PRIDE DIARY

June 6 2018 - Jamal Evan Mazyck, Ed.D.

Pride Should Be Inclusive…Period.

Pride means many things to me. Initial thoughts brought me to a place where I needed to define
“pride”. What does pride even mean? From an identity standpoint, pride should be a celebration
of who you are. I was raised to celebrate my Blackness. That was something engrained in me
from an early age. In addition to church events, our family celebrated who we were by doing
small but fun things like going to see movies such as I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, The Last
Dragon, Boomerang, and dare I say Meteor Man. My parents also put me on to books beyond
what was force fed in grade school. Yes, they made me read Roots immediately followed by The
Autobiography of Malcolm X in eighth grade for school when everyone else in my English class
was reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. These
celebrations were also large-scale holidays like Juneteenth festivals and weddings where folks
jumped over broomsticks and such. Miss me with that Kwanzaa mess though (yeah, I said it). As
an adult, pride to me however has evolved into celebrating who I am as a gay Black man so I
asked myself, “what does pride mean to me now?”

Today I still do small things like going to the movies, “Wakanda Forever” and read works from
James Baldwin, bell hooks, and Michael Eric Dyson (feel free to judge) as of late. The jarring
question now is where does my Blackness fit in with LGBTQ pride and pride celebrations? With
so much commentary on how divisive the LGBTQ community can be through colorism,
whiteness, and white privilege, I often wonder where I fit in.

Pride festivals nationwide throughout June and July are filled with advertisements catering to
white male gays and it can be difficult to find one’s place as an LGBTQ person of color let alone
someone Black anywhere on that spectrum. For me, pride means inclusiveness. The larger
LGBTQ pride festivals in major cities have historically been sponsored by large corporations
with white men at the helm. There seems to be a parallel between the sponsors and how the
festivals are planned. From the entertainment acts, to the advocacy organizations and even
exhibiting adoption agencies, whiteness is everywhere. I will say however, the folks that put
together Long Beach Pride are great about representation and including LGBTQ people of color
in planning. This is evident in their recent entertainment lineup for starters.

#RepresentationMatters is a hashtag I have always used when referencing anything related to
inclusiveness and as an educator, this is of utmost significance considering where we are in the
world. Instead of further assessing the current white male majority at pride festivals, I treat these
events as weekends of public service. I have felt that as an active participant, I can make my
voice be heard through volunteerism, particularly with causes I think are actually inclusive in
action, not just in name.

The folks over at Equality California have always made me feel welcome and the advocacy work they do speaks to my political acumen and also allows for others to see that advocacy and pride is not just for white gay men. Whether registering folks to vote or collecting signatures to push through inclusive legislation so that we can live more freely, equally, and equitably than LGBTQ Californians before us ever have was and will always be a lifelong priority. The American Civil Liberties Union is also an organization that I find works to make the world better for all of us. I have volunteered with them also over the years and found community on an exponential scale. This year I’ll even walk the San Francisco Pride parade with my employer San Francisco State University which validates my commitment to ensuring equitable access to higher education for EVERYONE. The trick for me to finding community has been through advocacy and dare I say activism. Baldwin said that “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”. This rings so true to those that want to see change and actually want to do something about it. Facing what irritates me head on has to be how I live from now on. Pride is still celebrating who I am but celebrating ALL OF ME through volunteerism and activism at festivals is something that I will cherish all year, not just during the summer. I may even sip on some Don Julio tequila while fist pumping for causes that are truly inclusive.

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I am Jamal Evan Mazyck, Ed.D. and I am a Black gay man that lives in hashtags, sips tea, and loves to run. Go Figure. #BlackGuysRun #BlackLGBTQEducator #BlackGayEducator

 

Happy Pride!

June 4 2018 - Dario G.

My name is Dario. I’m a Queer PoC. 

Sign Language Interpreter / Photographer

The following are a couple of photos inspired by Pride Celebrations...

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As well as my favorite gay mug that makes the energy in my coffee that much gayer so I can start my day and my shirt with the gay agenda so “they” never forget...

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And another with The Gay Agenda

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And finally the lights in downtown El Paso, Texas that shine a very lovely shade of Queer ever year during Pride month...

