Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rainbow Spotlights and Highlights

Even though I've been seeking content contributors or item of interest from parties that would like to showcase their work, so far the response has been nothing more than "crickets." Imagine that? I realized that the new frontier of the Internet is now allowing folks to say almost anything, any time or anywhere. So I guess my asking individuals to share their thoughts here doesn't seem to warrant the attention that one would think. So we go on with bringing you fresh content and sourced materials from unique places. Case in point is my discovery of the website Healthy Black Men which contains a variety of interesting items and topics that had me searching the site with vigor. Now for those of you who want to go left with the backtalk, "why is there a Healthy Black Men website as oppose to a "Health White Men" site,?" Well that's because there are plenty of outlets that target the health of white men when there's not such for men of color. Its just that simple. Now with that said, I hope that you will enjoy the piece below that features the story of Nevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson. His story is important to me because this forum has always been about demonstrating that none of us can assume anything about who is apart of the rainbow spectrum. If you've got a coming out story that you want to share, you can always do it in this medium. Have a great week and keep coming back to COP 24/7 for all our best!

Coming Out’ is Healthier
Being open about their sexual orientation offers health benefits for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, according to a new study. But it also underscores the recent ‘Coming Out’ of state Nevada senator, Kelvin Atkinson.

Researcher Robert-Paul Juster, of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at the University of Montreal’s Louis H. Lafontaine Hospital said “Our goals were to determine if the mental and physical health of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals differs from heterosexuals and, if so, whether being out of the closet makes a difference.”
kelvinHe and his colleagues looked at 87 men and women, about age 25, who had different sexual orientations (gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual) and found that lesbians, gays and bisexuals who were out to others had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression and burnout. When a person is under chronic stress, cortisol contributes to “wear and tear” on a number of the body’s systems. This strain is called allostatic load, the study said.

It was just April 22nd when the Nevada state senate debated a measure that would allow voters to repeal the State’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The chamber debate made national news when Nevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson, supporting repeal of the ban, announced: “I’m 44 years old. I have a daughter. I’m Black. I’m gay. I have dealt with a lot of what folks are talking about…If [gay marriage] hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place.”

What was most powerful about Sen. Atkinson’s testimony was the recognition of his intersecting identities as a means for challenging beliefs that serve to further marginalize and oppress the LGBT community. Through acknowledging that he is a Black Gay Man who also happens to be an established lawmaker and father, Sen. Atkinson provided an alternative narrative and face to what it means to be gay. As a result, he was able to boldly challenge the arguments of his colleagues by simply being visible.

The public proclamation made Senator Atkinson the fifth openly LGBT member of the Nevada legislature and the first openly Black gay man to hold legislative voting power in the State. Nationwide, many LGBT people and allies praised the Senator for his courageous decision to “come out” and share with his colleagues how homophobic comments have personally affected him. The moment also demonstrated the impact openly identifying as gay, and discussing the experiences attached to that identity, can play in inspiring others and generating social change. And if research is any indication, ‘coming out’ of the closet may also be a good way to relieve anxiety and mental stress.

Mr. Corey Yarbrough is a co-founder of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. He serves as a Contributor for Healthyblackmen.org.

No comments: