poverty and aids

Initially, I was embraced by the stakeholders of the mainstream LGBT movement. I quickly noticed that despite the unifying acronym, the people at the table often did not reflect me or my community. These spaces and conversations were dominated by men, specifically upper-middle-class white cis gay men. Women, people of color, trans folks, and especially folks who carried multiple identities were all but absent. I was grateful for the invitation but unfilled by the company. This was my political awakening.

I was tasked with speaking out about these glaring disparities, about how those with the most access within the movement set the agenda, contribute to the skewed media portrait, and overwhelmingly fail at funneling resources to those most marginalized. My awakening pushed me to be more vocal about these issues, prompting uncomfortable but necessary conversations about the movement privileging middle- and upper-class cis gay and lesbian rights over the daily access issues plaguing low-income LGBT youth and LGBT people of color, communities that carry interlocking identities that are not mutually exclusive, that make them all the more vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, hyper-criminalization, violence, and so much more.

—  Janet Mock, Redefining Realness
“The first image refers to pedophilia in the Vatican. Second child sexual abuse in tourism in Thailand, and the third refers to the war in Syria. The fourth image refers to the trafficking of organs on the black market, where most of the victims are children from poor countries; fifth refers to weapons free in the U.S.. And finally, the sixth image refers to obesity, blaming the big fast food companies.
The new series produced by Cuban artist Erik Ravelo was titled as "The untouchables”, are photographs of children crucified for his supposed oppressors, each for a different reason and a clear message, seeks to reaffirm the right of children to be protected and report abuse suffered by them especially in countries such as Brazil, Syria, Thailand, United States and Japan"


Nontraditional settings for musicals that I desperately want to see: Rent in the American South.

Look, Rent is a desperately important musical and it meant a lot to me as a kid. I’m from the American South. But it’s more than that.

The American South doesn’t have the glamor of NYC, I know. Being poor in South Carolina doesn’t have the same media connotation as bohemian starving artists in New York. Show me media about poor people in the South that isn’t barefoot and pregnant rednecks. It’s hard! But the thing is that, while the South has a delightful concentration of ass-backwards bigotry, it also has artists. It also has people who are struggling against prejudice to make something of themselves. It also has the highest rate of AIDS diagnoses of any region in the country. I live in a Tennessee town with a population of about 6,000. The median income is abysmal. There are four other gay people in town and I have all of their phone numbers, because you have to have each other’s backs in a place like this. I live within walking distance of a family practice doctor who uses his single roadside sign to advertise his practice as a suboxone clinic for recovering addicts. A lot of people watch Rent now and say, “That was a crazy time! That was a crazy struggle!” but it isn’t over! Check out Atlanta’s HIV epidemic. Check out North Carolina. Check out the Confederate flag on the car parked on the street outside my bedroom window. The struggles depicted in Rent are NOT OVER anywhere in the country, but God knows that the South could use a little attention, because we’re falling behind. No one talks about these things here. It’s taboo, and it’s dangerous, and a lot of the support structures and communities that have been established in cities like NYC just don’t exist down here. My landlord, a gay man, drops his voice and cuts his eyes to the side before referring hesitantly to our shared “lifestyle choices” on an otherwise empty street, just in case. How can we make progress when there’s no discussion of our problems? How can we address poverty, racism, addiction, AIDS, when it’s being kicked under the rug not only by the South itself, but by the rest of the country? Can we kick up a little dust and make some media that reminds people that we exist and that we’re still fighting?

White people are like porn addicts when it comes to Africa . I had a lot of conversations with people who could not believe a single good fact about Africa . All they want to see is poverty , hunger and AIDS .They become so addicted to that image , they want to intensify it  , to make it  look the  worst , so they add naked people running around , cannibals and terrorists , so they can get the satisfaction they want , so they can sell the products they want to sell such as religion or turning it into a resort where bad celebrities go and help some poor Africans so they can be forgiven and their movies would be successful  .

Leaving that virtual world , sex is not as the one shown in porn movies and Africa is not what you want it to look like . 

The reality is : North Africa has  the lowest HIV rates in the world , Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since the Civil Union Act came into force on 30 November 2006.,Africans were the first to organise fishing expeditions 90,000 years ago , Africans were the first to engage in mining 43,000 years ago , Africans pioneered basic arithmetic 25,000 years ago , Africans cultivated crops 12,000 years ago, the first known advances in agriculture. , Africa is the richest continent in terms of natural resources ……

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photo: Ivara Esege

I left Nigeria to go to university in the United States [when] I was 19. My American roommate was shocked by me. She asked where I had learned to speak English so well, and was confused when I said that Nigeria happened to have English as its official language. She asked if she could listen to what she called my “tribal music,” and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey. She assumed that I did not know how to use a stove.

What struck me was this: She had felt sorry for me even before she saw me. Her default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa: a single story of catastrophe. In this single story there was no possibility of Africans being similar to her in any way, no possibility of feelings more complex than pity, no possibility of a connection as human equals.[…]

Before I came to the U.S. I didn’t consciously identify as African. But in the U.S. whenever Africa came up, people turned to me. Never mind that I knew nothing about places like Namibia. But I did come to embrace this new identity, and in many ways I think of myself now as African. Although I still get quite irritable when Africa is referred to as a country, the most recent example being my otherwise wonderful flight from Lagos two days ago, in which there was an announcement on the Virgin flight about the charity work in “India, Africa and other countries.” […]

After some years I began to understand my roommate’s response to me. If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner. [… ] There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali.” It’s a noun that loosely translates to “to be greater than another.” Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.[…] I’ve always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person. The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar. […] Every time I am home I am confronted with the usual sources of irritation for most Nigerians: our failed infrastructure, our failed government, but also by the incredible resilience of people who thrive despite the government, rather than because of it. I teach writing workshops in Lagos every summer, and it is amazing to me how many people apply, how many people are eager to write, to tell stories. […] When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.

—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from “The Danger of a Single Story,” TED Talk, July 2009

Those Who Marriage Equality Left Behind
The legalization of same-sex marriage is wonderful. That is, if you're white and privileged. For the rest of us, the fight continues.

“…The marriage-equality movement began peeling off rich, middle-class, and gentrified gays and aligning them with the ruling class—a straight white majority who not long before persecuted people of color and queers alike. The scholar Lisa Duggan describes such absorption as homonormativity, “a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions"—such as marriage and its call for monogamy and reproduction—"but upholds and sustains them while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption.

"Today, well-off LGBT people have become homeowners, wedding planners, and the coveted new target demographic of marketers. But this is not a reality for a class of the LGBT community for whom setting up a wedding registry comes far behind the specter of police violence, poverty, and HIV/AIDS. Perhaps this is why marriage equality does not offer the same egalitarian rallying cry for queer Americans of the Stonewall riots or the AIDS epidemic: It benefits a select few who express their love in a normalized way.”

#BlackLivesMatter #IntersectionalityMatters