Community Voices

Community Voices

Commentary and opinion

Friday, December 08, 2017

Consent • Shades of Gray

Claims of sexual harassment fill the airwaves and are sending famous heads tumbling every day. So what should be an operative definition of consent? A simple “no” won’t do: so many sexual encounters begin with a “no” and turn into a consensual situation. That’s the nature of seduction, and women like seduction. It’s very on-point that the acclaimed new gay film Call Me By Your Name comes out in the midst of this and even women think it’s beautiful. The characters don’t turn to each other and say “Is it okay if I touch your penis?” No romantic movie ever went that way, and no one would watch them if they did.

Today, I stood on the corner of my street, in my neighborhood, in my city, in my country and I wept… As I took a long look down the incline of Charles Street, I saw, between Baltimore’s Washington Monument and me, a representation of America that is authentic and unstoppable. A shift in the wind, a helicopter fly-over, and a deafening cheer, collaborated to signal the leading drum line to begin.

It’s sometimes hard to keep track of news about hate-fueled shootings in the U.S. Just this week we’ve seen two high-profile shootings, but on an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. Once again, our nation was reminded of very real threat and tragic consequences of gun violence, and our hearts go out to the victims and survivors.

Former President Barack Obama once said, “In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united as Americans to protect our people and defend our nation.” On June 12th, 2016, the LGBTQ community was tragically attacked resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. A year later, we pause to remember the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub attack, as well as the 68 individuals who were injured. This June Pride month, we not only stand to honor who we are as a LGBTQ community, but pause to remember those injured and killed celebrating who they were as individuals.

Five suggestions to help us get started

The Election of Donald Trump as president is a dangerous act of political cowardice that could be catastrophic in its effect on this country and the world. By the time that you read this, he will be president – a bloviating narcissist in the White House! Our first impulse immediately after the election was to pack it up; we were done! If Trump is what the country wanted then so be it. However, he lost the popular vote by nearly three million – that’s the population of Chicago and nearly five Baltimores; certainly no mandate for the extremist agenda that his cabinet nominations and other picks show that he intends to inflict on the country. (See sidebar.) No, we can’t walk away; we must rise to the challenge. We must take our despair as fuel for action.


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