The term marginalized males would sound like an oxymoron to the casual philanthropic observer. Men are part of the mainstream and benefit from numerous socio-economic advantages in our culture. But just the opposite is the case for large swaths of men who tend to fall into the gap where mainstream culture ends and philanthropy begins. For instance, black men have higher incarceration and unemployment rates than any other population demographic, including black woman.
One such population usually registers more below the radar than most: African American and Latino—black and brown—gay men. Although prevention programs are helping reduce vast disparities in HIV/AIDS prevalence with mainstream communities, black and brown gays receive very little outreach programming. But a lot is needed. For instance, black gays experience a high incidence of prostate cancer, but are the least likely to be screened, according to Kenyon Farrow, the national public education director for Queers for Economic Justice.
Black and brown gays don’t use more drugs and aren’t more promiscuous than white gays, Farrow says, and their communities aren’t necessarily more homophobic. But high poverty, crime, and other socio-economic disparities between black and brown communities and white communities are further marginalizing gays. Healthcare and other support infrastructure targets gays, but it exists in white communities. A black or brown gay man may have to travel an hour through unfamiliar territory to access it. The process is more than inconvenient, it can be dangerous. Black and brown gay men have to think strategically about who they sit next to on public transportation or which stony glances from strangers might indicate trouble. The result is that many black and brown gays wind up feeling isolated, without any access to support.
Philanthropy can help address the issue by becoming more informed on the issues and targeting black and brown gay outreach groups for funding that reaches beyond HIV/AIDS to support other work, such as the leadership and organizational development necessary to increase advocacy and civil rights responses.
For more information:
Provides information about economic and social issues facing LGBT communities, including black and brown communities. Also check out its recent report, “Poverty, Public Assistance & Privatization.”
One of the more effective outreach efforts to black gays, which engaged Harlem gays on a personal level.
International Federation of Black Prides (IFBP) Publicizes black LGBT community issues by organizing local chapters of over 30 national black LGBT pride organizations.
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) Network Organization Kenyon Farrow cited as currently engaging in the most interesting model of talking about HIV not only as a health issues but as a social justice issue.
Marginalized Males Funders Group An organization of national funders that is building broader support and attention to the men falling into the gap and the impact on society.