPEN, with a past and even some present that I battle and struggle with daily- only, most of the time, having my faith to hold on to with EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE! What if, I’m not alone???????

TO BE CONTINUED…(next week, join us if you dare.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bang out Wednesday

AIDS Walking in Central Arkansas

Saturday, November 5, 10:30 - 5 pm in the Rivermakert Pavilion will mark the 9th Annual Arkansas AIDS Foundation AIDS Walk. The event will feature State Representative. Kathy Webb (D) as the keynote speaker. Organizers have stated that proceeds pledged during the walk will fund client services including labs, medications and physician care. COP 24/7 received a Facebook blurb concerning this event, however their was no organizational clarification on those who posted the information. For instance are they Board Members, volunteers or staff members.  Even though the posting has the AAF logo and in another post refers to the "website," as a visitor or web surfer how would you know exactly who these folks are or if this is a creditable event. I did later find a corresponding name embedded on the site. Furthermore, while mentioning the "website" where they state future pledge forms and other info will be posted, I noticed that the AFF website has not been updated in some time. Where are the latest Arkansas AIDS statistics? No CDC announcements or community links are presented even though AAF touts that they network with other organizations. How would a visitor really know if they needed to contact someone else other than AAF?  In my opinion, the images anchoring the site could use a diversity upgrade for sure.  Even more interesting is the fact that if the AIDS Walk has a 9 year history, where's that history on the website or any place else.?  Previously Me and my partner participated in this walk several years ago raising about $500 in pledges and contributions. However, we never received an acknowledgement of that effort nor was their any follow up on subsequent walks. Since then and even most recently this outing has never maximized its ROI ( return on investment) potential for the organization nor has it been a significant "rallying cry" within the community. In other words, who wants to contribute to something that you can't find out anything about. How much did you raise? How many folks turned out? Who were your Top Tier sponsors? How many clients did you really help?  Hey guys, this is your fundraiser 101 shout out from COP 24/7. If you need more just let us know, we've got plenty to share.    

NABWMT: Welcome to Little Rock 2011

The "Welcome to Little Rock Mixer" kicking off the NABWMT/ Midland Regional Meeting October 14-16, is set for Friday night October 14 at the La Qunita Inn, 617 South Broadway, 7 pm -until in the Clinton Conference Room. A portion of  the $5.00 suggested donation will benefit The Living Affected Corporation, a local 501c3 community based organization. This networking event is described as an evening of mixing and meeting a spectrum of diverse individuals both locally and visitors attending the weekend meeting. A Cocktail Buffet will be offered, music and door prizes will be the highlights. The National Association of Black and White Men Together is a gay, multiracial, multicultural organization committed to fostering supportive environments dealing with racial and cultural barriers. The group engages in educational, political, cultural and social activities as a means of dealing with racism, sexism, homophobia, HIV/AIDS discrimination and other social justice issues. The Midland Regional is a regional subset of the national entity encompassing both Midwest and Central states. The Midland provides assistance to existing chapters in these states while supporting the development of others as well as educational programming. This is the first visit by either group to the area.  A local host committee is being sought to facilitate registration, chaperoning and producing events during the weekend. If you are interested with volunteer opportunities contact: or the NABWMT/ Midland Weekend Hot line: 501.553.6314   In-kind contributions, donations and suggestions are encouraged. There will be FREE parking for the event and everyone is welcomed to attend.

Local Venues get Lower prices

Wal Mart is not the only folks in town who have lower prices. So do the local LGBTQ venues, who have done a micro-price roll back on beverages. Triniti, Off Center, Pulse and 610 have "price buster"  evenings with lowered drink prices for their patrons. At one time prices for beer hovered around the $4.00 mark with other libations hitting the $6 and upwards. Surprisingly, those prices reflected "non-call" brands, therefore, premium brands could cause you "shot shock" if you were not aware. Of course all of this relates to the current economic upheaval and those dastardly"sin taxes" that plague the industry locally. At this time there are beer offerings from $1.75 at 610 to getting the big boy pitcher at Sidetracks for $7.00 or it's $4.00 little brother. Also at Sidetracks on Friday nights you can help out your favorite organization with Keg Party opportunities that allow the groups to raise funds for their causes. Don't forget to check out Happy Hour pricing to assist in making those precious dollars go a bit further. Supporting the local establishments allows us all to have meeting and greeting places to share. Stop by your favorite place and tell em COP 24/7 sent ya!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Transformation and Transitions

As the techonolgy continues to morph and expand into new platforms as well as means to produce content or stay connected, I'm doing my ever loving best to keep up with it all. I-Phones, Tablets, compact this or that, not to mention "cloud" computing and whatever the next big thing will be leaves me a bit dizzy to say the least. Within the last week I've been faced with numerous computer problems that I was determined to work out. Since I'm a double fisted computer user, it's imperative that I have at least one of these babies ready to go while I doctor on the other. At one point my IP tech stated that I might want to consider an upgrade since I was using the machines with such vigor. Espcially after realzing that I've had over 1300 e-mails, assorted downloads, a catalog of picutres and graphics plus lots of other stuff that commanded much memory. Wow, who knew that I banging out all this and so much more. Its ture and believe it or not this forum is preparing to discover more unique ways to keep each of you in the info loop. Thanks for checking in and staying locked and loaded to COP 24/7.

BAI Testing Tour Rolls Out!

Arkansas AIDS will be on the move with a testing tour to September 22 - 24, 2011 commencing in Conway, West Memphis and ending in Texarkana, Arkansas. The tour is being promoted by The Arkansas Department of Health, Black AIDS Institute, LA Corp, AR Care and a host of other funding entities that have supported the effor previously. By design the tour will use incentive items such as free T-shirts, food and other giveaways for those submitting to on-site testing. Highlighting this outreach event will be Chauncey Beatty, internationally ranked slam poet and activitst plus author Carl  who will be autographing copies of his book, The Set-Up which is personal testimony concerning his journey within the life and HIV/AIDS. Stay tuned to this forum for more updated info or contact

Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement

By , Published: August 21
It was around this point in August 1963, in the sweltering days before the March on Washington, that Eleanor Holmes Norton was waiting for someone to say something really nasty about her boss.
She was a march volunteer. The boss was Bayard Rustin, the march’s chief organizer and the man widely viewed as the only civil rights activist capable of pulling off a protest of such unprecedented.
And he was gay. Openly gay. That year again? 1963.
“I was sure the attacks would come because I knew what they could attack Bayard for,” says Norton, now the District’s nonvoting delegate to Congress.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will be forever known as the day that ensured the success of the civil rights movement and launched the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. into the highest pantheon of American champions. Next week, on the 48th anniversary of the march, King will be anointed into that ultra-selective fraternity of national leaders memorialized on the Mall.
But for hundreds of civil rights veterans, Aug. 28 will also always be Bayard’s Day, the crowning achievement of one of the movement’s most effective, and unconventional, activists.
“When the anniversary comes around, frankly I think of Bayard as much as I think of King,” says Norton. “King could hardly have given the speech if the march had not been so well attended and so well organized. If there had been any kind of disturbance, that would have been the story.”
In the weeks before the march, planners were checking off details by the thousand: buses booked, speeches vetted, slogans written, portable toilets rented. At the Harlem headquarters, Rustin toggled between the political (brokering podium time for dozens of competing groups) and the practical (determining whether peanut butter or sandwiches with mayonnaise would stand up better in a Washington August).
Between phone calls, he drilled the hundreds of off-duty police officers and firefighters who had volunteered to serve as marshals. He made them take off their guns and coached them in the techniques of nonviolent crowd control he had brought back from a pilgrimage to India.
“We used to go out to the courtyard to watch,” says Rachelle Horowitz, a longtime Rustin lieutenant who served as the march’s transportation coordinator. “It was like, see Bayard tame the police.”
Horowitz and his other disciples, meanwhile, waited for someone in the enemy camp to notice that the only thing bigger than the responsibilities on Rustin’s shoulders were the targets on his back.
The 53-year-old known at the time as “Mr. March-on-Washington” was a lanky, cane-swinging, poetry-quoting black Quaker intellectual who wore his hair in a graying pompadour. He’d had a fleeting association with a communist youth group in the 1930s and had been a Harlem nightclub singer in the 1940s (and was still given to filling corridors and meeting rooms with his high troubadour tenor). He had gone to prison as a conscientious objector during World War II — he used his time there to take up the lute — and had been jailed more than 25 other times as a protester.
More on this

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Monday Up Periscope

I finally did it. I unplugged from the digital world this past weekend and escaped to the confines of my man cave. I wasn't sure if I could do it, even as the phone still rang and I knew that the e-mail pile would be a bit longer. Never mind any of it. I realized that I needed to take a break from both of my blazing computers and all things associated with them. However, as time would have it, I'm back at the boards to go for another round of COP 24/7. And not a minute too soon! So let's get started...

Birthday A-GO-GO

All I can say is WOW! Both James and I were tremendously thankful for all the well wishes, birthday shout outs, and all that comes with that special day. The blessing of having friends and acquaintances share your milestones always makes those events not only special but memorable. Usually I like celebrating my birthday quietly and without much fanfare. But the last two have been utilized to "party with  a purpose," which takes it to the next level to assist with benefiting others. I believe that we all can make a difference in some small way. No matter what your talent, expertise or role, each of us must believe that our legacies should consist of finding a charitable passion to get excited about as well as committed to. Don't get caught up thinking that "there's some one else to take care this or that problem." As a citizen, its all our duty to determine our course of action. If you are good leader, then by all means lead. If you are more of a follower, then follow. If you are joiner, then join but get engaged with the vision to make it happen. Don't stand on the sidelines while criticizing the situation but making no attempts to be the change that you are seeking. I challenge each of you to discover what you can do for our local organizations. There's plenty of opportunity to "give back" to any number of causes throughout the city. Share you time and treasure, its really worth it!

The Sidetracks Twofer

The guys and gals of Sidetracks blew out the weekend this past week with a throw down Luau on
Saturday night and Family Reunion Fish Fry on Sunday. If you missed it, then you should not have. There were plenty of grass skirts, coconut bras and hats ala Carmen Miranda style and of course that was what most of  the men were wearing. Drinks were flowing including many frozen fruity specials and lots of shots all around. Miss Gay Arkansas America, Zia Dyor made appearance after visiting other venues visiting with numerous fans and friends. There were plenty of regulars and visitiors alike that stomped until closing time. Sundays Annual Family Reunion Fish Fry was the bookend event that brought out not only some of the Saturday crowd, but a few faces that I hadn't seen in awhile. Todd and crew got a special dose of help from his mom who assisted with frying the fish and meeting and greeting everyone. Its as if she never forgets you and give you a big hug for the taking. There was plenty of hot catfish and all the fixings that you would expect. Big props for batch coooking the menu which kept everything tasty and fresh. Of course, there was lot's of cold beer and other libations offered by Matt, Terry and Chad. Thanks Sidetracks for another off the chain weekend where everyone is welcomed and almost everyone knows your name.

