Wednesday, February 12, 2014

You Can't Be Gay and Play Football...It's a "Man's Sport"

By now, I'm sure most people have heard of the recent revelation from NFL potential draftee Michael Sam and his "coming out" as a proud, Gay man. As expected, the news media outlets and social media sites were set ablaze at the sheer openness of this Division 1 football player. 

When I initially read this trending story on Facebook and Twitter the other night, I felt an immediate juxtaposing sense of deep support for his courageous actions and equal dispiritment given the institutionalize homophobic culture within the realm of sports [and the rest of the world.] Like so many other members of the LGBT community, Michael Sam's declaration of his sexual orientation is an act of living an authentic, proud, happy and free life. As a human being, EVERYONE should have the sense of security, support and safety to do just that. With that said, my sentiments of dismay extend from the actual act or culture of "coming out."

In our society now, we routinely pride ourselves on living in a world that's inclusive, progressive and allows "all men to be created equal." And yet, if we take a step back to look beyond the surface of this ideological utopian society and think about the fact that, if this were a TRULY equitable society, "coming out" would no longer be required. "Why?!," do you ask? I say this because heterosexuality would not be the "standard" or THE "universally" recognized sexual orientation. All genders and all sexual orientations would be the norm in the society that so many of us believe we currently live in. To be truly progressive and inclusive, one must create a space and structural environment where every culture, every identity, every experience is supported and equitably represented. Moreover, with the obscene, blatantly homophobic and disgusting comments that Michael Sam has received from other NFL players on Twitter and other social media outlets, it glaringly substantiates the fact that our society uplifts and institutionalizes heterosexuality, while dehumanizing other sexual orientations.

While reading some of the comments posted on Twitter in an article from Huffington Post-Gay Voices, one comment in particular stood out to me the most. This comment posted below states "I'm sorry but there's is no room for Jason Collins & Michael Sam playing a man sport ain't sh*t manly bout being a fag— Julius Caesar ™ (@DewuanS) February 10, 2014.
Apart from the terrible obscenities, the phrase that stuck with me the most is "...playing a man sport ain't sh*t manly bout being a..." Football and most other sports are associated with being extremely "masculine," "dominant," "take charge," and any other socially constructed characteristic most people have been indoctrinated to believe and view "manhood" is linked with. Being a homosexual man, however is regarded as "anti-manly," "feminine," "submissive," "womanly," etc. TRANSLATION: Being a gay man is the equivalent to being a woman...DEEPER TRANSLATION: women are viewed as "weak," "less than," "objects" and simply alive to be at the disposal of men! Other disgusting comments made from an overwhelming number of African-American NFL players focused solely about the assumed sexual acts of Michael Sam, specifically those customarily tied to gay men. This highly heterosexist commentary furthers the point that gay men are viewed on the subhuman and "anti-man/anti-powerful" level that women are as well.

Michael Sam, Jason Collins and many other gay male athletes are no less that heterosexual men in any regard. Gay men ARE MEN and to reduce someone down to their sexuality without recognizing and acknowledging them as fully human is simply oppressive and archaic! This same mentality is identical to the extreme racist views that once argued that people of direct African descent had smaller brains and were severely, as well as innately  less intelligent, were "uncivilized," naturally unclean and would always be biologically inferior to Europeans/Whites. Not overlooking the parallel chauvinistic views that were and are unfortunately still in existence about women, this same ethos and verbal oppression regarded women as incapable of being effective in professional settings, being naturally "weaker" than men, only being "designed" to fulfill domestic duties and being less intelligent than their male counterparts. You see, at the heart of sexism, racism and homophobia lies the same ugly three-headed beast: fear born out of ignorance, oppression and a false sense of entitlement.

Some may argue that these NFL players and others that make homophobic and all in all hurtful comments about Michael Sam's sexual orientation are simply "exercising their First Amendment Rights" and should be allowed to express themselves freely." Now isn't that contradictory?! Shouldn't Michael Sam, Jason Collins and other human beings be able to freely express exactly who they are without the threat of being harmed, alienated and oppressed?! Shouldn't gay men be respected as human men and not viewed as less than? What will it take for our society to shift this irrational fear about homosexuality and UNLEARN all the damaging socially constructed concepts about what "makes a man a man" or "makes a woman a woman?"

