Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The 365 of Same Gender Loving

The LGBTQ Six Degrees of Separation

I continue to be amazed at the "six degrees of separation," construct where somehow, some way we can connect from "here to there," to share thoughts or observations. Case in point, in attending a national conference last year I "connected," with the Counter Narrative project which gathered brothers together to amplify our lived experiences from various angles.

From their I found myself again "connected," with numerous other creative folks linked to various networks that led to Journalist Steven Thrasher,(pictured far right) an at large writers at The Guardian, who reached out to find out who he could "connect," with in Arkansas concerning our recent crazy legislation business, as well as, seeing "what's really going on here," in the Natural State. Here's the link to his story:
As usual I responded to keep making "connections," with area individuals such as Frederick Gentry (pictured right) whom shared his viewpoints on area politics and living in the state. I believe that all these connections were fulfilling for all parties involved and showed the power of networking and linking voices with faces to demonstrate the impact of any legislation.

Meanwhile, Steven also has been busy with a bevy of other pursuits including being a Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Fellow in American Studies at New York University, as well as, being a man writing about LGBTQ subject matter for the past seven years.

In his recent Guardian video piece its stated that "the only way he can make sense of the world is to embrace the fact that he's a queer, reporting on a queer world. How else to explain why black people use cannabis at comparable rates to whites, but go to prison for it almost four times as often? Or why the global community will declare 'je suis Charlie' for 12 people killed in France, but remain largely silent about 2,000 Nigerians massacred the very same week?"   I totally enjoyed my encounter "six degree," encounter with this journalist, advocate, fellow writer and man who owns the word queer as he sees it.


COP 24/7 Updates : AIDS Foundation 411   
In our ongoing series addressing LGBTQ businesses and organizations, COP 24/7 cited that someone at the Arkansas AIDS Foundation had posted a job listing on Indeed.com concerning a open position at the agency. We also learned that actually the newly created position had also been privately leaked
to possible candidates ahead of the actual posting which although not criminal nor perhaps totally out of bounds but from our perspective it didn't smell right on several levels. Meanwhile, all of this activity has occurred as the agency recently announced its Annual AIDS Walk, April 11 in Mac Arthur Park.
In our rummaging around this affair, we posted that current Executive Director, Portia K. is slated to leave her post in June. The online position post seemed to serve as a "twofer," listing which would allow the agency to capture information about any candidates that responded to the "public relations," position apparently also got vetted for the ED slot. 
Yet even with all this supposedly interviewing going on, COP 24/7 "heard," that agency case manager, Mr. Larry H. had been "chosen, appointed, anointed or what have you," as the heir apparent to the position. We've been awaiting an official announcement from the agency which has yet to materialize about all of this.
Now let me be clear, agencies certainly have the power to what they want to. However, how much of this was done doesn't fall in the non-profit best practices category nor does it speak well for the agencies leadership succession process that apparently did include board interaction or decisions. Also as a City of Little Rock HOPWA sub contractor, I would think that their primary funder would be concerned as to their hiring practices in regards to labor laws, privacy issues or internal policies. Especially since the agency has publicly aligned themselves with city department weather scheduling.
To further demonstrate more oddity to this situation was a 2/26/15 "Facebook," announcement from board member,  MR. J.K. Hardnett, sharing that he was accepting the position as the new Public Relations Specialist for the organization. Wow all I can say is those HOWPA dollars must multiply like those "two loaves and five fishes," to supply funding for this agency. At this point, we must stop and poise the question, "what the heck is going here?" As soon as we may be able to sort it out, we'll update...please stay tuned!!!


Jason Burch was a pitcher in the minor leagues for six seasons and played for four Major League Baseball franchises. He did so as a gay man.

Burch confided in some teammates who asked but was still largely closeted when he left the sport in 2008 to pursue a law degree and now has successful career in law.  "Looking back, I wish I had told the whole world that I'm gay from day one,' as recalls his story in Outsports magazine.

As a closer, he was used to teammates relying on him to seal a victory and now wishes people could have had that feeling about him knowing he is a gay man  "I think that would have been a powerful message,' he says. 'If we are talking about changing people's opinions, I do think that would have been a powerful message. But I wasn't really thinking about that at the time."
But some teammates knew - because they simply asked.During a game in his final year, a pitcher from Latin America asked Burch if he had a girlfriend. He replied: 'I'm not interested in girls. I'm gay. And I don't have a boyfriend.'But he did his fair share of under the radar dating.
'"I came of age as a gay man in those six years,' he says. 'It was difficult because the only way I could regularly meet men was on the Internet, and that's just not how I relate to people. I like to see how people talk and listen. That's the only way I can take an interest in a man, to see him talk and see him walk. So that was the real difficulty for me, the means by which I could reliably meet men, sites like Manhunt and Gay.com and Adam4Adam."

Major League Baseball meanwhile still awaits its first active openly gay player. US soccer has Robbie Rogers, the NBA had Jason Collins and the NFL will have Michael Sam if a team ever takes him on. Meanwhile, we continue to applaud these extremely talented men and women who are blazing pathways for those who will follow in their footsteps. ( sources GSN, A gatekeeper I am)

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