HIV Arkansas prepares to Walk

Michael Burks, Vice President of HIV Arkansas, has announced Saturday September 10th as a their first Annual HIV Awareness Walk fundraiser for the organization at 2 p.m. at the Jones Center for Families located at 922 East Emma Avenue in Springdale. The proceeds that are raised through this fund raiser will impact three worthwhile service organizations, HIV Arkansas, The Regional HIV Clinic (Fayetteville, Arkansas), and The Foundation for AIDS Research. These funds will make a huge impact on services, support, education, prevention, and research for a cure. Sponsorships can be accessed at and hit the donate button and specify that you are donating for the walk or you can mail a check directly to the organization at P.O. Box 9004 Fayetteville, AR 72703. You can also find the event on Facebook. Can we get a team from the central Arkansas area to support this effort? Hit us up if you are interested in sponsoring or participating. Let's hear from you today. HIV Arkansas is a 501c(3) non profit organization whose mission is to provide support and advocacy for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in the state of Arkansas.

DSRA Royalty Competition

September 17th at 9 pm, Triniti nightclub is the date for the Diamond State Rodeo Association Royalty Competiton.  Boots and Belles: An Evening of Royalty and Chairity will showcase the slate of candidates for the associations next Royalty Team. The evening will feature special guest and awards plus fundraising for The Living Affected Corporation. $5.00 admission Doors open at 8 pm

  The West Memphis Three: Past, Present and Future

In partnership with the Arkansas Times, the Clinton School will host a panel discussion featuring key players in the legal battle that culminated last week with a plea bargain to release Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., who served more than 17 years in prison after being convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis, Ark. Known as the "West Memphis Three," Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley long maintained their innocence and gained national attention to their fight for exoneration. Confirmed panelists include:

Pat Benca, attorney for Damien Echols
Scott Ellington, prosecuting attorney who negotiated the plea bargain
Blake Hendrix, attorney for Jason Baldwin
Mara Leveritt, Arkansas Times contributing editor and author of “Devil’s Knot”
Capi Peck, leader of Arkansas Take Action, which fought for exoneration of the WM3
Jeff Rosenzweig, attorney for Jessie Misskelley Jr.

When: Thursday, August 25, 2011
6:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion

Where: Clinton School of Public Service
Sturgis Hall

*Reserve your seats by emailing, or calling 501-683-5239.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rainbows Over Perfect Storms

Like many of you there's always music rolling through my head of some sort. Amazingly I have a wide love of many types of music ranging from classical to rap. I can also honestly say, I was a "little bit country when it wasn't cool," as well. Every now and then for no reason at all, a tune will pop up that seems to be right on time. Overnight it was the song "Clouds," by Chaka Khan that seemed to creep to the forefront as my current life soundtrack. I've always been a big Khan fan and have seen her in concert right here in Little Rock. Even though that performance may not have been her best, at least I got that chance of a lifetime. Its so sad that many of the great performers buzz through maybe once or twice, never to return. Written by the iconic composers, Ashford and Simpson, the song is an empowering anthem that states even though "it may rain and all my dreams will melt away like sand, no matter the heartache, no mater the rain, those clouds are not going to take away my sunny day." So much said in so few words. No wonder I like it so much as it bounces through my head while I'm throwing down this post. With that as a backdrop, lets see what else is barnstorming in the land....

COP 24/ Special
Living Affected CEO Speaks Volumes

Hello Folks,
These have been some tumultuous days (July 17the – August 17th).
I have spent 8 days in Chicago organizing a memorial service for an aunt,
· 3 days in Washington DC learning methods to organize young Black Gay Men,
· Memorialize my friend, LaPortia Sims whom died of complications due to AIDS after over 20 years of fighting it.
· Facilitating a HIV 201 class for outreach workers
· Organizing and leading a multi-state conference call on the Black Gay Men HIV Crisis
· Hosting the Consumer Advisory Board meeting
· Co-chairing the CPG meeting
· 4 days in Atlanta at the National HIV Prevention Conference to present on what HIV advocacy efforts are going on in Arkansas.

I believe I have done enough to say that I am tired. The problem is that it doesn’t and can’t stop here. We have a serious problem and “all that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.” WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT SEX! WE HAVE TO LOVE OURSELVES! Every life has a purpose that is related to the next persons. We really are our brother’s keeper.

At this point, if we continue denying the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to our LGBT community, then we are no better than those that watched idly by as the holocaust happened. This is genocide by way of apathy and prejudice. I am begging that every single person make a conscious effort to put their self-righteousness down and choose to love all. No one really needs your acceptance. We accept the fact that we have to pay taxes and figure out how not to every chance we get. No one needs your tolerance. We tolerate the existence of bugs but kill them when we see them. We need you to love us as you want to be loved.

