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Beyond black and white.

Do I take the word lesbian out of a poem I wrote for the upcoming Alpha Phi Alpha talent show at Albany State University? I asked myself that question for two weeks after I was invited to write and perform a new piece for the black fraternity. When I brought up the issue to my black friends, they said I should take it out, as not to offend my black peers by "pushing" my lesbianism. My gay friends merely said, "You're out of the closet. I'm sure no one will care."

Did I mention that almost all of my gay friends are white and almost all of my black friends are straight?

The issues of queer people of color are invisible and unacknowledged. We have been taught in our label-obsessed society that you are one thing or another, never both. I am the assistant director of my school's LGBTQ Concerns Office. I am also an active member of the Albany State University Black Alliance. But I must adopt a single identity for each, which is difficult when I'm involved in a gay activity. My blackness cannot be resigned from.

So I have decided to lead the 18-year-old dreadlocked gay and black activist, single lesbian revolution. I have decided that this was my only option. As a black lesbian I keep looking for mentors and role models, like many other people my age, and I keep coming up empty-handed. I realize now that I must become the role model that I would like to have because neither of the communities to which I belong can offer me anyone to truly look up to.

I have also decided in leave the word lesbian in my talent show piece.
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Title Annotation:Generation Q; Lesbian of color comments on her identity
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 25, 2003
Previous Article:Transitions.
Next Article:Good men slain: January 11, 1979.

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