By Steven G. Fullwood, Co-curator of the exhibition GMAD at 25: A History in Words and Images, and Project Director for the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive, Schomburg Center
I discovered Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) in 1998, four months after I moved to New York City. At the time GMAD’s office was located in Chelsea, on14th Street. I attended one of its Friday Night Forums and was fortunate to find my first friend in New York City, James Jefferson, who has since passed. These consciousness-raising sessions brought together an array of men interested in discussing issues and topics that explored relationships, communications, dialoguing with gays of the African Diaspora, aging, parenting, intimacy, homophobia, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, religion, sex, and entrepreneurship.
James was emblematic of the wonderful people I would meet at GMAD and form lasting friendships over the years. And this is what GMAD has meant to me most—making connections with other black gay men of various backgrounds, ages, and interests. Of the most prominent gifts GMAD has given me—and many men, I imagine—is a place of communion.