I remember when I came out to my dad in the fall of 2005. “Well, now you have two strikes against you. “You’re black, AND you’re gay.” At the time I didn’t quite know how to process those words. I knew exactly what my dad meant, but chose to live life not letting those two traits define my whole being. “Challenge accepted” was the tone of my internal promise to myself as I said goodbye to my dad for while, and welcomed my new life as an out gay man.


Race and sexuality were two areas of life I’ve always navigated well. After the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, I’m feeling extremely heavy – weighed down by sadness, truths, and the pressure to persevere. As if the gravity of Black Lives Matter’s tragedies and struggles weren’t enough, I’m now faced with the task of processing my feelings as a gay man of color in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.


My father’s words seem to haunt me as I move through life. First the slew of wrongful deaths in the Black community by the hands of police, and now the senseless mass murder of fifty poor souls – most of which were Latino – at an LGBT safe haven.  


Living as a double minority brings a natural awareness in day-to-day life. I sense my responsibility to face these ghosts, and to figure out how to move forward in learning and growth. What do we do with tragedy of this magnitude? Just when we as a community thought we could breathe a little, a massive undertaking at Pulse Nightclub shakes us back to reality.
“You’re black, and you’re gay.” I can’t let these words fade away only to resurface and taunt me later down the road…



  1. I realized a few years ago a similar thing. I had to say goodbye to the relationship I had with my dad, whom always made me feel as if I was never good enough. I have realized from my own truths that he hasn’t walked in my shoes. He has never known what I have been through and frankly hasn’t ever asked. You know what is true for you. Find strength in those truths. You’re a beautiful soul regardless of the labels society has given you. 🙂

  2. I realize I can not know the weight you’re being black brings to your daily life. However I can tell you that the weight you feel now is normal as you age. I can tell you I feel the same questions and queries, both misgivings and anger over what is happening now in the world I know. I ache for the hurts and harms, and I have not the stomach for the gamesmanship of our congress or church leaders. Maybe I am old, or discouraged. But I do take joy and relief knowing there are young people like you two to take over. Best wishes. Hugs

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