Room for Conversation
By Erik Glenn
Program Manager, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus
With every issue, we’re going to take a moment to showcase some of the work that’s happening over here at the Caucus. Many of you have been curious about our Conversations: Retreat Style weekends, which happens every couple of months. We’re really excited to have the chance to take a group of guys out of the city and spend time focusing on ourselves. These private retreats give attendees the chance to have roundtable conversations about staying healthy, making the most of relationships, and how to maintain positive self-images as powerful Black men.
The group shares stories and experiences with each other, making new connections and bonds. Here are some words from a couple of guys who’ve joined us:
Michael says, “Far too often we as Black gay men become preoccupied with arbitrary activities that don’t uplift or enlighten.However, I am happy to say that the retreat did both. A large group of Black gay men learning, conversing, bonding, and being in the woods…who knew? I will admit, I had some reservations about being away with strangers for the weekend, but my facilitators definitely made me comfortable. This retreat allowed me to gain insights into sexual proclivities, the many mindsets around them, and how to be safer and smarter about sex. This experience was well thought out and illuminating and I will never forget it, not only because of the new bonds I forged, but also the new ideas I walked away with about life, love and, most importantly, sex. More gay Black men should have the opportunity to enjoy this retreat, and I hope you all will continue it.”
Andre says, “Just wanted to write and tell you what an awesome experience I had this past weekend. I think we were all a little unsure of how the weekend would go but soon found out that it would be filled with informative health information, interactive discussions, fun group exercises, and really good food! LOL! What I liked about the retreat experience is that it was centered on the health, culture, and experiences of members of the Black gay community. It allowed us to be comfortable communicating with others from similar backgrounds in a very peaceful and cozy environment. Thank you guys for providing a weekend of laughter and learning. I am sure most participants who attended would also agree that this retreat experience surpassed our expectations.”
CBGMC provides the space, lodging, transportation, and food, but it’s the men who join us that make the conversations come alive. For all the challenges we experience in our daily lives, every single man who has joined us has brought stories of triumph, success, and love. These are powerful Black gay/bisexual men!
Follow the link to read this and the rest of our World AIDS Day / Holiday 2012 (Issue 1)
Then let us know what you thought by taking our brief survey!