If you feel the need to put your gay child out, look inside of yourself and figure out why your child’s sexuality bothers you so much. Could it be that there are people, like you, that may harm them? Then it is you that needs to be the first to change. You be the one less person. If you find yourself treating your gender variant child differently than you do the rest of your children, then look inside of yourself and find out why your son’s femininity or your daughter’s masculinity bother’s you. Could it be that you feel out of control? Then again, it is you that needs to check your control issues. Could it be that you feel that you have done something wrong in the upbringing of your child? The answer is no. You need affirmation and your child certainly does. DO SOMETHING! But if you can’t do anything else; DO NO HARM!

D. Levi,
CEO, The Living Affected Corporation

Faces of Distinction: SGL Men planning October Meeting

Various local groups are planning to collaborate in offering a "Faces of Distinction" session during the weekend meeting of The National Association of Black and White Men Together and Regional Midland being held in Little Rock, October 15, 2011. According to organizers, the event is being designed to address a variety of issues ranging from HIV/AIDS stigma, homophobia in the Black community to entrepreneurial pursuits. At this posting, interested individuals are encouraged to submit suggestions for additional topics or speakers. Contact, 612-2599 for more information. The host hotel is the La Quinta Inn & Suites downtown. To register for the Fall Midland Regional access the on line portal:   Volunteers, Contributors and in-kind donations are now being sought for this event.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Up in the Air COP 24/7

Have you ever had one of those days that everything is "up in the air?" Well, if you haven't, doesn't it seem like much of what's going on in the world is "up in the air." The 24 hour news cycle keeps us all teetering on the edges of our seats waiting to hear the latest gloom and doom. Its inescapable it seems as we go about our daily grind. Famine in Somalia, rioting teens in England, the Afghan mess, government gridlock, crime, and wacko economics. Its all their for us to consume each and every day. But, even as we believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, we go on. And certainly COP 24/7 moves on with what made the cut this outing.

Obamarama in a Swirl

President Obama just can't catch a break these days. The last few weeks have just not been good to the administration including the ongoing employment numbers, Wall Street rocking and rolling, and slings and arrows volleying from all angles. Now comes the Black Congressional Caucus shooting from the hip stating,m "Hey President Obama, where's the plan, Stan? If you want us to let go, then let us know?" Ouch! Its bad enough that Tavis Smiley and Cornell West has been on the prez's case, now comes the Black leaders from the Hill. What's a guy to do. Well, let's get on the bus. So Obama takes to the road on the governments new 11 Million dollar mega bus touring the Midwest to share his vision with small town folk before he goes on a 10 day vacation on Martha's Vineyard. Of course all this sound like routine presidential stuff right? Not on your life. The leader of the free World has been lambasted for all of it from a who's who list of detractors. Especially the Black Caucus which felt that Mr. O should have rolled through Detroit with its double digit unemployment rate reported  as a"real 50 percent" and crisis in the African American community. While speaking at a Job Fair in Detroit, Maxzine Waters voiced her frustration but added that "we're supportive of the President, but we're getting tired y'all." Plus the CBC is talking about being "unleashed" to confront the commander in chief. Oh brother! Holy Hope and Change! Meanwhile Obama has plans to again address the nation after Labor Day with more details on what's up. O.K. Mr. President this is getting kinda rough and it appears that folks such as Bauchman, Romney, Perry and god knows who else are circling the waggons. When you get rested, come on back and roll it out to the American people.

WE WERE HERE : 30 years of AIDS and counting

There have been many stories and accounts of the HIV/AIDS malaise that has roamed across the country. It seems that I can never get enough of these docu-dramas or documentary because each one has a unique sensibility or point of view that offers me a new insight. Such as the case with the upcoming "We Were Here" documentary slated to open in limited release September 9 after being screened at Sundance and other festivals. Perhaps it might get selected for the Hot Springs Documentary Festival later this year. The documentary covers the early years of AIDS, then known as "GRID" among other titles. It covers many of the personal stories of those who have survived since then plus examine the after effects of that era. Much of the story revolves around San Francisco's Castro district which I called home for a couple of years. I was their during the "post clone" era (does anyone remember that look?)  as the enclave began to morph into its present day form of city dwelling. I learned much from that experience, especially the fact that even though some thought of it as "OZ," it wasn't really. I can talk more about that later. In the meantime, enjoy this trailer and understand that those of who have survived will always remember our friends, relatives, partners and those we may never have known. I'm glad to know that I'm still here standing in the gap for all of them because they were here too. Peace.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Tuesday Hustle and Flow

I'm not sure how these days are slip, sliding away like they are, but all I know is that they are pressing on with a quickness. Wasn't it just January a few weeks ago? No matter its now the 3rd quarter of 2011 and busting a move toward the fall. With that said, this forum keeps busting it out as well with more of what we hope that you are looking for in news, updates, links, opinion and video. If you have not subscribed then you should. If you are not a follower, why the hell not?  Don't be left out the info loop because you never know we could be talking about you!


