Friday, March 23, 2012

A TGIF Voices Carry

The week has been rough and tumble from all directions. So many topics, so many issues, and so many points of view to consider. Since its inception, this forum has weaved and wobbled in and out of various territories while establishing our voice. The course I took was uncharted and the impact was unknown. However, through growth, experimenting and further understanding of the medium, I came to realize that this forum could be a viable communication piece to offset the lack of few alternatives. I have heard far too many times the question: "why doesn't this city have a gay newspaper or magazine?" Well, the answer is very simple. Such ventures not only take a significant cash infusion, but an overwhelming support of steady advertisers and a LGBTQ community that is willing to support it despite its position on issues. Especially when such issues become uncomfortable or too edgy for those with thin skins.  As a provocateur, COP 24/7 has sought to speak to issues and dilemmas that often go unmentioned, unreported and dismissed by much of mainstream media. Not to mention even though many of you are "thinking" about any numerous topics, many don't "man up"and say what's on their mind. It takes guts to speak to power or call a spade a spade. COP 24/7 has always taken the position to bring any and all matters to the table for examination or re-examination. Whether it be fragmentation within the LGBTQ community or the patchwork system attempting to assist those living infected with HIV and AIDS. For the record, along with critiques I've offered many solutions and suggestions as to how to make things better. If anybody took it to heart, I would not know.  Let's face facts, only a thimble full of LGBTQ issues or concerns are reported. Furthermore when such attempts are made, the media has to hit up the "usual suspects" with a few other brave souls willing to comment. Otherwise, LGBTQ news is found capsulized or minimized to a point of insignificance wrapped in a sound bite. Although this forum goes the distance to cover a variety of items, it is far from perfect. Yet what's most strident about this platform is that I take the time and effort to make it happen. I've welcomed and encouraged others to the cyber public square. I even sought an individual or entity to produce COP 24/7 but there were no takers. Upon my decision to end this forum, I heard from many of you who wanted a continuation because what you found here wasn't being produced elsewhere. And so we go on, standing in the information breech  full well aware of our responsibilities and cognizant that words can wound sometimes, but steadfast in keeping it real.

Voices Carrying to COP 24/7
The following item was apart of a two part comment concerning our post in reference to Lucie's Place.The writer, Board President P. Poppers cites this forum for its observations and perceived marginal outlook on the project. It is unedited and presented as sent.

"but I've learned that all that glitters is simply not gold"

Where is the glitter, Cornelius? Homeless kids, sexual and physical assault from parents, discrimination and flat out refusal of service from shelters, attempts and successful suicides. I see no glitter anywhere. Please let me know where the glitter is, I would do anything for some sort of glitter, anywhere. Even glitter in the eye would be better than the situation that currently exists for these youth. Have you ever gotten glitter in your eye? I can tell you it is a less than ideal situation.

The board of Lucie's Place knows that this won't be easy, we aren't stupid or dense. If it was easy, we would not be having this (one sided) conversation, a shelter for Queer and/or Trans young adults would exist already. The board has already poured much of our (valuable) time into this project and we all know that we have much, much more to pour.

"However it appears that there's much optimism about the road ahead..."

Yes, we have optimism out of necessity. The situation is grim, people are dying, many people have no hope. If the board of Lucie's Place wasn't optimistic about the future of the project, why would we even begin? If we simply listened to all the criticism being thrown at us, we would have never begun this project in the first place. We would not have begun because we have heard people tell us that we shouldn't try, it's impossible. I would like to think that all of this criticism is coming from a place of hope, or tough love, and maybe it is. But the it’s a little too tough and inching from love to abuse. This project isn't, in fact, impossible. Incredibly difficult, yet. If things didn't begin simply because they were incredibly difficult, where would you, or Diedra, Randi, or Suzanne Pharr be? Would have Women’s Project, AR AIDS Brigade, AR Gay & Lesbian Task Force, AR Equality Network, AR Act UP!, LACorp, CAR, or all the others I am not listing ever started? If projects were not started simply because they were difficult, the world would be a terrible place, more terrible than it already is. They all began with people telling them that it would be difficult.

We have hope. If we didn't have hope, who would? From the tone of this post and the previous post about Lucie's Place, it is pretty clear to me that you don't have much hope for Lucie's Place. I am pretty certain that was not your intent, but that is how it was read. What if Lucie's Place goes under, are you going to be the first to publicly say "I told them so"? Instead, why not send us an e-mail, or meet with us and discuss your concerns? Why not share your insight now, instead of later? And let's say Lucie's Place goes under, would you view it all as a waste of time? What about the young adults who have told me that I was the first nice, understanding person they had ever met. What about the young adults who were days, or hours away from a suicide attempt, but gained hope from a conversation or meeting with someone at Lucie's Place? What if Lucie's Place just saved one life? Would it be worth it to you? Would it be simply a waste of time?

I applaud Poppers for the passion and sharing in this ""one sided" conversation. Having such zeal and vigor will be central to the success of the project. Let me be clear, I didn't use the words "stupid" or "dense" to illuminate any actions. I have no reason for such a description nor have I implied such. If the organization's board is doing its homework, then great. Continue to move forward with your vision. Just for the record, I've witnessed and listened to much despair and injustice in my five decades of life. I stepped to the plate many years ago, dealing with youth displaced or discarded, I've held individuals in my arms in the midnight hour who had failed at their suicide attempt, questioning bar carding policies and other overt racism that was prevalent in this community, testified before the Arkansas Legislature whom wanted to "stem the tide of homosexuality on state campuses," I've looked into the eye's of mothers whom had watched their son's wither and die from a then unknown disease and yes, the idea of having destination places for the LGBTQ community was apart of my chorus of seeking human rights and social justice for all. So I'm no stranger to saving life's because I've been at it for some time. We all have our place in the struggle to help our fellow brother or sister and I hope this project and any others to come will offer hope universally.  


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