Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm sorry but I have to do this

I said I wouldn't talk about the Donnie McClurkin/Barack Obama situation again. But forgive me if I say just one more thing.

Something I read today got me angry. And it tweaked something that has been on my mind for a while.

A columnist at the Washington Blade, Ryan Lee, said the following:

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama has been an exceptionally outspoken ally on gay rights issues, candidly and eloquently supporting us no matter which audience he’s addressing. To feign outrage at his campaign for inviting an anti-gay gospel singer — a singer! — to a campaign concert in South Carolina exposes the political naïveté that cripples the gay rights movement.

Who knew gospel singers could be anti-gay?! Who knew that black churches were a key constituency for any Democratic politician?!

In their zeal to criticize Obama for inviting Donnie McClurkin to perform at the gospel concert, several gay men and lesbians suggested he should have tapped a more welcoming black minister, like Carlton Pearson. Pearson is indeed an inspiring voice for spiritual acceptance of gay people, but even he featured McClurkin on his celebrated “Live at Azusa” concert series, and he continues making money off McClurkin’s presence on the CD — including the $15 I paid for it.

Neither Obama nor Pearson should apologize for being affiliated with McClurkin and gay people shouldn’t mandate that the only way you can accept us is to reject those with whom we disagree.

You know what? I have to say something and if I apologize to anyone that I may offend, but I am very disappointed with some members of the lgbt community, especially some of our media, who have bent over backwards to give Obama a free pass on this.

I am angry because (here it comes), I think some folks in our community are willing to give Obama a free pass because they cannot or will not understand the effect of this entire controversy on lgbts of color.

And I am angry because I feel that if the situation was done with all the characters (except for Obama) being white, the same lgbts claiming that Obama aligning himself with McClurkin is no big deal would be up in arms. They wouldn't be so concilatory.

LGBTs of color are truly divided in identities. We can either align ourselves with a community who will support us because we are lgbt while subtlely telling us to downplay our racial heritage or we can either align ourselves with the black community which tells us to downplay our lgbt orientation.

I have chosen to not downplay who I am. I consider myself uncompromisingly gay and unapologetically black. Many of my brothers and sisters are also living their lives this way.

But many have chosen to align themselves with the African-American community. And frankly I don't blame them.

Why in the hell should the lgbts of color align themselves with a community that obviously considers the warping of their psychological and spiritual well-being as necessary sacrifices?

McClurkin speaks to the African-American community. He has brought his message of being a supposed "ex-gay" virtually unchallenged to the African-American community. He has also brought that lie about homosexuality and pedophilia to the African-American community virtually unchallenged.

Not once (and if I am wrong, please correct me) have I heard lgbts who consider Obama an ally address this situation. And where is our media, such as the Washington Blade, on this? Not one person stood up and said "what message is Obama sending to lgbts of color?"

I will tell you the message he sent - being black and lgbt are two different things that can never intermix.

And that is the very same message that Lee is sending with his column and some members of the lgbt media sent with their silence.

It's almost as if lgbts of color don't matter. Apparently we are supposed to shut up and take our lumps for the good of the community.


The next time members of the lgbt media wonder why it is so hard for lgbts of color to come out or wonder why so many lgbts of color feel segregated from the so-called mainstream gay community, or why lgbts of color would choose to align themselves with a gay-unfriendly black community, I suggest that they remember the Obama/McClurkin incident.

Not for what was said, but for what wasn't said.