Empowerment – The Fire Within (A 2013 Throwback)

The following piece was written back in 2013. While 4 years have passed, the underlying message is still quite relevant today.


As members of the LGBT community, it’s sad that we still live in a world that cannot see beyond our sexuality. How appalling is it that the masses fail to realize our worth or accept us wholly and completely? When faced with hatred, discrimination, and stereotypical imagery in media and entertainment, we can’t help but feel a bit of shame, guilt, and anger. So many misconceptions and stigmas continue to cloud judgment, perception, and understanding. But for what? Our sexuality is one of so many parts of who we are. While it doesn’t define us, we can’t ignore it. And it’s obvious that public officials, conservatives, and organizations (that shall remain nameless) are obsessed with our sexuality more than we are.

Did the powers that be, holy rollers, and haters forget that we’re human too? We desire, no, we deserve the same things as our heterosexual brothers and sisters – family, friends, love, happiness, success on our own terms, good health… I could go on, as the list is endless. But you wouldn’t know this reading or viewing some of the media and entertainment created daily. How hypocritical can a society be that prides itself on freedom, but shames, victimizes, vilifies, and silences those who don’t fit the preferred, traditional archetype? We’re well past the time to lift the veil on the alienation and isolation that comes as a result of living in such a heteronormative society. But let us not be defeated.

Validation from the outside world may not come in the time, manner, or fashion we desire it to. However, we shouldn’t let it hinder us from living or having what we want in this life. No matter what the outside world says we must remain steadfast in knowing ourselves and trusting what we believe in. No matter what the world says, we are beautiful in every way. We are not less than. We are warriors.

Sometimes we have to forego or question everything we’ve been taught or led to believe as truth to find out who we really are. There’s so much that we deny ourselves when we feed into to the B.S. aimed at refuting our existence. We have to shut ourselves off from the noise and the hysteria to make way for what’s real – to make way for peace, serenity, and truth. When we’re able to free ourselves individually and collectively – the change we see within and around us will be miraculous.

As Audre Lorde said, “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.” We cannot wait. While we should celebrate the recent Supreme Court rulings in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases for being a step in the right direction for gay marriage, the movement doesn’t stop there. These rulings should only intensify our fight for justice, equality, and freedom for all. And everything we need for this fight lies within.

The key to finding what’s within, the power within, is loving ourselves. We talk a good game about loving ourselves, but how many of us actually do? How many of us can say we truly love ourselves? It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to allow internalized hatred to ruin our progress. It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to tolerate the abuse, ill-treatment, and foolishness we encounter daily.

We must not let fear run our authentic selves away. We must be brazen. Stand up for those who were/are not able to stand up for themselves. Realize that in doing so, we’re empowering ourselves and challenging everyone to (always) strive to be and do better.

When we find the love within, the power is never too far behind. When we find our power… When we realize our power… When we utilize our power, its intensity will inspire action and breed the change we need in our families, communities, and the world.

Ours is a power that not only changes lives, but also saves lives. As James Baldwin said, “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” So let’s find our power and wield it lovingly, strongly, boldly, and unapologetically. It’s our world. Now let the power within—that internal fire—lead the way!

Latest MUSED Article – Should We Ditch ‘LGBT’ For ‘GSD’ (Gender And Sexual Diversities)?

Image courtesy of MUSED.

 
In my latest article on MUSED, I ponder whether we should change “LGBT” to “GSD” (Gender and Sexual Diversities.  Pink Therapy, a London-based advocacy group recently featured in The Huffington Post, suggested that we use GSD as an alternative because it is more inclusive and speaks to the larger groups who may not fall into or easily identify with LGBT.  For more of my commentary, please check out “Should We Ditch ‘LGBT’ for ‘GSD’ (Gender And Sexual Diversities)?” on MUSED.


MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering “digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about” (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.


Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 


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Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

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The Power Of Your Voice

My partner and I got up early this morning so we could get to our polling station before it opened (at 6 AM).  It was very good thinking on our part considering how long the line was, even at 5:50 AM.  But seeing the line of people this early was a beaming sign.  It meant people were not going to be swayed in any way.  They were going to let their voices be heard.  The coldeven with the temperature below freezingwas no deterrent either.  That’s because the cause was/is worth it.

The cause is worth it because my ancestors fought too long and too hard for all of us to be able to vote.  They knew the power of the voice and that we’d only falter if we remained silent.  They recognized the importance of the collective…and that if we all had the chance to vote that we could collectively change our world for the better.  My ancestors died so that we could we could be free and live in a world where equality and justice reign supreme.  Therefore I don’t take any of it vain. 

I also don’t take it lightly the (ongoing) issue of voter suppression and oppression throughout this country.  There’s too much at stake for any of us to be cast aside or denied our right to exercise our political voice.  And after being in a long line of voters today and seeing the long lines of people voting early in days prior, I know that this rightthis precious rightis something we all (should) hold dear.  As someone said exiting the polling station this morning, “You’ve got to show up in order to show out.”  And I’m so pleased, so happy, so grateful that people across this country have/are doing just that.

Never think that you don’t matter or that you don’t count.  Because you do.  If you feel you aren’t being represented well or at all, you have the right to voice your concerns and act accordingly.  If we fail to act or we don’t exercise our rights, then we’re giving in.  We’re signing off and are just as accountable as the parties in office.  Or as many will sayif we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice.  Remember, you and your voice are worth more than they’ll ever admit.  Why else do you think they up the ante on tactics to scare us away from the polls (especially during Presidential Elections)?

I don’t care what scare tactics they use.  I wouldn’t care if it was subzero or 100+ degrees outside this morning.  If I had to stand in line all day today to vote, I would do it.  I recognize the power of my voice and power of my vote.  And I’m glad to see that so many of my fellow Americans do too.

Related Posts:

Day 98: I’m Voting for Progress – Obama Biden 2012
Day 96: Michelle Obama at the DNC 2012
Desperation (from Prevail)
Politricking