For Young Black Gay Men, A Fresh Mandate

As we honor the lives of those that we have lost to AIDS, let us also remember that there is an entire generation of queer and transgender folks of color whose legacies occupy the space we operate in. And that there are elders whose bodies are weary from this fight, who ache because of the decades of battle that has been placed on their lives and the lives of their peers, and for whom World AIDS Day is every day.

To be part of this community is both a beautiful gift and an awesome responsibility. That a generation of young Black gay and bisexual men is being told that half of us will contract HIV in our lifetime is the evidence we need to further cement our advocacy, activism, and to mobilize. We are living through an era of statistics that is sketching out our narratives. We owe it to ourselves to take care of one another.

For YBGLI, the beginning of the end of this year starts on World AIDS Day. This period promises a time of reflection – a self-study in observation about the successes and challenges fashioned during the year, and conversation about goals and opportunities missed.

We believe that conversation and dialogue are important markers of the movement for Black lives, for our lives. It’s the reason that we’re committed to two annual summits to bring young Black gay and bisexual men together to build community and dialogue about issues that pains us. It’s an important part of our overall vision: to curate an organization that extends itself beyond the activist frontlines and political spheres and into a space where research, advocacy, activism, and policy mobilization align.

The New Year is a month away – and again, we will be brought together by another research study that desensitizes us. There will be another young Black gay man sentenced for transmitting the virus. Funding will be slashed from one research initiative to make room for another. And the promise of a new administration brings with it a renewed focus on abstinence-only education. Our mandate is to ensure that the best work we do is built on a theory of change that manifests itself when we’re all in sync.

On World AIDS Day, that’s a fresh mandate.  

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YBGLI is a volunteer-run national organization that advocates on pertinent issues that affect young Black gay, bisexual, trans, and queer men of diversity.