No, Gay Isn’t the New Black
As society “progress,” we have become a bunch of cultural sycophants obsessed with creating false affirmations and pseudo-solidarities.
I quite frankly cannot decide when all this began, but perhaps the election of our 44th president made many began to assume that a post-racial society may not be here but could be coming very soon. Well I am here to tell you all that we are not as close as we imagine because we have yet to even recognize the problem.
I am that “double-minority” that such media commentators have decided to call me. Being an openly black gay man I have always had my fair share of insults, transgressions, and remorse. Many come from both communities that I am told I have an affinity with, but never fully within.
As an openly black gay man you are often told “you are too gay” for ideal conventional black social circles or “too black” for the predominately white CIS-gender (gender identity where individuals’ experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth) gay circles that you occupy.
And as I begin to see a new wave of “progress” come within both communities, I also begin to become frustrated with what is now becoming the “gay-washing” of my ethnic heritage and ancestral condition.
So I say this with the utmost sincerity: please Gay America, stop comparing the current fight for LGBT rights to that of the civil rights movement. It is not only historically and culturally inaccurate, but personally offensive to the very gays of color you strive to also advocate for.
Put this in context. Before I open my mouth or cross the street, I am not approached because I am gay but because I am black. Yes, when walking down the Gayborhood in my current residence of Philadelphia, I might often be called a slur every now and then. However, the day-to-day oppression I endure as a man of color does not compare to the homophobia that I receive.
This is not to say that racism and homophobia are both not horrific offenses that should be corrected. But I am saying that to not recognize the historical context that the former have is like comparing the Holocaust to a campus shooting. It’s just not accurate in scope and quite frankly unnecessary.
When I hear things like “the fight for gay rights is the new civil rights,” I then reply “do you really think that people of color are done fighting?” With all of the social injustices an entire section of our population continue to face, it would be foolish to equate such a movement to the one gays are currently fighting for now.
As a gay man, I can personally acknowledge my privilege and luxury in wanting specific laws to be knocked down and called out. But as a black man, I can’t even begin to start on how to re-shape laws that are already constitutionally sound, but are not being allocated properly in my community.
It’s an uphill battle, one that does not help when those from the gay community have made it seem like a dichotomy to support liberties for both parties. I can honestly say as groups that have come from oppressive backgrounds, we have become so internally divisive that we’ve made it hard to see what we could help each other in rather than compare.
Currently with both movements there is a strong lead of men that fit the narrative of being socially respectable. Such elitist, male-centrist vibes are not exclusive to either group, and that is what concerns me.
When I look at the current make-up of LGBT groups around my alma mater and many other college campuses, many are filled with white men with a few spots of color or female representation in-between. What is even worse is the lack of acknowledging the intersection of the community which crosses various racial, gender, and sexual-identity lines. In other words, when it comes to “gay rights,” those who are mainly speaking on the behalf of the majority is not adhering to the needs of many who add to the diversity of it.
Although there was such a dilemma over authoritative direction during the civil rights movement, all could agree upon what universal rights and privileges blacks deserved in a country that ensured it for whites.
In 2014, heterosexuals are and have been our brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, and more. In 1964, whites were not so familiar with my ancestors. To not fully delve into the nuance such a dynamic provides only infuriates the legacy those who have died behind ensuring such rights for their community.
To put this more in context, picture this: if a white CIS-gendered gay male crosses the street and I pass him late at night and a police stops us… who will he most likely profile? No question it would be me and such laws such as NYPD’s Stop and Frisk supports that. At birth, I was identified as black before I was later recognized as gay.
That is why it is easier now for such progressive and direct action to be given for gay rights than it has been civil rights. Sexual preference/orientation and race are two different things and combating the war on the former still has not been won.
If America today decided to give equal marriage protection for all couples regardless of sexual orientation in every state and uplifted discrimination laws on employment and other departments, the “Gay Civil Rights Movement” would have less to fight for.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964… and we are still fighting.
Long story short, gay rights are important and should be mandated at the utmost degree. However, recognize that they are not, nor ever will have, the same level of struggle or oppression that have plagued this country for hundreds of years.
As a black man, I say please check yourself. As a gay man, I say we ought to know better. As a black gay man, I say it’s time we properly respect our struggle.
(Source: The Huffington Post)