Whenever we hear about brothers doing great things in the community we have to share. With racism, homophobia and social stigmas, black gay men haven't always had safe spaces to fellowship, talk about our issues and just be ourselves. Even in 2016 providing these spaces are just as important as they have been in the past. Recently we caught Terrance Ford and Travis Wise two brothers in D.C making sure this happens.
We first heard of Pillow talk after a friend of ours attending an event so we reached out to Terrance to get a little more info.
How did Pillow Talk start?
Pillow Talk started as a program called IlluMENations hosted by D.E.N.I.M.. DENIM standing for Developing and Empowering New Images In Men. The group is an outreach group targeting gay men of color in the Washington DC and surrounding metropolitan areas. The event which is held twice a month; once at my home and another at the DENIM office location is an open forum facilitated discussion covering topics such as dating, relationships, sex, self identity, healthcare, and other topics that pertain to us. We also discuss how to start the conversation to engage our parties in safe sex, safe sex practices, and a segment on PrEP.
How did you become involved?
I was asked to host one event last summer and from my connections last night was the 16th event I hosted and I am already accepting names for the 17th. Other people at the event are also invited to get involved and host the conversation at their home with their own circle of friends.
What made you open up your home for the event?
The point of having it in our homes is that it feels more intimate, its less formal than going to a sterile doctor's office, and people feel more comfortable opening up to their peers and it allows for a freer flowing level of conversation. I nicknamed the event Pillow Talk and I ask participants to come in their pajamas similar to the Pillow Talk session held on RHOA a few years ago.
How does a typical Pillow Talk Event play out?
After the discussion is over, the event usually turns into a mixer for people to meet new faces in their circles. Everyone that attends is invited by me personally so ost often people don't know each other once arriving but the goal is that after we opened up to each other about our own rare and real experiences we can socialize in a space that's feels safe, affirming, and most of all fun.
We also spoke to Travis Wise, Program Manager for D.E.M.I.M to get more insight about Pillow Talk and some of their other services and why events like Pillow Talk are important.
Its not often we get to sit down and have real conversations with other Black Gay Men. Luckily, because of the Programming here at DENIM, every Black Gay Male in the DMV area now has that opportunity. At our IlluMENations Pillow Talk discussion we talk about relationships, dating, intimacy, sex and many other topics. As always we provide refreshments and all that we ask is that you come ready and willing to engage in insight conversations. For this conversation we are looking for Black Gay Men between the ages of 18-29.
D.E.N.I.M also provides free HIV and STD screenings and host a myriad of events and services for men in the DMV area. Be sure to follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDENIMCollection