The Marriage Equality Conundrum in the Black Community
Its a hotly debated issue and is apart of the raging Culture Wars that have been ramping up on all fronts. I've read and viewed stories from all angles including a interesting commissioned film entitled, "Black Love: The Quest for Marriage Equality, from the National Black Justice Coalition. The civil rights organization supporting black gay, lesbian and transgendered people created the film to celebrate Valentine's Day 2012 but has been viewed as a learning and empowerment piece.
The film follows four black gay and lesbian couples and includes footage of some of the first married couples in D.C. and offers a perspective that its all about choices and life changing decision of those individuals whom choose to seek marriage. According to NBJC's media center the film was to celebrate the uplifting stories of Black gay and lesbian couples who have courageously stood on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality.
It examines the special rewards and challenges of same gender relationships, how marriage equality can be apart of the solution to structural and economic issues faced by many Black families in conjunction to bringing acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the black community. Personally I haven't taken a position on the issue. I believe that as we embrace such coupling, I would be hopeful that many of the other issues and dilemmas such as racism, sexism, internalize homophobia and ageism could get some of the energy that's being mounted for marriage equality. These issues haven't faded from view nor impact on many of the youth that are now navigating their way to adulthood. I've mentioned the story of "Bianca" who I met during a recent youth conference whom expressed that her ethnic make up was always front and center of journey. I 've heard from other young folk who feel that they are being stereotyped, "profiled" and doused with perceptions even before they open their mouths. Its no secret that many of the large LGBTQ organizations continue to be headed by no people of color. Even the supposedly "Power List" had no women of color and only a limited amount of Black men who were considered among the powerful. If anyone wants to get married, more power to them. Yet from my vantage point, there's so many more social determinants impacting the SGL community from housing dilemmas to criminalization that will not allow many caught up in that mix to be concern about "jumpin any body's broom" anytime soon. Why try to make house when there's no house, no job, no health care, and nobody giving a damn in the mean time. None of this mash up makes for a happy ever after for anybody. Enjoy the clip, check out more at www.nbjc.org
Statement from Secretary Sebelius on Older Americans MonthIn May, we recognize Older Americans Month -- a tradition dating back to 1963 to honor the many contributions of our nation’s older citizens. This year's theme “Never Too Old to Play” encourages older Americans to stay active in their own lives and in their communities. Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. With the aging of the baby boomer generation – the largest in America’s history – our senior population is expected to number 72.1 million by 2030. This increase will present all of us with tremendous opportunities, as well as, new challenges.
Keeping our nation’s older citizens and their families healthy is a top priority of the Obama administration. At the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we are working to expand access to affordable, high-quality health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 5 million people with Medicare saved an average of $635 on the cost of their prescription drugs in 2010 and 2011. Individuals with Medicare prescription drug coverage who had to pay for drugs in the “donut hole” coverage gap received a one-time, tax free $250 rebate from Medicare for prescriptions and a 50 percent discount on many brand-name medications. The donut hole will be closed by 2020 as a result of the health care law.
We know that preventing disease before it starts helps people live longer, healthier lives. The new health care law is giving older Americans greater control over their own health by providing many free preventive services in Medicare such as flu shots, mammograms, and an annual wellness visit so seniors can spend more time with their doctors. In 2011, more than 32.5 million seniors took advantage of one or more preventive services covered without cost-sharing.
Through the Affordable Care Act and other efforts underway at HHS, we are working hard to ensure that older Americans of today and tomorrow are able to age healthy in their homes and communities.
To learn more about Older Americans Month visit http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Press_Room/Observances/2012/Older_Americans.aspx.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and seniors visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/careact.pdf.
To see videos about seniors and the Affordable Care Act visit http://www.healthcare.gov/videos/2010/06/seniors.html.