Share your thoughts and seriously reflect on your own belief system in the areas of gender roles, sexual orientation, identity and how you overtly or unconsciously subjugate members "outside" of your community!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


This video TOTALLY links to the article Rape Culture in Holiday Advertisements...When Will We Stop Blaming the Victim?"I just wrote..BEST BREAKDOWN OF WHAT SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION IS, HOW WE LEARN IT & HOW WE CAN UNLEARN IT! View it here...

Here are just a few images that help you to further understand the tangible evidence that women and girls ARE IN FACT sexually objectified and viewed as "less than." Don't forget to share your thoughts!  

Rape Culture in Holiday Advertisements....When Will We Stop Blaming the Victim?!

Earlier today I viewed these "Anti-Rape" advertisements developed by Police Officers in the U.K. as warnings to women during the holiday season when alcohol consumption is at its highest. While the intention to promote awareness about the correlation between drunkenness and sexual assault may have been good, when viewing these advertisements, it's GLARINGLY obvious that the tone places the responsibility solely on women, rather than the rapists or assailants themselves.

When trying to eradicate the issue of sexual violence, you MUST place the attention onto those that seek to commit the crime, NOT the victim. The problem that so many individuals and institutions, like the police force fail to recognize is these visual images implant messages that the perpetrator has ZERO responsibility in the matter; this subtle ideology or belief system furthers the continuation of men abusing women in inhumane ways.

Should women be proactive in taking precautionary measures to protect themselves?....ABSOLUTELY! As human beings, WE ALL SHOULD! But if the termination of rape and other forms of sexual violence is to ever be actualized, our schools, religious institutions, television programs, films, multimedia sources and legislative systems MUST redirect the messaging of women as sexual objects and "the weaker sex" into an overarching ethos and cultural practice where women and girls are regarded as human beings and patriarchy is a relic of the past!

View the video here and SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Visuals of Oppression: Is it Just Art or Ideologies of Hate?

One of my friends and very talented artist sent me this picture today and asked that I share it with the online community. When I opened her email, a wave a shock, sadness, disgust and speechlessness came over me like a flood.

I'm a firm believer that visual imagery is a powerful tool in propagated ideologies, belief systems, fear and the continuation of racism, sexism and homophobia. Visual imagery ALSO has the power to shift perspectives about the status quo, raise consciousness, inspire social action and promote social transformation.

This picture encapsulates all of those negative aforementioned sentiments and it is beyond infuriating that an image such as this would somehow be seen as artistic or fashionable.

This image symbolizes the intersection of racist and sexist objectification, while uplifting (literally) a person of European descent. The problem here (which is glaringly obvious) is this image tells the story of a time in era of colonialism in Africa and slavery in the U.S. where European-American/White slave owners used their marginalized counterparts as footstools to rest their bodies.

Are we (the viewer) suppose to take this image and what it truly represents lightly? Should we question the intentions of the photographer or models? What are your thoughts when viewing this image?....SHARE YOUR VOICE! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy 2014! The UNLEARNing Project Announcement!

Hi everyone! Happy New Year to All of you!

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything here on this blog...I've been working so hard with my social justice project over the last couple of years and some things are finally starting to come together.

So, what's my new project? It's called "The UNLEARNing Project℠, a social change initiative with a mission to use social and digital media to UNLEARN racism, sexism and homophobia. Just a little description about this wonderful initiative:

"The UNLEARNing Project℠ is a Washington, D.C.-based project that is a fiscally sponsored initiative under Media Alliance, an Oakland, California-based non-profit. Media Alliance serves as a media resource and advocacy center for media workers, non-profit organizations, and social justice activists. Formed in 1976, Media Alliance’s mission has been excellence, ethics, diversity, and accountability in all aspects of the media in the interests of peace, justice, and social responsibility.

Rooted in social justice education, The UNLEARNing Project℠ enables users to digitally exchange information and materials related to social and cultural issues in an effort to UNLEARN the varying stigmas, prejudices and resulting discriminations existing in the forms of racism, sexism and homophobia. This site is a space that anyone can use as an educational resource, global networking tool, and/or a digital landscape to create meaningful dialog on relevant topics and to highlight one's own personal or professional mission to social transformation and eradicating racism, sexism and homophobia."

I've also been working on producing my first social change film with an amazing Pastor here in Southeast, DC who has a mission to enact social change through his inclusive and affirming church and humanist ideology. The film production process is SO exciting and as a novice to this world, I'm so thankful and blessed to be in a place where I can learn so much! 

Make sure you all go to my website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages below. Can't wait to hear your feedback and am so happy to get back to engaging with all of you! Happy Saturday to everyone!
Instagram: @theunlearningproject