Kirk Myers: ‘We want this separation within the LGBT community to end’
TIFFANY AUSTIN | Contributing Writer
Kirk Myers, business adviser for the event since 2008 and an advocate for health care and HIV testing and awareness within the LGBT African-American community, feels that racial division exists within the broader LGBT community, leading to the need for African-Americans to have an opportunity to express their unique Pride.
“Racial division persists within the gay community due to lack of genuine connections and stereotypes,” Myers said. “These racial lines will not be dissolved by pretense of diversity or false inclusion; but, rather, the hard work of humanitarian agendas that focus on the well-being and best interests of all its members. Until that change is realized, black gays are compelled to offer events that highlight and underscore their unique heritage.”
Myers said when he’s attended mainstream Pride events or parades, he’s seen a lack of diversity that he feels contradicted the aim of the LGBT community: to encourage the celebration of what makes each individual unique, including, but not exclusively, their sexuality.
“Pride events, and oftentimes LGBT publications, are not very diverse,” Myers said. “We want this separation within the LGBT community to end, but in the meantime we are going to create events that make African-Americans feel proud of who they are.”
Myers said Dallas Southern Pride has secured sponsors this year including Bud Light, Tempted to Touch and Blaq Out “to make sure we had enough funding to address the void found in the African-American LGBT community.”
Homosexuality is perhaps not as easily accepted or celebrated within the African-American community as it is in the Caucasian culture, according to Myers.
As a result, Myers said the event is especially rewarding for younger attendees who refuse to hide their sexuality and are living with more Pride than seen in previous generations.
“Dallas Southern Pride is an inclusive and affirming experience for all participants; but, perhaps the most engaged and impacted are the younger generations of sexual minorities,” Myers said.
“Accustomed to diversity and openness in some regard, the Dallas Southern Pride meets their expectations, experiences and needs for a healthy community,” he added.
The event will offer vendors, performances and parties, but the highlight, according to Myers, is the Lipstick Ball.
A mechanism of HIV prevention and outreach, the Lipstick Ball combines entertainment and social marketing to ensure that the message of HIV prevention reaches beyond the ordinary outreach mechanisms and specifically targets African-American members of the LGBT community, Myers said.
In addition, Dallas Southern Pride will co-host the inaugural Southern Regional Ball/House and Pageant (B/HAP) Communities’ Leadership and Health Disparities Conference. The conference theme is “Building Bridges and Forming Alliances.”
The goal of the B/HAP conference is to reduce health disparities across the southern region of the U.S. by promoting health equity and improving leadership capacity among sexual minorities, Myers said.
“Our goal is to make that African-American members of the LGBT community feel celebrated and have healthy, happy futures,” Myers said.
For more information about Dallas Southern Pride, visit www.DallasSouthernPride.com.
Dallas Southern Pride
Dallas Southern Pride’s ‘Ball Star Weekend Dallas!’ runs Oct. 4 through 7. For more information, go to DallasSouthernPride.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2012.