A Conversation with Kai Wright
Journalist and AIDS activist Kai Wright was the keynote speaker at a town hall meeting on black men’s health and sexuality put on by the AIDS Action Committee during its World AIDS Day commemorations Dec. 7. Wright has been writing about sexual health for over 10 years, and spends much of his time going around the country, speaking before both people of color and LGBT communities.
Some of the concerns that came out of the town hall from the audience of mostly gay black and Latino men were the desire to have more easily accessible service delivery for gay people of color within communities of color, as well as more institutional efforts to deal with the stigma and discrimination that comes with being both black and gay. There was also a general concern about the perception that the black gay community only cares about issues related to HIV/AIDS, which was soundly rejected by all audience members.
“Our community is defined by the disease, and not by other issues we deal with on a daily basis,” said one man in the audience.
These other issues audience members wanted to see given more attention were violence and homelessness among LGBT youth, unemployment, mental health, poverty and hate crimes against transgendered persons.
Wright also mentioned during his speech that the larger gay community has focused so much energy on same sex marriage effort nationally, that it has taken away resources from the more pressing issues facing gay communities of color mentioned above. As a straight black woman, when I tell gay white people that same sex marriage isn’t seen as a priority by some in the black community because of these reasons, I am generally accused of being homophobic. So, it was refreshing to hear gay men of color say aloud what I have been saying for a while and give my rational more legitimacy.