Each month ‘Actions Speak Louder. . .’ introduces black gay men from across the diaspora who are using their voices to make change
BlackoutUK: Who are you?
Wyatt O’Brien Evans: Arguably, I’m the quintessential Renaissance man: Journalist, Author, Advocate, Motivational Speaker, Lifestyle Coach and Radio Personality. For more than 25 years, I’ve been a journalist, with my work being featured in print and on line media outlets including Huffington Post, Washington Post, Wyattevans.com, Baltimore Gay Life, Bilerico, Washington Blade and BaltimoreOUTloud. As a journalist and an Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) specialist and advocate, I’ve researched, written and spoken extensively on this critical issue. As you’re aware, IPV/A is domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community. As an author, I pen the popular “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels (gay/ethnic), which has IPV/A as its overarching theme. The brand new installment is called“FRENZY!” As a motivational speaker and lifestyle coach, I speak on a variety of issues including IPV/A, depression, romance/relationships, and creating the life you really want. As a radio personality, I’m the host of the eponymous The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show, an insightful, and probing radio program that spotlights diverse individuals and explores cutting edge issues impacting the LGBTQ community.
B: Where are you from?
W: I’m from the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area in the States.
B: What are you up to?
W: As a journalist, I continue to report and write articles for print and on line media outlets, with IPV/A and depression being my signature issues. My “baby” is WYATTEVANS.COM (my online home), which is viewed by people in more than 90 countries. I’m on a national “FRENZY!” book and IPV/A seminar tour. I’m also writing two projects: the sequel to “FRENZY!” and a tome of short stories. And, I’m gearing up for the return of “The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show” in early 2017.
B: Why Intimate Partner Violence/Abuse?
W: Why IPV/A? Well, this demoralising and potentially life-threatening behaviour is more prevalent in the LGBTQ community than was once believed. And stigma fuels it. Subsequently, IPV/A is “swept under the rug,” which leads to it being grossly underreported. New research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought. Each year in the US, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians, and as many as 500,000 gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way. I’ve interviewed scores of victims and survivors; I, myself, am a survivor. To shine a bright light on IPV/A in as many venues as possible, I’ve made it the overarching theme of my “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels.
B: What difference do you think “Frenzy” will make?
W: From the emails and other communications I continue to receive, it’s making such a difference right now! It’s creating open and honest conversations about Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, which is sorely needed. Sadly, IPV/A continues to be largely unspoken in the LGBTQ community.
B: How has the book been received?
W: Exceptionally well, “knock on wood!” “FRENZY!” has been enthusiastically endorsed by stalwarts in both the LGBTQ and mainstream communities. That’s because I tackle and explore “real life” societal issues that occur in both the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities. The themes addressed in Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY! certainly are universal; therefore the novel strongly resonates with the reader. Both men and women—be they lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual or transgender—can fully identify with and relate to the journey of the novel’s two protagonists. And in just a few weeks, the “FRENZY!” YouTube Trailer has received nearly 7,500 views.
B: Is IPV/A a particular issue for black gay men?
W: Anecdotally, I tend to believe that is true. Black gay/SGL men must confront racism and discrimination in their everyday existence; certainly, this can fuel IPV/A and other social ills. Just like in the heterosexual community, there is structural racism within the LGBTQ community. This structural racism perpetuates barriers to opportunities and racial disparities. We have to eradicate these barriers.
B: What advice would you give anyone experiencing IPV/A in their relationship?
W: The most important thing to do is tell any and every one whom you trust. Silence is the most important—and perhaps deadly—weapon the abuser wields. If at all possible, you must strategically and carefully plan your Great Escape, the phrase I’ve coined for my national IPV/A seminars. And, you must avail yourself of all resources at your disposal, which takes research. The internet isn’t only for entertainment. Use it to make your Great Escape!
B: Have you been to the UK? When are you next over?
I haven’t yet had the privilege of visiting the UK. However, that’s in the cards for next year.
B: How can people get hold of a copy of your book and stay in touch with your work?