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A Taste Of Wisdom

by Justin Young


Since infancy I was raised to believe that homosexuality was both wrong and immoral. I grew up in a neighborhood very detached from mainstream America. The only things that seemed to reach my community were drugs and hip-hop. Therefore homosexuality was unnatural and unheard of where I lived.

For years I thought nothing of calling someone a "homo" or a "dyke". Terms such as "fudge packer", "butch", and "flamer" became so embedded in my vocabulary, that I could not end a sentence without saying the word "bitch" or "faggot" at least once.

This was all before high school, before I got a glimpse at what was going on outside of my little hut (the Bronx). My first year at high school I attended The Beacon School in Manhattan. It was here that I was first introduced to the idea of being politically correct. My school contained a wide variety of people who came from all walks of life. In order to function with my new classmates and teachers, I would have to keep an open mind to new ideas and prospects.

This type of exposure to the world seemed a little overwhelming at first, but nonetheless required a change of thinking on my part. No longer was I to cling to the teachings I grew up with but rather I was to develop ones of my own.

By my fourth year of High School, I transferred to a new school called City-As-School. I had already developed a better sense of reality. I knew now that hip-hop was not the only thing out there, but that the world had a lot more to offer. I now listened to not only Rap and R&B, but enjoy the taste of Rock music as well as Pop. I stopped staring at a people who preferred to wear fish net stockings and green hair. My once effort of categorizing people under "normal" and "freak" stopped. I knew now that we are who we are, and we must accept a person for that.

The playing field changed when I moved to City-As-School. Deep in New York City's village, near Soho, is where City-As-School resides. This area of the great metropolitan is where a majority of the city's homosexual population gathers. And my school was loaded with them. Pretty much all of my teachers were openly gay as well as a large majority of the students. I thought nothing of them. In my newfound "wisdom" I was quite content with leaving well enough alone. Never asking any questions, never wondering. Always not caring.

Recently I attended a discussion panel entitled " Young, Black, Gifted and Gay". The panel featured such guest as rapper,CAUSHON aka "Homo Thug", Editor & Chief of Vibe magazine Emil Wilbeiken, James Saunders CEO of U-Men Entertainment, and other influential black gay males from the entertainment industry.

The panel asked such questions as: Can gay men can survive in the entertainment industry? What does it take to be open and gay without loosing credibility? And does the entertainment industry have a place for gays?

By listening to the panelists I began to get a better sense of the black gay community. They are a strong and thriving community that has in more ways than one won my respect. In an upcoming article, in which I go over in detail the panel discussion you will understand why I have such a great appreciation for them now.


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