Why Do a Glossary for Black, Latino, Bi, Gay, Str8 and SGL Men in Books, in Youtube Videos, Blog by Kyle Phoenix

For the past few years I've been directly publishing books, a few years before that I started this blog as well as a YouTube Channel.  I've done them all on the basis or the lack of good, useful, and valuable information about living one's life fully as an MSM---Black, Latino, Asian, Native, White, etc..  In my years of working and volunteering for MSM-related programs and organizations I found there was often a gap in the education offered.  Sure we taught you about HIV and safe sex (actually honestly we taught it ad nauseum because that's where the money comes from...but that's explained better in my blogs on Black and Latino organizations on this blog) But when the complimentary Metrocards were handed out, the umpteenth NYC stamped condom and generic lube was offered from several spots in the room, the room was filled with men.  Men with issues and questions. Lots of Life Questions.

I'll reveal one of my issues: in circa 2010 that I turned to an organization's packed room with---ill and ailing parents.  It was happening sooner than I had anticipated, in their 50s instead of 60s and 70s so suddenly I was being pulled in different directions---working multiple full-time jobs/consulting/teaching/being a student AND commuting regularly to North Carolina.  I foresaw that this would only increase but this period of time I had purposefully focused to returning to school, making major headways in my advanced education career and building a future that would allow me to handle the very external family issues that I was handling.  I was trying to manage blown tires on a moving car.  I turned to the room, full of men of color 10, 20, 30, even 40 years older than me and asked for advice on what to do, resources to look into, plans to make, etc.

Silencio.  (Ok, the correct word is tranquillo...but you get the point.)

I reframed my question, trying to lighten the mood and jokingly said: "I like my Emporio Armani and the freedom to buy it, how do I manage, what should I do so that I can continue to do so and not go broke/bankrupt helping my parents?"


Then one Black MSM answered---by going off on me: "How could you even expect to not have to give up everything you have and do for whatever they need?"

(I paraphrase but you get the gist and hopefully the venom he cast at me.)  But other than that barb and my probably equally sharp retort ("Because I'm a sane adult and destroying my life over someone else's death---whether that's financially or emotionally, in no way honors their life and sure as pudding doesn't honor my own.  Nor is that---and I personally hate this trope---example "loving myself."  There's another potential article in here about being expected to sacrifice your all or being expected to because you're not the straight child and have no children, etc..), no one had any INFORMATION or STRATEGIES about what to do.

Fast forward 2016.  Here's what I had to know to deal with ill, ailing, dying parents.

  • What a Power of Attorney is and is not.  The difference between a limited one and a durable/wide scope one.  The fact that they can be different from state to state.
  • What a DNR is.  Do Not Resuscitate.  If my parents understood what it was, how they felt about, the hard but necessary conversation of when do you want me to tell them (I'm an only child, putting the burden/responsibility square on my shoulders) to no longer make attempts to keep you alive?  Essentially, when are you ready to die?  Which translates back to: when am I ready for you to die?
  • Who's paying for allllllllllllllll this medical shit?  American Health Care is pretty good AND expensive.  What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare?  What are their coverage limits?  What personal insurance did my parents have?  Can I add them to my policy?  Why not?  How do you make an adult a full dependent?  What will it pay for or not?  What happens if one of them refuses a treatment, does it cancel the whole insurance coverage (in some cases, yes)?  What can I ask for, request, demand, have to pay for out of my own pocket?  How much out of my own pocket can I pay for before the government/insurance company thinks my pocket is endless and sends me the whole bill?  How much money can my parents literally accept from me?
  • Why is the State putting them on such a fixed budget?  Can I supplement that budget?  Openly (like a mortgage payment) or secretly (like food shipments through Amazon and handing over cash==which I ended up doing to the tune of thousands.  I basically became they're online Fairy Godchild from food to specialty meds to clothing to minor bills, anything that could just pop up and not have the state "accounting" for.).  What does Social Security Disability allow and not?
  • Final insurance.  When is it to late to get a life insurance policy?  What if I just need a burial insurance policy?  How many people have to or should be included in a life insurance policy?  If I buy a policy for $100,000, why?  Am I going to keep their house---will I need to pay off the mortgage?  If I get a policy for $500,000 and I alone am paying the monthly premiums do I have to include the living spouse by cutting them a piece off (and how does that upset the above insurance/insurance apple cart)....and cousins....and their best friend?  What's mine?  What's for me and what do my parents want to leave others (this includes personal items)?
  • What about the house?  Do I keep it?  Sell it?  Rent it out?  How are the taxes drastically affected by one spouse dying before the other?  What if their houe was underwater (paid more for than it was currently worth---which it was.  Then what?  You can sell it but then you owe the balance back to the bank because no one is going to buy a house for its sale price that was 40% higher than i's value price now.  You're stuck with the house.) 
  • No, no, back up to taxes---the IRS---how does all of this look on a tax form?  (Family members actually screwed this part up royally and got audited and liened on because I knew the answer but no one would listen.  What if I'd known years earlier though?)
  • When do I need a lawyer?  A Notary?  A Judge?  A country clerk?
  • Just how cray cray is my family when death comes a knocking?  Lesson 1 thru 17 I learned: Folk are cray cray. Have everything in writing.  Record everything.  I spent many visits and discussions with a digital recorder, my laptop and video camera on.  Trust me it solved a lot of problems.  No, a LOT of problems.
  • Which family members are levelheaded and know things, pieces of the map I'm trying to construct?
  • What if this goes on...seemingly forever and I have to move them to a nursing home or is it cheaper for them to live with me/me them?  How much will a private nurse cost?  Will I ever have a life again?  Will I ever have sex again?  (There goes my Tinder profile......"Hey, don't mind the respirators, my bedroom is right this way."  So unsexy.)
Second Scenario: I started working for my first non-temp, full salary job six months after undergrad.  $46,000 a year PLUS overtime and expected bonuses.  Whoooo hoooo!!  I was 26.  Then they dropped off at my desk the Benefits Package.

