Friday, June 29, 2012

Anonymous Responses and Blogging: Stop the Shade

So, today I received a very vehement anonymous response to my recent blog posting Sex, Shirtless Pics, Desire, HIV and Leadership. It was an anonymous response, which I always find amusing, but I have a strict ethic around my blog that unless I find something to be overtly intentionally hurtful, I will post any response to my blog that is not spam. I have, even, in the past offered to allow folks that have had a significant reaction to my blogs to provide space for them, right here, where I would post any thoughtful response to something that I've written.

Now let me be clear about one thing. I always read and take to heart what folks say when offering friendly critique or offering up reflections on what they perceive about my work, myself, etc. My beloved Kamal Fizazi as often as necessary gives me hard and tight love when he observes I am walking down a road that will eventually lead to my own destructive behaviors.

Having said that, just because you offer me your opinion does not mean that I have to accept it or change my own.  Period.

My best friend RJ Thompson is a brilliant and caring man. He is also passionate about veganism for all kinds of good reasons. I have made an intentional choice about eating meat that is connected to celebrating my history, particularly as a person of African descent. My intentionality means that while I love and respect RJ's passion for veganism and his desire to see the world go more that way, I do not agree with his choice for my life and though he's shared his opinion, I continue to eat hamburgers.

I was accused of a simplistic and knee-jerk response in writing my blog. I quite beg to differ, I have developed, over a year, with ample evidence here on this blog, my ethic and ethos around why I am doing what I am doing with regards to my body and its public transformation. I gave a workshop at Creating Change in January called Sexy Positive Bodies, and I have been asked to re-create that workshop again this year, and I will be joined by an amazing comrade when doing that.

My response was not knee jerk. It just didn't give a real damn about altering why I do what I do when I have intentionally crafted my views around body, HIV, leadership, and desire.

No shade. No shame. But if I don't agree with you, it doesn't mean that your opinion is validated, it simply means that I do not agree with you. I support you, your opinion, thoughts and feelings. But I am living this life, and you aren't. It's that simple.

But the one thing that I don't do and have never done is make my remarks anonymously. It's cowardly, actually, and I feel that way distinctly. You don't have to agree. There is a reason why there is an anonymous option. I will always engage in forthright dialogue, and I have stood by statements that were hard and unpopular. But I do not have respect for those that attack from behind closed doors and do so with a level of laughable self-righteousness. This is a queer blog. Please come out.

Nigel Singer, an organizer in England and the father of the sweet Maya Singer Hobbs wrote in his comment on that same blog:
Brandon, I love this writing. In amongst other stuff I do work on leadership and a book that influences me is called A Failure of Nerve. The writer talks about 'self differentiated leaders', peope who know what they stand for and who are prepared to hold the line. He recognises that some people may be hurt by this clarity and he sees hurt as an inevitable consequence of living our lives. He is clear about not intentionally damaging others but that hurt happens.
He also says that a leader who holds to their truth and stands for it has huge impact and creates change - and some of this impact will be negative reaction - which goes with the territory.
I want to appreciate and enjoy you for your clarity around your expression of your identity.
I stand by who I am, and if, somehow, my doing so has caused hurt to someone else or triggered something from their lives, then I apologize for the hurt but not for my clarity. My intention is mine and it works for what I do and how I do it. Live your life the way you would. Its your freedom to do so. I take mine and do so with integrity. That's all I expect from others. 

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