Men’s Health & Pride (Part 2)
By Stephanie Barbee | Jun 22, 2021
In the previous blog post (link here), we talked about some considerations for Black men and Black LGBTQIA+ individuals. We briefly looked at and considered some of the challenges these communities face. Now let’s dig deeper into how to do this.
- Explore your biases/judgments/perspectives. Before engaging with the Black LGBTQIA+ community or even with cisgender black males. It is important to take a look at yourself. Why do you hold the views you hold? What have been your experiences, if any, with individuals who identify as gay? As lesbian? As transgender? How have you understood their experiences in the world? How have you understood the way their experiences shape their perspective? How have you understood how your experiences shape your perspective? What, if any, influence does the faith community you belong to or grew up in have? What automatic assumptions do you make about others based on how they show up in the world? Is there an “acceptable” or “appropriate” way from your perspective to show up within spaces for individuals who hold these identities? What stereotypes do you have about individuals who have one of these identities? How is your bias/judgment/perspective apparent in how you communicate verbally and non-verbally? What perceived risk might I intentionally or unintentionally impose on this community through my involvement? Who do I benefit from my interactions/involvement with this identified individual?
- Research! How knowledgeable are you about black marginalized issues? Even if you identify as black, male, or within the LGBTQIA+ community, what blind spots may exist? Even when you find information, who did the information come from? What benefit did they receive from how this information is presented? Who does the presentation of this information potentially harm? What questions remain from what information was presented? How might one go about finding the answers to questions that are not answered in research? What is the source of this information, and what is their motivation for providing this information?
- Seek to create genuine relationships. In the previous blog post (link here), I stated that there are rewards for assimilation and sameness. In what ways has this reward influenced the way you show up in a relationship with individuals who dare to be different? What may barriers to genuine relationships be present for you? What barriers might be present for the individual you are seeking to enter a relationship with?
One of the most important things to note in this blog post is that cisgender black males and individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community are more like us than different. They get insecure; they get anxious and scared. They desire to have the opportunity to experience love, joy, and delight. They desire to have individuals who see their value and have a sense of belonging. The way that we show up in the world has historically and presently been impacted greatly by violence, both overtly (through words and
actions) and covertly (through policies and “rules”).
Acceptance is universal in desire, but unfortunately, still a rare occurrence in reality. How can you be a part of that change? Lastly, it is important to note that although cisgender females are not addressed in this particular series, many of these same considerations could be taken with the suggestions provided to engage with all people.
About The Author
Stephanie Barbee is a Clinical social worker in Missouri. She serves Black people across the sexual identity and gender identity spectrum seeking to approach therapy from a holistic (mind-body-spirit) perspective or explore spirituality more deeply. She can be found on the clinicians of color directory here: https://www.cliniciansofcolor.org/clinicians/spectrum-of-healing-llc/