Thursday, December 25, 2008

Much Needed Christmas Love...

Merry Christmas...

I am leaving for Mississippi and family and possibly no internet connection for the next three days. I can't wait to catch up on all the blogs I have missed and update on all the things that transpired this past week. Read you soon, honey!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Wish?

I am wondering if I did the right thing.

Last Christmas, Joey was a large part of my life. Joey, if you recall, was a gay kid in the group home where my old roommate worked. My old roommate, Aaron, wanted to adopt him, but because he did not own his own home, he was unable to do so. Both Aaron and I went through the process of being approved guardians for home stays and respite care for Joey (I went through this process because Aaron and I were roommates.) Aaron was a good “foster” father to Joey and I could see Joey making significant progress towards maturing. When Aaron decided to leave Atlanta and move back to Los Angeles, I was sad and worried about what would happen to Joey. I made a vow, if you recall, to be a part of Joey’s life and to continue impacting his life.

Damn. I did not keep that vow.

After spending three months with Joey, we had a major disagreement. His group home called me to reprimand him for wearing “drag” to school. And yes, “drag” is against (although this is probably illegal) school rules. Because Joey insisted on wearing red pumps, skin tight jeans, and a halter top, he was placed in in-school suspension for two consecutive days and missed out on classroom instruction.

I had asked Joey repeatedly to not dress like a girl when going to school. I did not allow Joey to dress like a girl around me, period. And it was not because I have a problem with him having gender-identity issues. It was because of how unseeming in would look for a twenty nine year old man to have a fifteen year old boy by his side who was dressed like a girl.

I confronted Joey about his behavior and told him that I felt as though it was disrespectful to me for him to dress like a girl in public. We disagreed and he hung the phone up in my face. I called him back repeatedly only to be told that he did not want to talk to me. We have not spoken since.

On Tuesday night, Aaron, my old roommate and Joey’s “foster father” called me to say that Joey needed help.

He said that Joey’s foster family was mistreating him and that both he and Joey’s social worker felt as though the time he had spent with me and the first family had really been a good experience for him. He said Joey’s social worker felt as though he needed me in his life again.

He really touched my heart with his words because I do feel as though my friends and I made a great impact on Joey’s life. We gave him an amazing Christmas and tried to help him realize that just because you are gay does not mean that you have to dress and act feminine. I thought about the responsibility Joey bought to my life (several people, because of Joey’s attitude and refusal to follow simple rules, i.e. no inappropriate internet sites and no inappropriate self-pics sent via internet warned me about allowing Joey in my house). I considered allowing Joey back into my life.

And then Aaron told me that Joey looked a little different. Aaron said that Joey had recently grown his hair out, permed it, and flipped it. He said that from the back, you could not tell whether or not he was a boy or a girl.

I told Aaron to enjoy the holidays and that I wished them both the best, but that I was unable to allow Joey to be a part of my life.

Did I do the right thing?

Monday, December 8, 2008

This economy hurts...

Throughout the blogosphere, a number of writers have explored the ups and downs of our economy but few of them are currently living it. If you have taken a visit over to my good friend’s TrackboiATL’s blog, you will see a very real exploration of how our economy is hurting people.

The recession is real and has been real since 2007, despite the denials of Republicans and various talk show hosts.

Another of my dear friends recently lost his job and my heart breaks. When will the economy finally hit the bottom and when will we finally start to see some economic relief? I am afraid that things will only continue to get worse. And what can you say to someone you love when they have not only lost his or her job but there appears to be no jobs insight? Not only is it the holiday season, but unemployment is higher than it has been in recent years. No one is hiring.

Hospitals are cutting staff members. Doctors and nurses are going part time. Because property taxes were not paid, police officers, teachers, and other civil servants are looking for work.

Bailout, bailout, bailout… Leaders of major corporations are searching for help so they can keep not only their jobs, but their six figure salaries. Banks, the auto industry, builders- everyone is seeking help, but what about the average American citizen who is feeling the pain of foreclosures, unemployment, or the loss of health care?

Monday, December 1, 2008


When I first started to come to Atlanta, HIV awareness campaigns were everywhere. Free condoms and lube fell like raindrops. I was literally accosted by HIV/AIDS pamphlets at the club. Celebrities wore bracelets declaring to stand up until a cure was found. Television specials aired and blogs buzzed about the disease. Today, I have barely heard a mention of World AIDS Day and that is sad.

Over 25 million Americans have contracted HIV since 1981.
While blacks comprise only 13% of the U.S. population, 49% of new HIV cases are blacks. Of the total percentage of new black AIDS cases, 61% designated same sex male contact as their transmission category.

My heart is broken as I write this because I realize that so much more needs to be done to fight this disease. More needs to be done to educate, especially young black men, about safe, satisfying sex. More needs to be done to support those battling this disease and who are, despite inadequate health care, winning every day. And more needs to be done to honor those who have lost their lives to this disease.

I don’t know any black gay man who does not know someone who is living with this disease. I don’t know any black gay man who has not had a sexual encounter with someone who is battling this disease and I don’t know any gay black man who has not engaged in some sort of risky behavior that could have lead to this disease.

I should be HIV positive. Honestly, every one who reads this blog (gay, straight, black, white) should be HIV positive. It is by grace that I am HIV negative. The same grace that keeps me cancer free, keeps me HIV negative. And I am not HIV negative because I deserve to be and no one has HIV because they deserve to have it. I am not HIV negative because I have lived a chaste life or because I have not engaged in high risk behavior. I am HIV free right now because that is not my calling or my cross to bear at this moment and I believe the same can be said for everyone who is HIV negative.

We cannot stop caring. We cannot stop hoping. Most importantly, we cannot stop praying.