Often left out of Black history and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) history are the voices and stories from Black LGBT History.
That is why, expanding on the success of an event last year, the San Francisco Black LGBT community is presenting the second annual Black LGBT History Experience “Generations,” celebrating the lives of Black LGBT Americans who having been paving the way.
The free event will offer film entertainment, food and STD/I testing. The evening will feature the stories of over 100 Black LGBT movers and shakers, past and present, from dance legend Alvin Ailey and actress Nell Carter, to the nation’s first Black gay and lesbian out mayors of Atlanta, Georgia, Ken Reeves and Keisha Cunningham.
The idea of focusing on Black LGBT history started small in 2010, with members of Black Brothers Esteem (BBE), a group of African American gay, bisexual and same gender-loving men who were concerned about the lack of Black LGBT history and desired to host a separate event within Black History Month.
Micah Lubensky, community development manager of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and co-facilitator of the group, said that one’s history plays an important role in creating a healthy individual and community.
According to Lubensky, “A sense of well-being about one’s history is important in helping to feel internally that it’s a positive thing to be gay.” One of the reasons for the high rates of HIV has to do with self esteem issues. If people valued themselves more, felt their lives were more worthy, they would protect themselves.
Black communities are not more, or less, homophobic than any other communities, but for Black LGBTs, the consequences of homophobia may be more devastating, because the community’s protection on the question of race is needed.
Knowing one’s history and knowing one’s lineage as contributing members to society give a person a sense of pride in themselves as opposed to the limited and mostly negative representation in the media. Healthy identity is based on being comfortable with who you are.
The evening’s entertainment will include spoken word artists, and a hip-hop performance from the group “Culture Shock”. Short films will be shown, and graphic artwork will be displayed by Bay Area local artists like Black Berri, who has been photographing since 1978.
Three LGBT youth artists – Paul Wright, Lester Bloom and 30-year-old Suzanne Robinson – will also how their works.
In a climate of continued racial oppression, pervasive homophobia and stigma, it is time to embrace the incredible history and journey of all Black people in America and to use the lessons we learn to inform how we think of HIV and how we fight the disease.
The “Generations” Black LGBT History event will be held Friday, Feb. 10, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at 2278 Market (former Tower records) in San Francisco.
For more information call 510-575-8245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.