Our Promise for the Future and Where We Began
By Jeffrey C. King
Enter Fall, a time of the year when even the City of Angels experiences a cosmic shift. We here at In The Meantime utilize this time of the year to exceed our set programmatic objectives while planning for the new year.
Our staff, board of directors, and community advisory groups meet to provide input into this final quarter of the year process and to share ideas on how we can better serve our community in the upcoming year. As a collective, we chronicle all of our events and programmatic activities to assess what we define as successes and to pinpoint areas to tweak and make desired adjustments.
I am particularly excited about the first full year of the implementation of:
1. In The Meantime’s BoiRevolution Project for 18-29-year-old Black Gay Men. Our community has fought tirelessly for this type of targeted programming.
2. The elevated facilitation of Black Gay Men’s Wellness Month. Each year this movement continues to evolve and grow.
Although we are still in the planning phases of 2019, we have already determined that we will continue the MENtorship Project, our Brothers Reaching Brothers Discussion Group, the HIS-House Social Initiative “for men of a certain age,” the In The Meantime Get Tested initiative, and the seven layers of the BoiRevolution Project. In The Meantime remains committed to supporting and housing the Saturday yoga class and 12 Step All Fellowship Recovery meeting.
I am both personally and professionally proud of the MyLife MyStyle Intervention for young Black Gay Men 18-29 years of age. The creation and implementation of this intervention continues to be a true labor of love and passion for my community. Over the many years of its development and rigorous evaluation, MyLife has been met with contempt by many closeted homophobes, and yet Young Black Gay men rate this intervention with excellent reviews. That is what matters most to me.
Whereas some segments of our society are still struggling to catch up with the realities of Black LGBTQ Pride, our youth are being supported in affirming that their lives, their identities, their preferences and, yes, their sex is good. The act of positive affirmation is revolutionary to some who cannot imagine that we no longer put our faith in the hands of uneducated, unqualified, asleep, and undeserving self-appointed human deities who would seek to destroy our self-worth. No, we will not go silently into the night, and, yes, we will live to fight another day for justice and equality for all.
It is in MyLife time that I proclaim for self and those I represent that our lives have great value and worth beyond measure. Our SEX is not HIV. Our SEX is not STDs. Our sex is a divine gift as it is with all nature, human and non-human.
I leave you with this quote from the MyLife MyStyle Intervention as a starting point for some and a jumping off point for the millions who are still trying to figure it out.
“Brothers, our sex is good and our desire to have sex with another man is normal and our right, just like every other human being who chooses to have sex.”
Our sexual expressions may vary from oral, anal, masturbation, or mutual masturbation to a variety of other options that we might find personally and/or mutually satisfying.
Anal sex is a normal choice and sexual expression for many gay men, whether you choose to penetrate or whether you choose to be penetrated or maybe you choose to be versatile.
Anal sex is considered the choice of 88 percent of AAMSM in Los Angeles County. It is still considered to be one of the riskiest sexual acts (without a condom). It is important for us to embrace who we are and what we do sexually. There are a lot of negative forces out there that try to tell us that there is something wrong with us and with those we love. It is critical to remember that our sexual expression and sexual behaviors are normal and healthy aspects of our lives.
Brothers, our sex is good! When we know what we are dealing with, we are then able to make better informed decisions about our lives. We have to educate ourselves.
Jeffrey C. King is Founder and Executive Director of In The Meantime Men’s Group, Inc.