Dallas’ gay multi-culti group celebrates 25 years of bringing together men of all stripes
Even though we once elected an African-American mayor, is it really shocking to admit that Dallas still suffers from racism?
How about adding another layer to that intolerance being gay?
How about the challenges interracial gay couples face?
At least there’s an organization committed to breaking through social barriers: Men of All Colors Together. MACT is actually part of a nationwide collective. This weekend, the Dallas chapter celebrates 25 years of realizing the goal of human equality.
Preston Pulliam (a white dude) joined in 1990, after he and his lover (a black dude) transferred to Dallas from Oklahoma City. Both were from middle-class, churchgoing families.
“But this is the South. And even with straight relationships, color differences are frowned upon,” Pulliam says.
Now a MACT co-chair, Pulliam says he’s drawn to men of color “because I love learning about cultures, customs and traditions. And I quickly get bored when I’m in a room of people who all look just like me.”
While they raise money for local charities and fight racism on local and national levels, MACT is primarily a social group. They have cookouts, pool parties, camping trips, picnics, movie nights, and they go bar hopping. Sometimes they just sit around and talk.
During his 17 years as a member, what’s Pulliam learned about interracial socializing?
“To talk less and listen more,” he laughs. “I’m a litigation attorney. So if there’s a rap session going on, I tend get rather opinioned.”
Over the years, Pulliam says levels of racism have definitely decreased within the gay community. “But double carding still goes on at night clubs.”
It happed when MACT had invited an African-American activist from San Francisco to speak to the Dallas chapter. The gentleman was wearing a kufi a short cap traditionally worn by Muslims and the doorman wouldn’t permit his entrance.
“I was enraged. And because I was his host, I was also deeply embarrassed,” Pulliam remembers.
The Dallas chapter’s active membership is on the small side: about 20 members, Pulliam says. But at a recent photo shoot with Pulliam and co-chair, Ronald Jefferson, it’s evident that MACT is a chummy bunch. Some men join to hunt for partners; some just to socialize.
In the early ’90s, the Dallas membership rose to about 60 members. Since then, membership probably dropped off because many minority groups within the gay community formed their own clubs. Which is actually very cool. Pulliam sure thinks so: In 2005, the Legacy of Success Foundation primarily an African-American group made him an honorary black dude.
“They gave me the annual award for “‘black person involved with community service,'” Pulliam says. “That’s one of my life’s proudest moments.”
SILVER ANNIVERSARY SPLASH
25th anniversary weekend: Southern BBQ pool party at a private residence. Sept. 15, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. $5 cover. Cash bar donations go to AIDS Resource Center Food Pantry. Pride parade pre-party at a private residence. Sept 16 at noon. Free. Cash bar. For addresses and information, call 214-521-4765.
Or visit: groups.yahoo.com/group/mactdallas/
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2007