The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has been doing a "rope a dope" in the last few months with board members exiting, bloggers wise cracking and onlookers not sure what to make of it all. This is the outfit that dropped in and then dropped out the Obituary mash up earlier this year while trying to deal with its own in-house fire. At the nexus of their problems was former President, Jarrett Barrios, who resigned during the public meltdown involving sketchy decision involving the Federal Communications Commission.  Barrios was a firm supporter of broadening GLAAD's influence and moved to embrace a proposed merger between ATT& T and T-Mobile. Somehow, Barrios envisioned that this move would help gay people by improving their access to the Internet. Really? However, the mutual support was discovered to have some financial "glad handing" going on behind the scenes to which a few folks called a "foul." The organization has subsequently engaged Mike Thompson as acting President and charged him with clean up duty of this messy affair. He had rescinded GLADD's support of the merger, taken a "neutral" position on the issues and called a "time out" while up to 8 more board members took a walk from the organization. To date, Thompson has rebuffed suggestions that GLADD dissolve and has prepared to rehab the group image and message while continuing to do damage control. Thompson asserts that GLADD holds a space not to mention that there would be a void or vacuum in the GLBTQ community.  

Red Dirt: The Words and Artistry of Tim'm West

While I'm out on the road, even though I spend much of my times in meetings, its the networking and people watching which charges my batteries. Through all the stats, updates, charts and graphs, there is time to wind down and feel the vibe of fellow participants. Such was the case at the recent NASTAD BGM Technical Assistance meeting in Washington D.C. where I was boldly introduced to phenom, Tim'm T. West. The organization offered West and counterpart, KAOS, as apart of their "hip hop" programming portion of the meeting. At first I wasn't sure if this was for myself or if I was out of place for this performance. However as it stepped off, the words and music spoke to me on numerous levels and not to mentioned that I liked it. From his website West speaks volumes by stating that he is Black, gay-identified, feminist, POZ, and working class. He continues that he has embraced all of who he is and, with laser-beam precision, harnessed the power of his truth to illuminate, celebrate, inspire, provoke, and bear witness. As a teacher, performance artist, author, and culture producer, Tim'm has become an exemplar among contemporary Renaissance personalities of the early 21st Century as he brings others to voice through education for critical consciousness. Indeed, that Tim'm has been interviewed by such dizzying array of media outlets from Newsweek to the New York Times is a testament to his importance to the spirit and history of the times as a foundational maverick among black, multi-disciplinary artists. Even a restricted Google' search of just his name yields thousands of Internet occurrences. As an Educator and Scholar Mr. West affirms that his "foundation" can be found in the red dirt of Taylor, Arkansas where Tim'm grew up before leaving for Duke University where he completed his BA. From there, he went on to earn an MA in Liberal Studies/Philosophy from the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research in 1998 and another MA in Modern Thought & Literature from Stanford in 2002. On the secondary level, he served as the Department Chair of English and Creative Writing at the Oakland School of the Arts before relocating to Washington, DC where he taught in the English Department of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School. In various capacities, since 1995, Tim'm has also worked for College Summit, Inc. notably as a High School Coordinator in DC in 2006-07 helping to the build capacity of high schools to get more of their students into college. West not only performed but was a panelist on Black Masculinity during the meeting. He captured my attention at every turn with his frankness swathed in a edgy renaissance cloud of complexity. I've been rocking his CD "Songs from Red Dirt," in my ride ever since with one my favorites being the cut, "Red Dirt." His current outing is entitled "Fly Brotha's" available on his website at  West has appeared in films, Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Ryhmes and Pick up the Mike. I'd like to bring Mr.West here to this city to share his vibe, words, and inspiration to our gay youth. He stated to me that he would love the chance to do so and I believe he could offer a "wow" factor presentation. Can a brotha get some back talk, sponsorships, donations or a Hell yeah. I dare ya!!

The Names Game Signs Off

Remember my posts entitled "The Names Game" in reference to the mash up of e-mail list involving some local CBO's? Well in case you don't remember, Its was a hiccup that involved two similarly named entities. The Lucy M. Hamilton drop in center and Lucie's Place slated to address GLBTQ homelessness became a source of confusion for the Center for Artistic Revolution's e-mail list recipients whom shared their concern that their info had been usurped. Consequently there were meetings, dueling e-mails, misconceptions, alleged or perceived threats, creative differences and may be a kitchen sink or two. In my opinion, what it all boils down too is a much a do about not much. Except for the fact that there was an admission that their was some overlapping of e-mail addys that unexpectedly went out to those on the CAR list. Of course for those of you not in the NPO (non-profit organization) game, every name represents a "financial prospect" for your next fundraising cycle or volunteer opportunity. This aspect of running an organization is vital since forging those relationship with your stakeholders is apart of the life blood of organizations. Therefore, having mixed or confusing signals being forwarded could be problematic. Furthermore, this entire situation seems to have been plagued with mis-steps and mis-fires that from what I can assess probably didn't build any bridges of love. Unfortunately we reside in a small city with limited resources especially for the GLBTQ community. However, as we struggle to survive in these economic times, we all must "get out of the box"  with our revenue pursuits and activities. In the meantime, I want to continue to encourage those in the GLBTQ community who can give to continue to do so either in volunteer time, in-kind contributions, donations or bequeaths. It takes every dollar to make a difference. What have you done lately?  

Monday, August 15, 2011

A COP 24/7 Swing Out Monday

After a turbulent last week that included a roller coaster Wall Street episode, more economic punches, marauders roaming the land and enough spinning rhetoric to make one want to holla. Its living in America 2011 and if you have fastened your seat belt, then perhaps you should. Even though their much gloom and doom talk talk, don't despair because somehow, we all get through these rough patches that blow through our way. Therefore, as we filter out what's real and what's not factual, COP 24/7 will keep buzzing with our special brand of what's really going on. Let's go deeper, shall we....

