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“Man, there’s a lot of white people here!” was my greeting when I first arrived at the UCSB’s Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, a supposed safe place for all students. “Okay.” I replied, really not knowing what to say. Was I supposed to say “I’m sorry?” My race isn’t anymore my fault than the sex I was born into. Later, the speaker of my greeting would turn me down for a dance because I was white. That was the beginning of my experience of racism in the queer scene, that is dividing the movement.

Race, Rants, Zack's Ramblings »

A gay gym’s locker room, however, is not. It is a quotidian horror show of the oddest, most egregious, and downright bizarre behavior you will see in a gay man outside of a bar with a patio on gay pride. Locker rooms are all about blurring the public and the private – nudity and decorum, the ability to be dirty while getting clean – and some guys boundries of normal behavior falter when faced with such a dichotomy. Below is a list of 9 guys you might meet in your locker room. And as usual, this is meant to be a joke. If you’re going to call me an asshole or a homophobe or a crumbbum it’ll fall on deaf ears.

Action, Books, Events, Local, Music, Race, Washington DC »

Busboys and Poets welcomes Dr. Cornel West on Thursday as he discusses and signs his works, including his latest: Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir. Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics and jazz.

Events, Local, Race, Theatre, Washington DC »

Join Busboys and Poets for October’s edition of A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) featuring a discussion with Director Jennifer L. Nelson. Ms. Nelson is the director of Ford’s Theatre’s current production of Black Pearl Sings!

Race »

While much of what we each determine to be sexually attractive is decided not consciously, but by mechanisms we are only now beginning to understand, cultural forces have also played a large part in that process – whether consciously or unconsciously. Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to racism and xenophobia and their combined impact on sexual selection throughout human history.

Action, Media, Politics, Race »

Recently, actor and activist Doug Spearman, most famously known for his role as Chance on Patrick Ian-Polk’s Noah’s Arc, wrote a piece for the Human Rights Campaign, where he articulates what he sees as a prevalent racism within the gay community.

The fallout from Spearman’s piece, which was copied and pasted and cropped across the web, is indicative of how contentious this issue is within the gay community. Like many other essays dealing on the subject, it sparked a heated debate from both sides. This debate is not without merit, as it has become increasingly clear that if the gay community does want to move forward, this discussion must happen, and frankly it’s long overdue.

So exactly what is on the table? This is what Spearman said in his piece that really frazzled many readers, and likely sparked much of the anger:

Events, Local, Race, Sexuality, Theatre, Washington DC »

Same Same But Different: The Value of Shared Experience is a one-woman show by Jennifer Luu and an intimate portrait of connection and fulfillment, painted with the broad strokes of one woman’s unique (and in no particular order) Vietnamese, American, gay voice. The performance is free and open to the public.

Civil Rights, Commentary, Race »

This recent Gates vs. Cambridge controversy really started to irk me — until today. Pepin Tuma was recently arrested on U Street for voicing a pretty common sentiment: “I hate the cops.” Not toward a cop… but near one, by chance.

What happened? He was arrested.

Why am I writing about this, and what special insight do I have that might add to the debate? Well, last year about this time, I was brutally attacked, thrown down a flight of stairs and beaten into a bloody mess by a drunken long-term boyfriend as I came home from work. This all lasted about 20 minutes, give or take an internal eternity or so. I went to the police, and asked them for help to at least retrieve some clothing so I could go to a hotel & figure out what to do with my life now. They escorted me down the road to the apartment we shared at the time, interviewed my (MUCH more muscular) boyfriend who had not received even a scratch. After speaking with him, they returned to me & arrested me (sans Miranda, might I add) on the spot. Why? In the officer’s words, “in domestic dispute cases in DC, one of you has to go to jail.” I later found that out to be wrong.

Race »

There is a chance that the Nation’s Capital might provide the greatest leap forwarding in changing the face of the queer rights movement. Beyond the monuments and buildings that decorate the National Mall, the district is in many ways unique because ethnic minorities make the majority of the city. As a result, any effort undertaken by the city to affect it’s residents requires active minority voices on both sides.

Dating and Relationships, Ideas, Personal Narratives, Race, Sex »

Growing up with my mother and sister I learned about the importance of physical appearance. The currency of beauty transcended our housing project on the reservation, extending to the middle and upper classes to which the three of us all aspired. My mother developed fleeting crushes on handsome television actors who played doctors and lawyers, while my sister sought to date such professionals in real life. Because neither of them pursued education beyond high school, my relatives had minimal economic viability and therefore leveraged their high cheekbones and enviable figures to obtain the daily essentials and luxury splurges they could not attain on public assistance and minimum wage. The hours they spent in front of mirrors rehearsing smiles and camouflaging birthmarks would have been lost on me if I did not know from such an early age that I was gay.