A black man ran to gay enclaves to feel safe. But was he welcome?

During the pandemic, a slew of organizations run primarily by black transgender people have all attempted to tackle this issue head-on. ...


During the pandemic, a slew of organizations run primarily by black transgender people have all attempted to tackle this issue head-on. – even outside of the perceived safety of those notorious gay enclaves that really cemented themselves during the HIV/AIDS crisis as safe havens.

Organizations like GLITS, led by Ceyenne Doroshow, raised over $1 million to provide stable housing for trans people in New York as the pandemic hit. In New Orleans, the House of Tulip, a group led by trans people, has raised funds and not only began to provide real housing options to most LGBTQ people of color, but did so by securing land trusts in the state of Louisiana. Even in Colorado, we saw an alpaca farm called Tenacious Unicorn Ranch emerge which provides housing and employment supports for mostly transgender and gender non-conforming people.

In Provincetown, city officials are trying to redirect the money to create more affordable housing as the pandemic only makes it more and more expensive.

So some changes happen slowly – and that makes some people optimistic. But there is still a lot of work to do.

Lola Flash63, is ready for a more racially inclusive Fire Island.

“I think it’s a perfect place for this change that needs to happen,” they told me recently. “These guys over there are CEOs of this and that and if we can get them to start thinking differently and accepting difference then change will come.”

“Maybe not in my lifetime, but a little while,” they continued.

Mx. Flash, a prolific black queer photographer whose work is now part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, has summered on the island since the 1990s, renting roommates, staying with friends and last year, by BOFFO artist residency. Similar to Mr Dash, they heard of their fair share of micro-aggressions from other holidaymakers during their stay, but say they never really thought about race until 2020.

The artist decided to do a series of works called “Unsung Fire Island” where they interviewed various queer people of color who were on the island about their experiences there and also took their portraits. Mx. Flash says the conversations all contained similar themes and stories. The common refrain was how lonely they felt among seas of mostly white gay men.

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Newsrust - US Top News: A black man ran to gay enclaves to feel safe. But was he welcome?
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