  • What is a 401k?  What's the annual contribution limit?  Do I have to join?  How do I pick stocks/mutual funds?
  • The health insurance.  What do I need, want, not need, not want?
  • Life insurance.  Should I get more for myself or put more into savings.  What happens to the policy once I'm no longer working there.  The names I put down, how will they find these people if there's no contact info box?.  (True story: noticing the omission of a space to put my spouse's contact info and my parents I asked the HR Director this question and she pondered it for a few seconds then said I don't know.  So this begs the question---if you deduct monthly payments for a policy but no one knows it exists and you never seek them out then what the Sam Hill are we doing here?)
  • Should I get the Metrocard program?
  • Should I get the Medical Credit Card (debited weekly but created pre-tax money.  You get the card Jan 1st worth $5000 but you then spend the year each check paying them "back" and if you leave, you have to pony up the difference.)  
  • When am I eligible for Unemployment?
  • What are my legal rights if my boss is a complete asshole and grabs my crotch?  Who do I call?  (Never HR first---they're always on the side of the company FIRST FOREMOST AND ALWAYS.  Talk to an outside agency or lawyer confidentially FIRST.  Your job is Acme Inc and they will act like it.  You/I always therefore act like You/Kyle, Inc.  Don't get the birthday cake in the cafeteria twisted up for love in your EMPLOYEE head.

After the complimentary chips and fruit punch or water bottles and then the cheap/free NYC condoms and lube, 30-70 men in groups would bombard me with questions that alluded to the above.  It's simplistic to say that there are books out there that answer stuff or the internet.  But sometimes you don't even know the question to ask because either you're not a researching genius, you don't know there might be an issue until the issue comes up or you're not out or ashamed of your ignorance.  

Like: is the guy I put down as a spouse on my job's life insurance beneficiary line still considered my spouse, if same-sex marriage didn't become legal (recognition) BEFORE I signed the paperwork.

Ooooh, ooh, here's a better one---how can you be a gay, Black, same gender affirming agency and refuse to buy the health care package that allows your employees, majority, non-heterosexual, to include same-sex partners?  Hypocrisy much?

Eventually, my work became workshops JUST covering issues and topics that come up in REGULAR everyday adult life.  Then I got tired of photocopying endless sheets of paper, then younger people (and a few not too big on reading) asked for videos.  Then the TV show, then the books, then the newsletter, etc..

Now imagine this---say 1 million MORE men and women of color who are not exclusively heterosexual, particularly men of color, knew or knew of a spot that would probably have some information on the above---Universal Issues Adults Go Through?

Imagine you or your ex and you or his family knew to answer all the parental health questions in their early 50s, early 60s so that when they died everything was sewn up and accounted for exactly to their wishes before pain, fear and drama interrupted decision making?

Imagine everyone (or just yourself) knowing/chipping into a budget so that you got between $100,000-$1,000,000 when your parents died and you knew it was coming and had financially planned for it---the earlier you start insurance, the cheaper a policy.  You can even create policies where you're essentially creating a piggybank for your parent/s to use by a certain age.

(Luckily I'd made some earlier provisions in regards to insurance vehicles but with more cooperation and astute estate planning EVERYTHING could've been covered rather than there being ongoing bills during illness and leftover expenses.  P.S. People bad with money---potentially the other spouse or parent or siblings, will fuck everything up.  I learned going in not to commingle funds, not to sign my name to anything.  To let it play out and act as a safety net and translator and eventually at the end, an administrator than as the heroic one, which is why I literally have a bed to lie on, a large bedroom, a roof over my head, sanity in my head, a laptop, food in my belly, a business, a career, a schooling future----if I had tied myself directly to my parents as bluntly, their ship was sinking, I would've been financially ruined.  Luckily I've been teaching a lot of this information and strategies, honestly, without blowing up family business---it would've ruined my life if I'd followed my initial instincts and familial emotional demands from some family, not all, I have a few wise folk,  to just do..."whatever and everything...".)

Let's say Black and Latino people benefitted from the deaths that will happen in their lives rather than routinely going $19,000 into debt for each death?  Should we really have to pass the hat for the burial expenses as my family had to do to bury my aunt and grandmother (mainly to my mother who had greater abundance.  If you have greater abundance people come to you for nail clippers and heart surgery.  Any millionaire with family knows this.  If you earn over 20k and have a college degree-ish, they're coming to you too.)

(It cost me about $50,000 to $80,000 over the course of 4-5 to years and I still have some minor bills leftover, some lost opportunities, some "flotsam"---you'd be amazed at how much flotsam---financial crap an unplanned death can create.)

Or that they take full advantage of savings plans offered by jobs, contributions often matched but less than 40% of Black/Latino employees contributing?  Would that make college for yourself or others (children, spouse, cousins, nieces, nephews)  a paid for foregone conclusion?

Would we as a people rise?

Is this what say....Jewish people, other "White" people do?

Is this why they're on average worth $140,000 while Black and Latino households are worth $25,000?

Are you only getting HIV/safe sex info because that's where the money is coming from and you're expected to really only be about your fuck and not your business?

Are you a whole person to agencies?  No, no, wait let's get deep[er?

Are you a whole person with a FUTURE in their eyes or just a HIV definite/potential statistic (and paycheck?)

Say you've got HIV or you practice safe sex?  

Do you really need more chips and free condoms or some aid that's relevant in other areas of your life?


Why I do the work in its entirety and the text/video/blog Glossaires in their specificity.

Kyle Phoenix

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