What's the Value Of Black Gay Men?
7/19/2012 4:00:00 PM
By Alex Garner
What’s the value of gay men of color in this country? To look at how things have worked for the past 30 years you would think that gay men or color, in particular, black gay men, rank last on the list. The Black AIDS Institute most recent report shows a very disturbing reality for black gay men in America. As a community and a nation, we have failed gay black men and we must change things.
Representing a mere 1 in 500 people living in the U.S., Black gay men account for nearly 1 in 4 new HIV infections. And the problem is getting worse, with new infections among Black gay men rapidly rising.
HIV represents a lifelong threat for Black gay men. A young Black gay man has a roughly 1-in-4 chance of being infected by age 25. By the time he is 40 years old, the odds a Black gay men will be living with HIV is roughly 60%. One can scour the entire world and struggle to find a population more heavily affected by HIV/AIDS than Black gay in the U.S.
The accompanying chart speaks for itself.
Men of color don’t have a great history of being valued in this country. As LGBT people we’ve got to do better. Once again we have to seriously reevaluate the direction of our movement and take a close look at who is being left out. Black gay men have incredible value but you wouldn’t think our community believed that based on how we’ve responded to the issue of HIV among black gay men.
It’s 30 years into the epidemic. We come so far with marriage equality, gays in the military why can’t we apply the same kind of energy to young gay black men? We’ve got to take care of our community and gay men of color are our community.
I invite you to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/alexgarnerla and join me on Facebook.