Celebrating one’s historic roots is an opportunity to honor forbearers and connect to our rich legacy.
However, usually missing from Black history are highlights of the Black, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender or Questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Highlighting the history of being Black and LGBTQ, a free event, “Generations 2013,” will use expressions of art, films and entertainment to honor historic LGBTQ people of the past and present on Friday, Feb. 15 at the African American Arts and Culture Complex in San Francisco.
The idea of having a Black LGBTQ history celebration started in 2010 when Micah Lubensky, Community Development Manager of SF AIDS Foundations and co-facilitator of the group, “Black Brothers Esteem,” wanted to make up for the lack of Black LGBTQ history.
Group members desired to host a separate celebration within Black History Month, and right away the community flocked to the event, walking away with pride from education and fellowship. The event has grown each year, and this, the third year, promises to be the largest.
In San Francisco, Black gay men face a shrinking African American population, and “It (creates) pressure from seeing less people who look like you,” says Lubensky. “Participants who come to our groups come from African American neighborhoods that are usually low-income, which coupl ed with other factors such as crime and drugs, puts people at high risk for HIV.”
In San Francisco, Black gay men are more likely to develop AIDS, with a shorter life span, Lubensky says.
“Having more sense of our own history will impact the community,” he says. “When people have community pride, they will be more responsible about risky behaviors.”
Black LGBTQ has always played an important in history. With the belief that learning your history raises your collective pride and self-esteem, the event is vital in reducing HIV transmissions within this group.
When our community’s collective pride and self-esteem remains high, we invest in maintaining and improving our collective health.
Free HIV/STD testing will be provided at the event while guests can enjoy free food, listen to poetry from June Jordan or watch a film by Marlon Riggs. Guests can also enjoy a performance tribute to RuPaul or Alvin Ailey and view Baynard Rustin’s biography, a Black gay man who was a major contributor to the historic March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event will take place at San Francisco’s African American Art and Culture Complex located at 762 Fulton St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 15. For more information, contact Micah at (415) 487-8022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.