Birthdays- R- US: Reflections and Rewards

This past weekend, myself and LTC JM continued our tradition to use our "birthday's" as a centerpiece to place focus on a worthwhile charity. This year we went with The Living Affected Corporation which promotes holistic, positive sexual and reproductive health for all. The organization has taken a distinct stance on African Americans MSM ( men having sex with men) who are dealing with both HIV/AIDS and co-morbidity issues while assessing messages that affect all marginalized communities. As the evening ebbed and flowed, we both were filled with many a range of emotions from concern to total elation. There were many well wishers who came out to let us both know that they wanted not only a night out but believed that the "party with a purpose" angle was unique. For myself personally, at times I was overwhelmed by folks I have not seen in awhile who shared antidotes and stories they remembered about interacting with myself. To my surprised, I heard from a few that stated they had been "scared" of me for one reason or another. When I inquired as to what was so scary about myself, they replied that it was the fact that I seemed to be assured, in control and undeterred to accept my sexuality or how life would impact it.  I thought to myself, I didn't realize that "being me as I perceived it," was having an impact on anyone. Especially while finding it out a couple of decades later. Yet throughout the evening, remarkably I was reminded many additional times that my choices, decisions, miscues and or failures have been on display like a big top circus for all to see. I've lived "out loud" and been proud about it unlike some others who had suffered self-esteem issues or shackled by stigma. Of course life wouldn't be complete without those who don't feel you or have formed a less favorable opinion of you because they've not taken the time to get to know you. It happens to all of us, no matter your social status or position. Yet this too I've taken in stride while continuing to keep moving ahead.  Apparently I've done it my way and many of you were applauding from afar and near and I thank you for that support. Ultimately what's been most rewarding is to have been fortunate to have had a partner who has shared both the spotlight and shadows within our relationship. Somehow we've always believed that its our destiny to try to make a difference beacuse making a difference begins with the man in the mirror. The power of one can be a force to be reckoned with if you just believe it can be done. 
To sum it all up, we both have been lucky to have navigated our extended families including weddings to funerals, meanwhile forging our own pathway to living and loving as a multi-racial, multi-cultural couple. We thank everyone who took the time to roll through, offer your well wishes, enjoy our food (big props to the Sidetracks team for set up and culinary donation) and let us know that in some small way we've touched your lives. We send you love, hope and encourage you to keep your heads to the sky as you find your way to live out loud!

And the Winner Is?

Alright, nobody's perfect when it comes to predicting things. And I'm the first congratulate, Zia D Yor as the new Miss Gay Arkansas America and Jazmyn Turelle as 1st Alternate. From what I learned it was a horse race with DYor nosing out Turelle at the finish gate. Each will go on to compete in the nationals, October 12-16 in Columbus, Ohio. I discovered some competition video on YouTube from a Facebook link. However, due to privacy issues and such, all I can tell you is to use you search abilities to find it. Often its a pain in the ass to get all these permissions and clearances to use imagery or video. But its what we have to work with and so we do what we can. In case you didn't know and as I always say,"most likely you don't," I hope that these guys know what they are getting in too or proposing to represent. Is all this competing to be "symbols of excellence," really about excellence or possible acension to "ego towers?" As I read the "job description" for Miss Gay America, I thought this is a heck of descriptive frame that these newly elected titleholders will have to subscribe too? Being apart of the "sisterhood" as well as the 40 year legacy can be daunting if not down right hard. But each year a group of guys go the limit to do it anyway.  In another interesting factoid, I believe this is the first time in its history that the top 2 are people of color. COP 24/7 wishes these two well on their quest to represent the state and offers a big high five to all who brought their talents to the competition. For more pagaent info go to or

Host Committee for NABWMT

When planning a national meeting in conjuntion with a regional meeting takes some doing. And that means that we need some volunteers to chime in on that planning. So, if you are interested in doing so, then share your thoughts to this forum. We'd love to hear from you. There are many volunteer opportunties for numerous upcoming activities and you can get in on being apart of making a difference. DO it TODAY!!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Freaky Friday Fall OUT

It's another TGIF and this posting is TA-DAH, number 683. Yes my pretties, that's six hundred eighty three COP 24/7 entries that have found their way from my cerebellum into this forum. Forever captured into my own cyberspace time capsule that will await future audiences to discover and ponder. I'm sure they'll be saying, "what was that guy thinking or who did he think he was? How about, "why did he take the time to put his thoughts on front street like that?"  For the record and for those who might have those questions right now, I never intended to go very far from the jump. When this new medium was unveiled, I thought how interesting that I could literally publish my observations, opinions and what have you, as I wished. Over the years I've dabbled with working for other media folk including the now defunct Southern Mediator Journal, which was at that time the only Black newspaper in the city. Let's just say that my experience with that joint was mixed with the good, the bad and the ugly. I remember working tirelessly with meager pay only to be fired by an ego driven bastard that lacked people skill among others. That venture later ceased publication and I smiled with a bit of glee. And yes there were others such as having a door slammed in my face by the Program Director at KOKY, going for what I thought was a possible internship interview with a News Director at KTHV Channel 11, only to be told by the receptionist that "he wasn't having a good day," and I guess he felt that I shouldn't have one either. When it comes to the sporadic local gay media, let just say I don't want to even think about it because most people just wouldn't believe it if I revealed the details. Perhaps if I get a chance to do a book, maybe folks would be interested in me spilling the beans on so many topics. Until then, let's get real and roll the dice this outing....

