All Men Are ‘Real’

by on August 4, 2022 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, LGBT rights

by Ernie McCray

“Gay Black men
are not ‘real’ men”
I heard a brother say
and all I know about him
is he’s ensnared in naivete
because some of the “realist” people I know
happened to be gay,
as there’s nothing
more “real”
than Langston Hughes’ poetry
in opposition
to the injustice and oppression
of Africans trapped in America,
and the same can be said
for James Baldwin’s prose
that exposed
a people’s heartbreak and pain,
challenging them to keep the faith
with love
and you can’t mention love
without recollections
of Alvin Ailey’s
soulfully brilliant dance piece,
inspired by his memories
of growing up
listening to gospel music
and work songs
and blues,
the “real” truths
behind the faith and persistence
African Americans have maintained
to bask in the loving arms
of Mother Liberty…
Bayard Rustin,
Martin’s right-hand man,
a mastermind
behind the scenes,
advocating for the embracing of
Gandhi’s non-violence philosophy…
real Drag Queen,
real author and singer
and model and actor,
such a rich combination of things,
real Emmy winner
for shows that helped
bring pride to LGBTQ folks,
real enough to earn a place
in Time Magazine
as one of its 100 most influential people
in 2017…
Billy Porter,
such a masterful humanizer and
setter of trends,
directing the world’s attention
to possibilities
when it comes to living free,
being “real,”
who you’re meant to be.

All men are “real,”
as we’re a richly
diverse humanity.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Liberal August 5, 2022 at 7:02 am

Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security.

Let’s just keep men out of women’s prisons, sports, rape shelters, bathrooms and stop grooming children for body mutilation and a lifetime of drugs.


Geoff Page August 5, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Boy, are you using the wrong name on your post.


Carrie Adams Peery August 10, 2022 at 6:06 pm

Beautifully and poetically said my brother and fellow principal. I believe we are all real. I will date myself now as I remember Rue Paul as a teenage friend of my daughter, Tanya. He would come to my home in Skyline and visit with other of my neighbors. He was a handsome, very intelligent youth at that time. We adored him and still do. I am so proud that he remained true to himself and has reaped his true honors in this life.
Love to you, my friend.


Jill August 10, 2022 at 9:46 pm

Thank you
Seriously thank u

(I’m not liberal)

And neither is your observation
You are human


El August 5, 2022 at 11:28 am


tired of hearing/reading that word used as a slur against
LGBTQ people

a “groomer” is a pedophile, like my grandfather –
a cisgender, heterosexual

white man


retired botanist August 5, 2022 at 3:37 pm

What a great poem, Ernie. Thanks!


Mat Wahlstrom August 6, 2022 at 8:42 am

Well said, Ernie, thank you.


Shirley Sprinkles,Ph.D August 8, 2022 at 4:55 am

Ernie, this is one of your very BEST! You are a magician with words: analogy and metaphor flow so beautifully and effortlessly from your pen—always edifying and illuminating—always hitting the mark.
You make me proud!


Thomas L Gayton August 8, 2022 at 1:42 pm



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