Being a Visible Man in the Age of President Obama

I can’t speak for other gay Black men, but I relate to Barack Obama very intensely as a Black male because that’s what he is and that’s what I am. And that’s where my point of connection comes from.
The issues that affect gay Black men are inseparable from the issues that face Black people in the United States. Whether it’s not having access to adequate health care, housing or a good education–all of these things are part of Black reality. Not just gay Black reality. However, HIV and AIDS prevention and education is an important issue for Black gay men. We need to be visible so we can be counted by our communities. That hasn’t happened as much as it should.

Barack Obama has been very attentive to his language in including gays and lesbians in the statements that he’s made about families. That’s very good and gives us visibility we previously haven’t had. When we begin to talk in a way that includes people more generously, then we can begin to imagine ourselves better off in the future. I think it’s very important that we have a 21st century president willing to include gays in his statements about families. Finally, it feels as if Black gays and lesbians are a part of the population.

Thomas Glave, a Fulbright scholar and author of three critically acclaimed books such as “The Torturer’s Wife,” was recently named the Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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