Category Archives: Black Gay Community
Junior Burchall, a friend to the blog, perfectly critiques the asinine notion that homosexuality is un-African. He writes,
”These ‘conscious’ folks sound like European, bible-bashing, rapist-enslavers.
they have absolutely no handle on the history of the Motherland and how same sex sexual intimacy had a Continental presence that went back thousands of years. here are three examples, off the top:
among the Maale of southern Ethiopia, men who took on female roles and had sexual relationships with other men were called ASHTIME. they were not shunned by their community.
the Dagara (of Burkina Faso) viewed ‘homosexuals ‘ as gatekeepers charged with the supreme responsibility of shepherding people between the world of the flesh and the world of the Spirit.
among the Meru (of Kenya), same-sex, sexual relationships were seen as normal. indeed, some Meru who occupied positions of religious leadership (they were known as MUGAWE) often wore women’s clothes and hairstyles. they were also sometimes married to men. [NOTE: the aforementioned predated the arrival of europeans by many, many millennia].
these ‘conscious’ brothers are viewing Afrika through the pale, bleu eyes of the folks who brought them the king james version and made cruel sport of the slaughter of their Ancestors. and they think that – because they’ve read a few chapters of Diop and Dr Ben and have an uber-conscious-sounding online name – somehow, their homophobic bullshit is magically transformed into breakfast chock full of nutrient dense, culturally specific scholarship.
not so, not so…..
but, as with all systems predicated upon the aggressive suspension of reason and the uncritical devotion to the maintenance of oppressive hierarchy, the arguments of these pseudo-conscious, pseudo-afrocentric, Youtube minstrels are remarkably resistant to fact.
i tell ya, the always-busy intersection where various unjustly-acquired privileges converge makes for the strangest of bedfellows. it is there that you’ll find, for e.g., Umar Johnson and Mwalimu Baruti, cuddling up with the right reverend pat robertson and sharing sweet, homophobic nothings with the ever-insightful doyen of late twentieth century, lowbrow yankee bigotry, rush limbaugh)
call it what it is: pure, unadulterated, Eurocentric, patriarchal, anti-Feminine pfuckery.
…and yes, the ‘p’ is silent.”
Homophobia ALWAYS has consequences. The only thing different about Roland Martin is that the perpetrator also has to feel it. Gay people know that homophobia has consequences. It’s homophobic straight people who are waking up to this reality. When I think of the many gay people who have lost family, jobs, their lives to homophobia, Roland losing his speaking gig does not equate.
Whose responsibility is it to validate your existence? Whose job is it to pay attention to you? These two questions were on my mind as I thought about the role, if any; the White media should play in the lives of Black gay people. I also want explore the Gay Rights Movement, and the various groups that make up this collective movement.
I have noticed that some people, often Black, but not always, expect the White media, and White gays, to tell the stories of Black gay people. However, this is not a sentiment that I share. I do not need the White media, or the White gay community, to validate my existence as a Black gay person. I do not need the White media, or the White gay community, to pay attention to my life as a Black gay person. I believe that it is the responsibility of the Black community to pay attention to our community, and to validate the existence of our community. These are not jobs that can be performed by the White media or White gay community.
I do not want to suggest that the White media and White gay community can’t provide opportunities for the lives of Black gay people to be validated and paid attention, they can, and have many times. I’m thinking particularly of Patrick Ian Polk’s relationship with Logo. Here was an instance where a Black gay person paid attention to the lives of Black gay people, validated the lives of Black gay people, and worked with the White media, and White gay community, to utilize the platform they offered. There will, and has always, been these kind of working relationships.
My issue is with those who think that it is the responsibility of the White media, and White gay community, to create the Noah’s Arcs, to create the Rod 2.0′s, to be the Robert Jones Jr’s, to be the Staceyann Chin’s, that is not their responsibility, it is ours.
Many have argued that the Gay Rights Movement doesn’t focus on the issues and lives of Black gay people, but I think they are doing themselves and their community a disservice. We tend to think that a movement is a specific, tangible location that can be pinpointed to a certain location, but this is not true, or at least not in my mind. I believe that movements are anywhere we are, and that the first place we should look for a movement is among our own people. To suggest that the Gay Rights Movement is only a movement of White people, specifically White men, is to believe that the movement is only about them. Sure, they may have more access to the media, but since when did media attention become the defining marker of any movement? The issues that a movement seeks to address go on even when the cameras stop rolling, and when the websites aren’t receiving traffic.
I never felt like the Gay Rights Movement was only a movement of White people because I never looked to them to validate my existence or pay attention to it. I spend my time reading the writing of Black gay activists; I spend my time talking with passionate and critical Black gay activists. I could never come to the conclusion that the work these people are doing isn’t important simply because TIME Magazine, The Advocate, and Perez Hilton isn’t paying attention to them. I know The Feminist Wire is paying attention to these people, I know Rod McCollum is paying attention to these people, I know numerous publications geared towards the lives of Black gay people are paying attention to those people, to my people.
There needs to be a shift in the way that we look at things. I don’t believe in this White Supremacist notion that without the White gaze things are not taking place. Audre Lorde has as much to do with the development of the Gay Rights Movement as Harvey Milk. It is not up to White gay people to make that statement; it is up to Black gay people to make this statement. As I mentioned in the beginning, we have to validate our existence, we have to pay attention to us.
Black gay people are here, and we have always existed in the Gay Rights Movement. The crucial question now, as it always has been, is whether or not we are willing to see ourselves as being here. I see it, many other Black gay people see it, and I encourage you to see it as well.