Let's Talk about SEX

Last week the CDC announced their latest findings concerning HIV/AIDS in the U.S. Even though the report cited some case "stability," it was the alarming facts that 48% of the new cases were among Black MSM from 13-29 and a 20% increase in the Latino community. This week the CDS's Dr. Donna McCree appeared on MSNBC to reiterate the news and reinforced that the issue of stigma is a significant element within linking individuals to care and issued a mandate that this health dilemma needs to "talked about" in the Black community without judgement. She concluded, that it should be in our day to day conversations and apart of any and all health regimens such as high blood pressure checks or diabetes. This approach has not gone unrecognized by local groups such as the Arkansas HIV Community Advocates, The Living Affected Corporation and the Community Advisory Board which have had spirited dialogue and strategies sessions dealing with the nuts and bolts of developing a new outlet for such messaging. Partnership are being explored with the Arkansas Department of Health, Future Builders among other allies that are being canvassed for input and overviews.  As programming develops, COP 24/7 will bring it to you first and wants to encourage readers, consumers and interested parties to share your thoughts with this forum. This process is not limited to organized entities, everyone and anyone who has something positive to offer to the discussion, would like to volunteer, suggest sponsorships or direct in-kind contributions are welcomed. Let you voices be heard!!

Social Media, COP 24/7 and U

Just getting this baby out can be hand full and then some. But even though I make it seems so easy some think that this stuff just rolls out without force. But trust me it takes effort, research and much reading while gathering the items that make the cut on a daily basis. Meanwhile with this plate being tossed about, we also toss about postings on Facebook plus a check in on MySpace, LinkedIn and if time allows Twitter. Some days its just too much!  The technology curve keeps this forum on a tight leash as we attempt to stay on the cutting edge of it all. Did you know that we've produced Podcast? By golly we have and a link to those archives will be added to our links section. Video's? Yeah we've posted those too and looking to produce our own home grown products as well. So, if any of you video guru's want to share your expertise, hit me up for some brainstorming. I'm not all about doing everything solo. Let's collaborate and make something unique happen. I know that we've got many talented individuals who need to share their energy and creativity with the masses. COP 24/7 is always looking for partnership and sponsorship opportunities to full fill our vision of empowering, educating and informing the GLBTQ community and beyond. Let's hear from you TODAY!! is Coming to Little Rock October 13-16, 2011 is a national social website for Butch and Femme lesbians and we are having a huge party right here in Little Rock at the Peabody Hotel, October 13-16 We have a very special performance by renowned poet and author Ivan Coyote as well as a keynote speech by author Dorothy Allison! There will be hundreds of Butch and Femme Lesbians from all over the United States and they say you will love this party. Obviously there's going to much going on this weekend including the The National Association of Black and White Men Together Inc.will be in town for their national board meeting in conjunction with its Midland Regional Meeting, being hosted at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites Downtown.( room rates of $76.50) For more info link to

This event includes a Meet and Greet, a Cabaret Night with performances, a Big Gay Prom, a Femme clothing swap, tons of bonding dinners, late-night pj parties and MORE!
At this time, if you are a Butch or Femme Lesbian from Arkansas we are offering a HALF PRICE registration fee to our party. Your registration fee will include ALL FOUR DAYS of the party, 2 buffet dinners, and free breakfast every morning! Regular rates are $95 per person but we love our Arkansas folks so much that we are giving half price discounts!
To register, go to our homepage at  and click on the party mask. Once you reach the information page, click "register" and enter our discount code "Razorback" on the registration page.
We hope that all of our Arkansas Butches, Studs, Bois, Femmes, Females, Ladies, etc. will come out and represent!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Talking Out Loud Thursday 2.0

When you finally realize that you are about to cross that five decades of living threshold, you stop and begin to think back. Way back, about the who, what, when and the WTF was I thinking about this or that situation. For a split second, you try to think that life hasn't passed you by and it has been good despite you may not have reached all your goals or pursuits. Then you look in the mirror, fully understanding that through it all, you're still holding you own even if no one else thinks so. After all of that, what you surmise is that you've got to take the attitude that "hey, I'm not just getting older, I'm getting damn better!"  Ultimately we all face the consequences that we are aging and as Jane Fonda states in her new book, "Prime Time", we've got to decide what our "3rd Act" is going to look like and who we are going to be within it. However, as we plan that state of mind, often we must deal with some internalize "ageism" from the younger set who attempt to put us in the "old box". Recently a trip with some of the young set brought this issue to my face with a vengeance. At first I didn't know what to think. Exactly who are they talking about? Of course, it's you fool. So now I'm now seen as an "old head," well they might like to think so, but I've got something for them. It's no secret that the lavender life is youth oriented as well as driven by its media, venues and culture. I'm not doubting any of that, but I want to make sure that those coming after me realize that they should be keenly aware of "ageism" that has devastating affects on aging gays and often goes unaddressed. Many older gays suffer from isolation, legal issues and economic insecurity that creates barriers and unique challenges as they prepare for retirement. While listening to Ms. Fonda on NPR's Diane Rheam Show, I came to the conclusion that perhaps subconsciously I've been planning for this time of my life. Even though those youngsters came at me kinda hard, I affirm that this "elder statement" is comfortable with his current position and will gracefully be respected otherwise. I am willing to share my life experiences with the young set in order for them to understand that my time "living the life" could be beneficial to those who will attempt to fill my shoes. Fonda concluded her set with saying continue to explore life anew everyday. Discover new languages, adventures, sports and growth from your failures. Thanks Ms.Fonda, I'm glad that I had your words to encourage me to keep kicking it and take it to new heights! Look out folks!   

