GMHC Launches New Campaign Targeting Fathers of Black Gay Men

Some people don’t dig social marketing campaigns, but I think that, when done well, they can be a good way to disrupt the many silences around our lives and put them into the public sphere for conversation. When it comes to homophobia and the consistent invisibility of Black queers in the Black community (though that is beginning to change slowly) having posters in subways or wheat-pasted, they can be good ways for us to disrupt the silence and be situated in the geography of the city.

This is the second of a series GMHC has been doing this year, and though I am less giddy about this one as I was the I LOVE MY BOO campaign, this one is damn cool too!

“Families are critically important to young men of color and this campaign builds on the strength and resiliency of those bonds,” stated Dr. Marjorie Hill, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. “We recognize the complexities in the lives of young men of color who have sex with men. Thus, HIV prevention efforts should speak to the realities faced by these young men on a daily basis. We cannot simply deliver a message of “use condoms” or “be tested for HIV. It is imperative to address the myriad of underlying factors which contribute to the transmission of HIV, including homophobia, racism, poverty, isolation, stigma, poor body image, and inadequate access to health care.”

9 thoughts on “GMHC Launches New Campaign Targeting Fathers of Black Gay Men

  1. the image that they use in this one is rather interesting. very…non-stereotypical.

    i agree with u regarding the power and potential of social marketing campaigns. i would add that we need much more of the well-done stuff. in order to present a more well-rounded perspective.

  2. it’s a really mellow poster, i hope they make more like it. i like how it gets the point across without having to be flashy or obnoxious. do they have a program like this in chicago?

  3. Pingback: Blog-AroundHarlem.com » Blog Archive » Gay Men’s Health Crisis Launches Public Service Campaign Targeting Fathers of Black Gay Men

  4. I don’t trust Gay Men’s Health Crisis. So much of their money is spent on straight people just like this ad campaign. It’s because they value straights more. I bet that both people in this ad are straight. They don’t even care about getting gay people to represent gay people. Last year they made a commerical for their dinner celebration and both people in the ad were straight. Will a child listen to his or her parents to wear a condom? The answer is no. People’s main influence are their friends. GMHC falls in straight people’s trap in believing straight are the determiners of who is valueable and who is not. The most at risk for contracting HIV are men who are closeted (don’t identify as gay) and men who make a decent living. The reason why these groups are the most at risk is because they believe straight people are the determiners of their value i.e. “I won’t be liked if I come out” or straight people handle the promotions. When gay people question their value they are much more likely to engage in risky behavior like unprotected sex. Gay organizations have to promote gay people, tell gay people they are good, tell them they matter, tell them their well-being is of great concern and just build a community of confident people. If a gay person living a great life they will believe they can too. If a gay person looks at another gay person to see if their straight parents or straight peers accepted them then they results will most likely be negative because they will always be looking for validation from straights. You will never win if you place gay people’s value in the hands of straights.

  5. I can understand your frustration with GMHC or organizations you perceive to be more concerned about straight people than gay people, and seem to be increasingly concerned with not being seen as a gay organization.

    But the reality is, is that there are a lot of straight people, namely women, who are living with HIV and need serivces. I also know that there are many Black and Latina women with HIV that GMHC services and I want those women, who are a part of my community as well, to have those services available to them (why there are not more services in the neighborhoods where we live, or why people with HIV don’t seek those services, is another story.).

    Your statement, “The most at risk for contracting HIV are men who are closeted (don’t identify as gay) and men who make a decent living” is simply not true. Actually, for Black gay men, it is the ones who are “out” who seem to be (according to research done by David Malebranche and Greg Millett) at most risk of HIV infection, as opposed to “DL” men or men who are less likely to disclose their status, which goes against the popular notion. In terms of income, I have not seen any data to account for risk or prevalence by income levels. I wish there was more data to that end.

    I think we need to be able to both speak to the value of gay (and lesbian and Transgender and bizexuals and whomever else) folks to each other but in order to end homophobia, straight people also need to get their shit together! So I don’t have a problem with ads that but the onus of homophobia square onto the backs of straight people.

    Lastly, I know one of the models personally. He is not at all straight.

  6. The ad doesn’t challenge straight people at all in their responsibility for perpetuating and enforcing anti-gay attitudes. Basically it say a father loves his son even though he doesn’t understand him being gay which gets into the mind games I wrote about earlier. They may be sincere in their effort but they should know better at this point in the game 27 years after the epidemic started. GMHC, The Black AIDS Institute and other AIDS organizations need to redesign their websites as well. The main pages are just press release after press release. They have difficult for people to access information and feel comfortable about getting the information from them.

    I am skeptical of David Malebranche and Greg Millett’s analysis of their own research. Even if men on the DL do practice safe sex more often it doesn’t matter much because HIV tranmission can happen at any time one has unprotected sex.

    There are varying degrees of openness and closetedness. Men who are physically attracted to men are gay no matter what the rationalization is. In surveys around 14% of men claim to be attracted to men. Even if half are confused or lying (extremely unlikely given how unpopular same-sex attraction is) that leaves 3% who do not tell pollsters they are gay because typically 4% say they are gay.

    http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DiseasePrevention/documents/pdf/HIV%20in%20Virginia's%20Black%20Women%20Final.pdf

    http://www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories06/december/1201061.htm

    http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102261838.html

  7. I don’t have time to fully respond to this Tyron, but in reality, Malebranche and Millett’s work is well done, and I would suggest you read it before jumping to conclusions. In a study Millett has done (which will come out in October) it will show not more condom use by black men who do not identify as gay with their male and female partners, but that they also have less HIV prevalence than men who identify as gay. So practicing safe safe more often does in fact reduce one’s risk.

    I also disagree with the “anyone who is attracted to men is gay” idea. It’s very reduces one’s sexual desire down to a label that is more than just about the desire, but is also an identity wrapped up in a particular cultural identity, which not everyone identifies with. Sexuality and desire are complex, and while there are certainly some people who deny their desire, not everyone who denies the label gay necessarily denies their desire or behavior.

  8. What I like about this ad is that it targets the right thing – the human heart – and this relationship between a father and son SPEAKS dead center to me about the thing that gay man are really seeking that is so hard to grab; the need to love and be loved by someone else. My own father died when I was 18, so the whole gay issue was between me and my two brothers. Man oh man! It took years to reconnect with them to get to the point where they remembered I was one of them and they were part of my heart and soul. It’s better now, but those were lost years. I played to forget, mask, ignore the pain. This ad? I can just see me sitting with my daddy, getting somewhere.

  9. I’ve read Malebranche and Millett’s past research and one of their reports indicated DL men practice safe sex more often than openly gay men.

    DL men have more sex with women than gay men. Contracting HIV from anal sex is much easier than from vaginal sex.

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