Education: LGBTQ Young Adults Progressing Beyond Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Careers In Pornography by Kyle Phoenix
Original Posted Question/Point by a Young Man on Facebook:
Probably not going to win many friends with this post. But young gay/Bi men of color are not keeping up with their straight or gay white peers. I have met so many gay whites or straight Blacks and Latinos breaking ground in traditional WASP- only sectors. Yet every gay/Bi man of color I see under 35 is only in Fashion, Music, Entertainment, Adult Entertainment, or nightlife etc. Note this is not about money- because these fields bring a lot of revenue- but rather diversity and equality. I would like to see more doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, editor, Entrepreneurs, Accountants, etc I think this is directly correlated to a previous post about not many attending 4-year institutions of Higher Education.
The twofold minority (race/sexuality) issue generates a third mental/social sector---poverty. Over 50% to 70% of the young men and women you're talking about grow up in households in or held down by poverty. I used to be a Youth Coordinator for LGBT youth and all of the industries----entertainment, porn, fashion, modeling, acting, rapping, and singing were the aspirations because they demand no higher education. And because they may've come from a sector in life where higher education wasn't possible, its easier to dream of something that doesn't demand what you can't achieve. We think higher education is possible for all but it isn't. Not simply economically, also mentally. I have to have role models, a support system, mental health and enhancement plus financial wherewithal to get to college.
What invariably happens when I point this out is someone who grew up in a form of poverty will point out how they "made it". Two factors there---if 1 out of a million makes it that still leaves 999,999. Two, with only a few questions I can pinpoint and find the person/people that shifted that individual. If your maternal grandfather has a higher than middle school education, you're more likely to, if not, you won't. Why because your mother's father will see the value in his daughter having an education. If your mother has an education she, who spends the most time with you will naturally pass on and push her education. Those who can "think" more literally pass it on like a virus. So when it comes time for high school and then college, it's not such a massive mental, social, emotional leap.
I'm highly educated, pretty smart---have 99% of my working history been paid for my brain capacity vs. physical labor/tasks but when I trace back why its because my grandmother graduated high school in 1928 and because she wasn't entirely Black---she and her siblings were only 1/4 so they grew up middle class in Rhode Island because they weren't as racially offensive so they were allowed into the education system. My great-grandfather was full Narragansett Indian but high school educated so when it came time to send his children to school---though the pervasive idea was to merely educate your sons (he had 5), he allowed/pushed his 2 daughters to go as well. My great-great grandmother was only a 1/3 Black so she was educated thereby educating my great grandmother. My grandmother married a man who had graduated high school so that in a Jim Crow society they were in the 10 to 20% of the entire population of Blacks with high school or better. All 3 of their children graduated high school. My aunt went to college classes and was able to explain it to my mother, the youngest, who didn't know what college was but went. And boom---she met my father in college as his family had sent him from the South to attend here in NY.
Long, I know, but suddenly my interest/activity in education isn't simply up to my natural smarts its like the long line of someone in training. My parents get Masters degrees, Masters degrees then become the norm in my family. My children will at a minimum have the equivalent of a Masters degree----it's a gradation/increase line.
We think limited aspirations are inherent to the individual, most times it comes from the lack of knowing and therefore capability of one generation able to pass on to another.
What about exceptions?
The 4 ways out of poverty are Lotto (Windfall/Inheritance), Marry Into Money, Education and Superior Talent (Michael Jackson, etc.). Most can't/won't marry into money because there is a social class wall between the help and the owner despite race. Most men (and women) regardless of sexuality don't understand why they won't marry rich----because they don't, can't, won't be able to associate with them in the venues where the rich are and looking for spouses, plus they won't "fit" or understand the social rules someone from money might come from/have.
Lotto---the odds are 1 in 2 to 42 million of winning. (Windfall/Inheritance---most people from poverty—less than $18,000 a year earned as a individual, less than $50k to $80,000 earned as a family don’t know how to manage large sums of money in the millions. Therefore nearly 80% of all Lotto winners lose all of their money within 5 years. Think about your cousins, Facebook friends, family, exes coming to you as soon they hear about your new money.)
Superior Talent seems easy because of Michael Jackson and Tyra Banks and Nicki Minaj because there's generally no frame of reference from Expert Teachers or relatives as to how such Talent is developed----generally 10,000 hours of study to a craft in order to amount to excellent level---which is approximately 5 to 10 years of concentrated study---financial needs met, support systems met and most importantly higher level teachers/experts in the field of interest being able to teach someone level a to level b level c to d---critiquing. Michael had not only his parents pushing him but all of his siblings aspiring too so there was competition to be good---then Joe got them to Motown where experts---Smokey, Berry Gordy, Diana Ross could teach them the next levels (Diana got to Berry Gordy, Smokey got the Temptations and Berry Gordy, Berry Gordy got the chitlin circuit), Whitney Houston had her mother and Dionne Warwick to nurture those 10,000 hours and then Clive Davis and so on.
This is why most of the LGBT youth don't make it as models, actors, singers not because of a lack of possible talent but because talent isn't what it appears like in the finished product. Its work and nurturing in a concerted cultivating way----and if you come from people (1 in 7 chance you do) who don't know how to cultivate talent you won't be able to rise from out of the pack who are singing and dancing and voguing their hearts out. Modeling seems like its a good hit because one is cute but everyone at a certain age and lighting is cute---it takes networking to not be part of the pack and to network someone around you must have or teach you the skill of networking, professionalization and perseverance.
Now if you have no educational examples or family building push, no ability to discern how to network, no educational fostering, no role models/mentors, plus you have the natural discrimination of the society based on race and gender---you won't have a high number wanting to be in corporate america---one, mainly because they don't understand the rules---clothing, diction, actions, speaking up, being quiet, politics, networking, investing a decade in more education, degrees, constantly when the outcome is a decade away from the actual work of educating---you won't get an educated class of LGBT males and females.
I hate outlining problems---without adding solutions---how to break this? Mentorship and re-mediation---I had one student who entered the youth group in CUNY because his mother was educated and in spite of the foolishness and temptation and natural friendship peer pull he graduated college this past May. He was 1 of 80.
His degree is in Communications/Media and he continued working part time throughout school and did an internship with the MTA. Not exciting, not glamorous but workable.
Now a few of the others who came through who had completed college didn't stay because the "group" wasn't at their level---and that is wholly, humanly true. They're working and fine. So that's maybe 5 of the 80. The remaining 75----50 wanted to be singers and models and so on---so far HIV and porn and McJobs (no benefits, less than less an hour, no future, easily replaceable employees) has been the outcome in spite of my and the agency's efforts to enhance, train, change them.
The remaining 25 are still in Limbo of "maybe, maybe not.". Probably 2 of them will educate and use that education in a way that enhances their lives beyond the entertainment industry. Generally when you educate you start understanding that it's far more business than show in show business anyway so you realize the perform is the front prostitute and generally makes only 2% of the revenue anyway.
Unless one masters the business side of show business and then, then you start making the real money---but that's a paradigm shift from slave to owner. A slave is thrilled to buy a slice of bread, a master wants to know the recipe so they can open a bakery and sell slices of bread. But if you don't have parents, family, mentors to teach you the paradigm shift you'll maintain being a slave.
So the LGBT youth what you're seeing is slave mentality over multiple racial generations without mediation to break that mental chain.
Thank you for reading,
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