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Morehouse College to Offer First LGBTQ Course, Screen Gay Black Docudrama: VIDEO


Morehouse College, the all-male African American college in Atlanta, Georgia, will offer its first LGBTQ course this Spring, Lambda Literary reports:

“A Genealogy of Black LGBT Culture and Politics.” ... It will be taught via video conference by Yale University professor and previous Lambda Literary Award finalist Dr. Jafari Sinclaire Allen.

Writes Morehouse student Marcus Lee in the HuffPost:

Amir2In 2002, a Morehouse student by the name of Gregory Love was beaten with a baseball bat after being perceived as gay by another student. Seven years later, Morehouse announced the installation of a dress code policy which, in part, outlawed "clothing associated with women's garb" -- effectively pairing gender nonconformity with unpreparedness or a lack of professionalism. Both of these incidents demonstrated the need for serious and scholarly discussion of diversity in gender and sexual expression within the Morehouse community; and, until recently, this discussion had been prompted and completely lead by students on campus. Today, Morehouse SafeSpace -- the gay-straight alliance/student advocacy organization on campus -- is proud to announce that Morehouse has reached a milestone: in the 2013 spring semester, Morehouse's sociology department will be offering a course about the Black LGBTQ community. Dr. Jafari Allen, a Morehouse alumnus and professor at Yale University, will be teaching "A Genealogy of Black LGBT Culture and Politics" via video conference to Morehouse students. The course came to fruition after a series of conversations Dr. Allen and I had about black queer scholarship. It became clear that there was a void at Morehouse and he volunteered to help fill it....What does this mean to me? It means relief; it means stepping away from a culture of silence and stoicism, and toward one of candor and understanding.

In related news, filmmaker Amir Dixon writes Towleroad and tells us that he'll be screening "Friend of Essex", a docudrama about the lives of young black gay men, at Morehouse on January 31. The film explores the intersections of race, identity and sexuality. More info here.

Watch the trailer for "Friend of Essex" (screencapped above), AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Yeah, good luck infiltrating black culture on this issue. It's a lost cause.

    Posted by: Sean | Jan 7, 2013 11:11:25 AM

  2. We all have seen recently that homophobia is rooted not just in fear, but in lack of ability to reason. So trying to reach college students is a good idea.

    Posted by: Billy | Jan 7, 2013 11:20:16 AM

  3. I'm pretty sure the fact that this is happening at an all black MALE college in the south means just the opposite. Congrats!

    Posted by: Marty | Jan 7, 2013 11:20:46 AM

  4. Black LGBT American culture is one of the richest heritages in the world. James Baldwin, for example, was imho the greatest American prose writer of the 20th century.

    This is terrific news and I'm delighted that wider African American culture will embrace the accomplishments of some of their brightest and best poets, artists and scholars fianlly.

    Posted by: ryansson | Jan 7, 2013 11:55:33 AM

  5. @Sean, if the issue to which you refer is violence against LGBT people, is the "white culture" a lost cause? Towleroad has run numerous stories about violence against LGBT people with the perpetrator being white.

    If the issue is Marriage Equality: the LGBT residents of Maryland would disagree. A state where the AA vote is critical in the passage (or non) of any referendum, "Maryland makes a landmark choice for Marriage Equality -- The black vote was critical in Maryland" (Washington Post).

    But, if believing either helps you sleep at night, then have-at-it, just let others do the activism and outreach.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Jan 7, 2013 12:07:34 PM

  6. @Ryansson, agree with the second part of your post. I (honestly) didn't know about the first part of your post. So bring black LGBT culture to the center, I wanna know more.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jan 7, 2013 12:21:09 PM

  7. @Ryansson - What planet do you live on?

    @BELTHAZAR - I'm Asian (Korean). How racist of you to assume I'm white.

    Posted by: Sean | Jan 7, 2013 12:37:15 PM

  8. to the racist commenters - hating black people, and projecting that "black culture" will nevere embrace the LGBT Communities will not change the bigotries of your own white families.

    i know you want it to be that way. i know you want to anonymously spew hatred about black people because your own white families and communities are ashamed of you, but that's just not how progress works. nice delusion, though.

    there's a wealth of inspiration to be mined from this. :-)

    E. Lynn Harris. Audre Lorde. Sojourner Truth (google, boys n'girls...)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 12:54:23 PM

  9. Who would have thought? Racism in the comments of a website predominately visited by White gay men.
    It's laughable that Sean would say that in the initial comment when Black (and Latin@) people , as wholes, view LGBT individuals more positively than White Americans do, proportionally.
    But let's continue to act like it isn't the White Christian Evangelical right which represents the largest obstacle to full LGBT equality. It's so much easier to blame those darn Blacks, isn't it?