Staying in the theme of Gray Gays, I wanted to share this piece to shed further light and scale up thoughts on this issue and offers a "teachable moment" across the board. As we disucss this issue, we have to also consider the angles of racial disaparities, health care access and other socio-economic factors.

COP24/7 Special:
Gray gays

Aging gay men and lesbians face unique challenges

by William J. Mann

Few gay or lesbian publications include groups for seniors in their resource listings. One Boston newspaper lists 18 support groups for gay and lesbian youth in New England, and only two for gay men and lesbians over 40. And though there are dozens of postings, resources, and chat groups for young gay men and lesbians on the Internet, it took a lot of digging to uncover a couple of bulletin boards about retirement. In fact, there seems to be only one organization specifically geared toward the needs of aging lesbians and gay men. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the New York-based Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE) has 12 chapters in the United States and Canada.
"I'd say the biggest problem facing gay seniors today is this sense of isolation," says Richard Bannin, executive director of SAGE. "Many of today's seniors did not have the benefit of spending their adult lives as out gay men or lesbians. . . . Many only came out later in life and so do not feel connected [with the gay community].
That dynamic may change, however. According to Bannin, the older gay and lesbian population will continue to grow: every year, an estimated 400,000 gay men and lesbians in the United States turn 50. And as more people with AIDS live longer thanks to new drug combinations, we may see a dramatically increased senior gay population within the next decade.
Even so, retirement remains a mystery for most gay men and lesbians. Larry from Seattle (who, like many gay seniors, requests that his last name be withheld) writes in an America Online (AOL) gay retirement area: "I'm turning 50 and I realize I haven't a clue as a gay person where or how to retire. Has anybody got ideas? I know that AIDS and surviving/living [with] HIV has taken up a lot of our energy, but what are we all going to do in our old age if and when it comes?"
Lydia Carlson, 60, who lives in Alberta and frequently posts on AOL, muses in a phone interview that "lesbians have been dealing with this maybe a modicum better than gay men.
"Possibly the reason more gay men haven't thought more about it," she adds, "is because so many have died, so many never lived to the point where they'd have to confront the issues of old age.

Aging heterosexuals must worry about financial security and health, too, of course, but gay seniors lack the societal protections that heterosexuals often take for granted. The lack of marriage rights and spousal benefits, says Bannin, is particularly hard on the older gay population. As in Hank's case, when one partner dies, the surviving spouse may not be allowed to remain in the home they shared. The right to make decisions for an ailing spouse, or even just visit a spouse who's been hospitalized, is also a big concern.
While more companies are now providing domestic partnership benefits for employees, those benefits have come too late for most gay seniors. "I wish I could've been covered under James's plan," Hank says. "He had wonderful coverage. I have practically nothing."
The problem of economic security is particularly hard on working-class gay men and, especially, lesbians. Historically, women have made less money than men, and this is reflected in their retirement benefits. "Sometimes a lover can supplement that," Carlson says. "But even then it's not much. Two women's income is not the same as the income of one man and one woman."

"AIDS is a very real problem among seniors, although they don't get much attention," adds SAGE's Bannin. "Many AIDS programs and services are frequently dominated by younger people. In group therapy, for instance, many of the issues are particular to younger people, and seniors feel excluded."
Other disabilities can also make life difficult for lesbian and gay seniors. One 58-year-old lesbian from Western Massachusetts says in an online posting that her arthritis keeps her away from the women's hiking trips she used to enjoy; even the women's music festivals are too difficult for her. "It keeps me at home," she writes. "How am I ever to find a lover at home? Is this how I'm destined to spend my retirement?"
Bannin agrees that openly gay and lesbian retirement homes are an idea whose time may have come. "People who have been out their whole lives," he says, "are not going to go back into the closet in a nursing home or in a retirement community."

The demand for such programs will only grow as the openly gay population continues its inexorable march toward retirement age. In the meantime, though, gay seniors often find themselves ignored or reviled by the larger gay community. "I found one bar that I liked, for a while," says Hank of Boston. "Then I heard a young man call it a `trolls' hangout.' I had never realized until then that younger gay men would consider me a troll."
Lydia Carlson notes that older lesbians may get a bit more respect from their younger sisters, but not much. "There comes a time when you realize you're not being asked out anymore, not invited to places," she says. "That's when you say, `Oh, I must be getting old.' "

Hundreds of thousands of gay seniors may suffer such feelings of isolation, Bannin says, and he wants to reach out to them. Whether that be through socials, political advocacy, or SAGE's pen-pal program, the need is there. "And this is a population that will only get larger," Bannin repeats. "Are we prepared for the challenge?"

Party with a Purpose
Don't forget to come party with a purpose, Saturday Aug. 13, 2011 at Sidetracks, 415 Main Street, 8 p.m. It's all about bring some awareness and fundraising for The Living Affected Corporation, a local community based organization with sexual health programming and addressing HIV/AIDS in the state. For more info on contact,  or reach out and touch at 877-902-7HIV