Q:“How are you handling the intersectionality at being a black gay Big & Tall guy?”
A: At the beginning going back to my youth it was a struggle. Struggles that stemmed from my own issues of self-esteem (lack their of), trying to find acceptance with the Black LGBTQIA+ community, looking for representation, and hell just trying to find clothes that fit. So needless to say all these things were issues some internal and some very vast and conscious issues not just my own. At 36 now that I KNOW WHO I AM & stand tall in it, the battles are less. In a culture that still subtly practices the old antigen “No Fats No Fems,” it can be easy to be swept up in the mass media production of “beauty”. For me personally, I had to realize while YES I am a size 40/42 waist, XXL in shirts, a size 11 in shoes, and all of this being supported by a 6’1 height and broad body structure I AM NO LESS.
The greatest assignment I learned that helped me was “stop the act of comparison”. Thinking thoughts of “if only I was smaller, had a 6 pack, chest was firmer, had more robust appendages, etc”. then I’d be better. So you ask me how do I handle this? Simply put I love myself stretch marks and all. And while yes I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and still going. I still deal with body dysmorphia, but I realize now the only opinion of me that matters is the one I have of my own. I don’t wait for social media, fashion advertisement, the black gay community, or anyone else to validate who I am.
Q: What do you believe would be the outcome if the countless Black men and women that were murdered was apart of the LGBTQIA+ community?
A: Within our community I do believe it would draw us together. I hate that tragedy has to unfold for us to love on one another. As I type this reply I think of all the Trans sisters we’ve lost to murder over the years and how that is often placed on the back burner. Just like in almost every outcry for change our allies would be Cis Black women. White voices just like in the case of George Floyd, Tamar Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and everyone else killed they would be silent or very calculated.
I don’t believe that we’d have a strong ally ship from Black Cis heterosexual men. They have proven too often that have no interest in walking or working with us to fight for Black equality or and liberation. Within the community we chant “Black Lives Matter”, but in fine print if you identify as: gay, bi, pan, trans, non binary, any other term other than “Straight” they have no place for you at the table. If this was the case where we say black men/women in our gay community being victimized in such a way I believe that wed have another Stonewall on our hands.
Q: If you had the mic and a million people were listening what would you say?
A: It’s so many things I’d want to be heard, and so many points I’d want to convey.
Top three points I’d want to convey:
- God is thee source of it all!! Whatever religious/spiritual practices you have yield to them often. I’d be remised if I typed this and didn’t personally acknowledge that my life is a testament to Gods blessings, orchestrating my life. In times like this where so much is happening, there is an influx of hate, inconsistent economy, etc for me what gets me through is knowing that there is a force bigger than I. And when it all begins to be too much, and I don’t know what I am doing or what to do I can ask for help and signs to assist me.
- Make your mental health as important as your physical health. Within many communities, but especially the Black community mental health is NOT a priority let alone recognized or mentioned. For many of us we were conditioned to believe that therapy is for “crazy people”, “that’s White people shit”, or my personal favorite “ I don’t need therapy I have God, he’s my therapist”. Its so much to unpack here which I wont be doing but I will highlight sone key points. All the disparities that Black people have had to bare witness to has taken many tolls on our race generational since slavery. Many of us come from families (myself included) where generational trauma has been passed down and too often showing us in various ways. Because we have this negative mindset concerning therapy we don’t get treated to heal our minds, and hearts we are more subsequent to various health concerns. Stress is a common thread woven into the black community. To sum it up you cant heal what you wont help.
- Be kind to yourself, you’re doing the best you can!!! Many of who have and whom are doing the work to be better often are VERY critical and hard as hell on ourselves. Learn to make your mistakes, but learn from them and grow from them. Make peace with the fact that you won’t always get it right, but love yourself keep on fighting.
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Hola Mi Tribesmen I guess I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m Kirklan Hawes the Founder and creator of XLTribe.com. This site was birthed from an old idea I had to create a community of like-minded guys that was tired of being miss represented and wanted to be displayed in the truest form. Changing the way Big & Tall Men are perceived is the goal for XLTribe.com.