The 1970 Nina Simone song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” was a call to the black community to nurture their youth and help them to achieve their potential. At the intersectionality of the black experience and the LGBTQ experience, we find therein a difficulty in simultaneously celebrating both parts of one’s being.
When a person is a minority within a minority, and often asked to choose “which one they are, black or LGBTQ?” where do they go to center and renew their spirit?
A growing group of black LGBTQ San Diegans intends to create these spaces through the San Diego Black LGBT Coalition, whose vision is “a united front of black LGBT leaders coming together for the common social, political and economic advancement of black LGBT individuals into a thriving beloved community.”
In a climate where the greater LGBTQ community is gaining footholds and victories on a national and international scale, the question may be posed as to whether such efforts are necessary.
I recently asked coalition members why, at this moment in time, this was so important, and here is what they had to say and how they self-identify themselves:
Dwayne Crenshaw, “community and social justice advocate”:
“Growing up in San Diego’s black community I felt nurtured, protected and supported as an African-American but, as I came to terms with my sexual orientation, I felt alone in the same community, so I moved to Hillcrest. Sadly, in the gay community, I often felt just as alone and like an outsider as a black man. The San Diego Black LGBT Coalition represents the potential for my full identity as a black gay man to be embraced and celebrated, as well as to build a supportive community for all black LGBT individuals in every San Diego neighborhood.”
Read the full column on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego HERE.