‘Black, Gifted & Whole’ Nonprofit Helps Gay Students Thrive At HBCUs
In January 2015, two Black men, Guy Anthony and George Johnson, founded “Black, Gifted, and Whole,” a nonprofit organization committed to the empowerment of young, queer Black men through scholarship and mentoring.
The Black community has not been very supportive of Black LGBTQIA children. There are very few spaces and programs that help them understand and process. The HBCU community is not much different, some Black students who attend HBCUs are often unable to graduate because of financial difficulty coupled with homophobia from school administrators, professors, and peers. Cited on NewsOne
“I wish that I had a mentor that was like me, so that I didn’t have to struggle through that journey alone,” says Johnson. Similarly Anthony tells NewsOne, “The reason we started BGW was to celebrate Black Gay and Queer men by affirming their whole selves. Not often do we see ourselves as whole people in media, in relationships, at work, or in family life. Black, Gifted & Whole is the organization I wish was around when I was learning how to love myself as a young man.”
Johnson, an alumnus of two HBCUs—Virginia Union University for undergrad and Bowie State University for graduate school—says Black, Gifted, and Whole intervenes in a national political climate fraught with bias.“As someone who went to two HBCUs, I fully understand the struggle of living in your identity while also… Click To Tweet
Why HBCU Alum Support BGW
Jeremy O’Brien, an alumnus of Tougaloo College and a schoolteacher and Black gay playwright based in Houston, Texas, tells NewsOne, “At Tougaloo College, I was very fortunate to encounter a lot of spaces where queerness – healthy and empowering ideas about queerness – was at the center of the conversation.”
In contrast, Verdell Wright, who is currently a Ph.D. student at Howard University says, “I was well prepared to be an academic for my doctoral program. I wasn’t prepared to be an out gay man, though. No one called me names or anything like that, but you can tell when professors and your colleagues don’t want to invest the same level in your interests as they do the others. Particularly at an HBCU, the race unity can sometimes obscure that many administrators and students harbor some harmful views around gender and sexuality. There’s definitely a need for LGBTQ mentors and allies in HBCUs. I’m a graduate student and I sure could’ve used one.”
The Rev. Shawn Torres, an alumnus of Benedict College and a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary, tells NewsOne that he donates to Black, Gifted, and Whole because “being able to have obtained such a scholarship would have shifted things for me.” These efforts, he continues, “Lets people know that they are supported financially but also that they are affirmed in their queerness, which is both holy and sacred.” Read Full Article NewsOne
We are a diverse community and should embrace our differences. If you are a member of the LGBTQIA community and attend an HBCU know there are resources and people just like you, looking out for you. That’s the whole point of HBCUs!!!!
Click here to learn more about Black, Gift and Whole, or to make a donation.
La'Shawn Chambers311 Posts
Part Owner of CampusLATELY/ blogger contributor. A graduate of Prairie View A&M University and proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.