    Posted by: Abe | Jan 7, 2013 12:56:36 PM

  10. Kiwi Canada : How do you know that those who hate black people aren't doing it to go against their own families ?? Some white families tried to shove it down their kids' throats that all races are equal, CAN'T be an immoral dysfunctional gay ! Especially those ex-civil rights-activist parents. THOSE are the worst.

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 12:59:44 PM

  11. A quick correction: Black and Latino people don't support equality more than White people, they support it in basically the exact same numbers White people do. So let's not act like any one racial group is at fault here. Scapegoating isn't nice, and as gay/trans*/queer people, you should know better.

    Posted by: Abe | Jan 7, 2013 12:59:45 PM

  12. Abe : That just means blacks are getting a wee bit better. Still WAY behind whites though. Hispanics/Latinos are equal to whites (sometimes scoring even better).

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:02:19 PM

  13. Amazing

    Posted by: Michael Graye | Jan 7, 2013 1:03:07 PM

  14. Yupp: Do you have any statistics whatsoever to back that claim up? Because the Washington Post surveys clearly show that support among Black people in most states is at 50% at least, and rising. (Protip: LGBT support among White people in most states is at 50% and rising). So, despite what Sean said, it's not a "lost cause" because support among Black people is ever-increasing.
    And, you're ignoring the larger issue which is, it isn't Black people who are keeping LGBT individuals from full equality. Maggie Gallagher, Fred Phelps, Tony Perkins, the countless Republican lawmakers who hamper progress, they're all White. Like I said, we can continue to pretend like the Evangelical Christian right isn't the largest obstacle to equality, but that's clearly not the case.

    Posted by: Abe | Jan 7, 2013 1:07:03 PM

  15. Abe : 1 ) I don't have any statistics on hand. 2) Virtually every violent NYC gaybashing I know of is committed by blacks 3) I agree that most of the homophobic political bigshots are white 4) this Morehouse College thing is basically good, at least..can't hurt. 5) I don't agree with sean that it's a "lost cause" though

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:13:36 PM

  16. I hope they offer whatever lectures and modules that class has online. Not being a southern-college age black dude and all, I would be interested to see the course material.

    Posted by: Fensox | Jan 7, 2013 1:15:46 PM

  17. well, Abe, i think what we're seeing is what Alex Haley wrote in ROOTS: "Being white is all they have left"

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 1:16:54 PM

  18. That's my biggest frustration. Even when a historically black college DOES do something that we can all agree is objectively good as far as LGBT equality is concerned, it's STILL not good enough for people like Sean.
    There's a lot more going on here than just "Black people commit more hate crimes".
    Also, let's not forget, but gay Black people exist, too....

    Posted by: Abe | Jan 7, 2013 1:18:19 PM

  19. Fensox : Better hope some of those psychopathic professors don't ruin what could be a great course, with their kooky agenda theories ("this shows how a capitalisticiostic societtie is unfayre to womyn and gender non-normativists.." those types)

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:20:13 PM

  20. Alex Haley made up half the stuff in Roots though.

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:20:59 PM

  21. Abe : THAT I'll agree would be frustrating. Because it IS a positive move.

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:21:50 PM

  22. @"I'm Asian (Korean). How racist of you to assume I'm white."

    Sean, I don't know about Belthazar, but I made that assumption. Well, it's because I thought Klan membership was "White Only". It's an understandable mistake. What did you do to join up? Die your hair blonde?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 7, 2013 1:30:32 PM

  23. I'm sorry, "dye". Bad spelling and maybe some kind of Freudian slip

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 7, 2013 1:36:06 PM

  24. Maybe Sean just had bad experiences with African-American homophobes, repeatedly, and that's where he's coming from......rather than looking for a fight.

    Posted by: Yupp | Jan 7, 2013 1:38:36 PM

  25. @Abe: The Religious Right has its share of African Americans. Yes, it's also true that most of them are at the state and not the national level.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 7, 2013 2:31:28 PM

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