Well, tonight was an interesting night, to say the least. This past week I was asked by a person from the Human Rights Campaign (the largest GLBT rights organization in the country) asked me and one of my roommates to speak on behalf of their Historically Black Colleges and Universities outreach summit that happens every year. It started out as us "just going to this reception and talking to people about the program", then to "it will be a formal dinner", to "we want you two to get up and say something in front of everyone", to when we got there we realized that we were THE SPEAKERS, no one else would be talking during the dinner. Not only that, but the hotel that this event was held in is very historic. It was actually where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. finisher writing his “I Have A Dream” speech. However, it wasn’t all that bad. My biggest fear was that I was going to sound like an idiot, but when we were done people kept telling me that we both did well. I even got a laugh towards the end. I mean, I realized as soon as I got there that me, Jade, and the person that brought us were the only black people there. So not only was I defending the program to a lot of very rich benefactors, but a roomful of white benefactors, so I felt a little under the microscope.
However, I actually enjoyed it. I got to meet a really nice people, and most of them received us very well, saying that they are so amazed that people are coming out at younger and younger ages, and how proud they are of us doing something like this. But of course there were a few who wanted to know about “the infamous Downlow”, and I could tell by the way that they were talking that they wanted me to tell them that it was this big secret organized group of black men who just go around having sex with men instead of their wives. I just gave them my perspective that a) you do not have to be black to be on “the downlow” and b) “the downlow” is nothing more than cheating on someone. People keep trying to make it seem like “the downlow” is this new thing that only black men are capable of, and it’s not. All it is is someone having sex with someone outside of their marriage. It doesn’t have to be with a black man, it doesn’t have to be with a man at all, and it doesn’t have to be between two people of the same sex. I think that it has been sensationalized into something that is used to make people feel that they can further criminalize and demoralize a group of people, and personally I am sick of it. Of course I didn’t say ALL of that tonight (I left the “I am sick of it” part out) because I probably would not have been appreciated as someone sent to this event to essentially shmooze (sp?) the benefactors. But don’t worry, I kept my poise and answered their questions in the best way that Iknew how. And hopefully when someone asks them about “the downlow”, they’ll say “I don’t know what the big deal is, I mean, it’s just another form of cheating”. Later