African American female service members comprise the highest percentage of women in the military. And with these sister servicewomen enlisting in the military at higher rates than their White, Asian and Latina sisters to serve and die for our country, the last thing the military should be squawking about is our hair. In March the Army released an updated policy on appearance and grooming, titled ”AR 670-1,” limiting or banning hairstyles — braids, twists, cornrows, and dreadlocks — inimitable to African American women.
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As the country becomes more accepting of the civil rights of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans, it is also beginning to reexamine its language used to demeans us. In last month’s New York Times’ article “The Decline of the ‘H’ Word,” Jeremy Peters wrote that while the word “homosexual” for the most part is “inoffensive,” “outdated,” and perhaps “innocuous,” the word nonetheless is viewed by many in our LGBTQ community as a pejorative term. According to George P. Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the UC, Berkeley, because many still associate the word “homosexual” with sexual deviance, the preferred terms are “gay” and “lesbian.”
“Gay doesn’t use the word sex,” Lakoff said.
When NBA center Jason Collins came out last year, it was the moment the professional sports world had been waiting for: a gay athlete currently playing in a major league who comes out publicly. And what many may not have known is that the professional sports world had also hoped it would be an African American male. What the African American community and the professional sports world of football and basketball (which is comprised of a brotherhood of predominantly men of African descent) desperately needed was an openly gay male professional athlete, one who would bravely dispel the myth that there are no queer athletes in those sports, while assisting the NFL and NBA leagues in their attempts to denounce homophobic epithets, bullying and discrimination.
While I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn’t have a patent on homophobia, it does, however, have a problem with it. Black homophobia still has a deadly hold on African American life. And while I would like to say its oppressive grip only impacts lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of African descent, in truth, Black homophobia maims the entire community.
For the past decade now, when this holiday season rolls around we can always count on a yearly kerfuffle from someone from the Right — the continuing war on Christmas. That this annual present comes this year from a host on Fox News is no surprise. On her recent show The Kelly File, Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly ignited a conflagration when she stated that both Jesus and Santa Claus are White.
The one thing you don’t expect to see in any of the Bible Belt states (where most have amended their constitutions to define marriage between one man and one woman) is an organization promoting polyamory. Last month at Atlanta’s Pride Parade the group Atlanta Polyamory Inc. did just that — and in the wide-open light of day. The result was the shock, awe, and disgust of a mixed group.
There are numerous hagiographies on the Matthew Shepard murder. Twenty years after Shepard’s murder, they’re being challenged. Are we ready for the tale investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez, himself gay, spins?
Every Monday morning Alex (not his real name) and I met for breakfast at our favorite dive in Harvard Square. I would notice visible bruises and cuts on his face, arms, and legs, but assumed the black and blue marks were simply par for the course for a guy who enjoyed the rough-and-tumble adrenaline high that come with playing weekend scrimmage football. I don’t recall a time when Alex didn’t have a knot on his head, a cut on his lip, a bite into his skin, welts on his arms or stitches.
Pope Francis continues to send seismic shock waves across the globe with his liberal-leaning pronouncements. And they are the most affirmative remarks the world has ever heard on the dicey subjects of abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage. ”We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.
Pastor Donnie McClurkin, an uber-star in the stratosphere of Black gospel music, learned his light was extinguished before boarding his plane to perform at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. McClurkin was scheduled to be one of the singers at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during the “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King” event, but D.C.’s mayor, Vincent C. Gray, dispatched the following statement responding to LGBTQ activists’ outcry of McClurkin’s appearance. “The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together.