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Aside from these I also model on occasion and enjoy being part of shoots that show the different levels of queer that is me; this is one of my favorites...

  Photo by David Parish. Models: Jennie Marie and myself

Photo by David Parish. Models: Jennie Marie and myself

But as enjoyable as my life is these days, it doesn’t discount the fact that I deal with demons. Addiction, mental health issues, and abandonment from a hyper-religious family have played a major role in shaping how I feel about myself today....

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I’m Dario Garcia and I’m a Queer Person of Color. 

Happy Pride!

 

June 4 2018 - Dorian H.

  Photo by Ward Morrison of Metro Weekly

Photo by Ward Morrison of Metro Weekly

After going to DC Black Pride two years ago, I made it a point to go again this year. While I immerse myself in the LGBT community in Baltimore (where I live), very rarely do I get a chance to be in spaces that are specifically Black and queer. One of the best things about Pride is not only do you get to congregate with folk like you, it is an opportunity to learn more about the unique struggles within our community.

On Thurs May 24, I went to the ‘Using Black Political Power to End HIV’ panel discussion. The event was led by Impulse Group – DC Chapter, a nonprofit org that focuses on sexual health, HIV awareness and prevention, and advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS. The panelists included Rev. Karon Sadler, Miss Lawrence, DC radio host Poet Taylor, members of Impulse Group, and political commentator/writer/professor Keith Boykin.

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Keith Boykin has been someone I’ve looked up to for years. As a young black gay boy, he was one of the first black gay men that I saw and related to. Before I even started to educate myself on the LGBT community and the intersections of race, gender, and sexual orientation, Keith Boykin offered (and still does) a window into what it is to go through the world as a double minority. He was gracious and kind when I spoke with him and I even took a picture with him! The importance of advocating for yourself and your community was echoed throughout the panel especially in the political climate we’re in. We must show up in the polls, hold politicians accountable after the votes are in, and tune in to serious reporting on news stations if we as black queer folk want to see actual change in our lives.

The next night, Sat May 25, was my chance to get my life on the dancefloor with my fellow black queer folk. When I found out that Shangela, the true winner (IMHO) of Season 3’s Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars, was performing at the DC gay nightclub Secrets, I had to go. I’ve been to Secrets dozens of times, but I have never seen so many people there before. The club was jam packed, full of black queer folk (mostly men) as they danced, vogued, and sang their hearts out to music that normally doesn’t get a lot of play at most gay clubs. Seeing my people be unabashedly black and queer was a sight to see! When Shangela finally performed, the crowd was entranced by her as she danced and lip-synced for her life to Beyoncé songs. As my friend Phillip and I left we felt a distinct sense of gratitude and joy. To have your existence validated and celebrated is something every human deserves. Happy Black Pride!

Dorian Holliday, Baltimore, MD

 

June 4 2018 - Gabriella J.

Here’s the thing okay? I’ve known I was gay since I was six years old. But growing up in a first generation biracial immigrant household with its fair share of poverty, alcohol, drug, domestic violence and undiagnosed mental issues meant I didn’t get two extras seconds to think about being gay. There were too many fires going on at once to focus on the fact that yes I was in fact gay as fuck.

Much less focus on what exactly gay meant to me.

So I didn’t get a closet. I got a house.

And inside each room there were incidents and stories and people who I would get to eventually.

When I had time. When my dad got sober. When my parents got a divorce. When the Dream Act Passed. When I wasn’t running my moms household. When I wasn’t helping raise my brothers. When I got sober. When I stopped having flashbacks. When I wasn’t working corporate. When I wasn’t relapsing. When I got diagnosed. When I got therapy. When I no longer wanted to kill myself. When.

So without realizing that I was, in fact, doing it; I became someone who  put on a disguise everyday of my life in order to survive. Now I am becoming a person who knows that in order to live I have to take it off.

Pride Month is a lot of things for many different people. It’s a time to be as flamboyant, colorful, extra and LOUD. Loud as a resistance to those that want to shut up and disappear the community. Loud for those that can’t be and those that passed on before they could be.

Pride is a tangled mess of opinions and crossed wires and capitalism and raw human emotion.

For me Pride is simple. It’s one less room in an already emptying house. Pride is when.