Part one of three in my discussion with the Nation of Islam’s Western Regional Director Minister Tony Muhammad. To watch in high quality, click here.

POLL

[poll id=”33″]

So there’s a lot of innuendo and speculation as it relates to California’s Black community and the upcoming ballot Proposition 8, which would limit marriage as only between a man and a woman.

From New York Times articles and people, who are Black themselves, but who wouldn’t know the Black community if they accidentally made a wrong turn and ended up right smack dab in the middle it, to groups poorly disguised as being Black and gay but are really back by—yep, you guessed it–the same non-Black gay groups pushing for gay marriage.

I have so many feelings as it relates to Prop. 8 and California’s gay community. Some I have shared before, others that are worth repeating.

So that there’s no confusion, since there seems to be a lot these days where I am concerned, for the record, as long as I pay the same amount of taxes as every other person in this country, I deserve the rights, benefits, and privileges. So yes–I support equal rights and protections for me as a lesbian, but I have decided that there are some more pressing issues that need to addressed to the benefit of all Blacks, both gay and heterosexual, that I’ve decided to focus on for the time being. And in doing that work, I’ve been able to, like so many other Black same-gender brothas and sistas, build the bridges and relationships in the overall Black community that are going to be necessary in the future to address issues like gay marriage and homophobia.

California’s non-Black gay community has a poor track record when it comes to collaborating on anything seen as important to Blacks. But yet—they don’t have a problem telling us what we’re supposed to see as being important, in other words, trying to set our agenda for us. I can’t go for that.

It’s for this reason and others, that for the most part, I’ve stayed out of the whole discussion, and I have to tell you, it’s been pretty easy to do. Why? Because contrary to what they might have you believe, Black folks aren’t organizing in mass in support of Proposition 8. We’re too focused on the overall General Election and just turning out the vote.

Of course, there are going to be those Blacks that vote for it on November 4th. But there will also be those Blacks that vote against it. And if there’s any backlash at the polls around Prop. 8, it won’t be because of homophobic Blacks, it will be because of an over zealous gay community once again trying to start something where there is nothing.

It’s funny to me how the Black community is only of significance to California’s non-Black gay community around election time or legislative votes. Only then will they try and come into our community—be it with ads on our radio stations or in our newspapers. This time around, they’ve taken it to all time low by employing a non-Black person to run a so-called Black LGBT group. A group that no one knows and that doesn’t do anything in the Black community other than meet over meals. Why? Because the gay powers that be felt that the Black LGBT community wasn’t organized, in particular, organized for Prop. 8. There they go pushing their agenda again.

What they don’t know or fail to realize is that Black people, and by default that includes Black same-gender loving people, are organized. We’re organized for what we’ve deemed as our most pressing issues come November 4. That may or may not be Proposition 8, but we’re organized none the less. I know because I see us all of the time out there registering voters, working hand in hand with our heterosexual brothers and sisters to elect Senator Barack Obama. From Compton to Inglewood, we’ve been working hard to get the job done…together.

So to that end, just because I can, I decided to sit down with some of L.A.’s more well known Black clergy and community leaders to talk about Proposition 8 and Blacks.

While I won’t be campaigning for or against Prop. 8, I felt it was important to paint the whole picture. That just because some Blacks don’t support gay marriage, doesn’t make them homophobic or automatic enemies of all gays, and that by painting Blacks who don’t support gay marriage as homophobic is an attempt to undue the work that many Black gays have done in their own community. To show that even among our differences we’ve been united to work together towards a common cause that is to the benefit of our greater community, the Black community, which by default benefits the gay community. That as a lesbian I feel I am more a part of California’s Black community than I am its gay community. But most importantly to show that through our relationships, relationships between Black same-gender loving and Black heterosexual people, we have been able to open doors that were previously closed when it comes to discussing issues like Prop. 8., all without the help of outsiders.

So here’s part one of three in my discussion with the Nation of Islam’s Western Regional Director Minister Tony Muhammad. I’ll post parts two and three shortly, with more to follow.