Monday, May 05, 2008

Black, gay and mad as hell

I was reading something today that really bothered me.

An African-American by the name of Crystal Dixon wrote a piece criticizing homosexuality. Nothing wrong with that because this is her right.

But Ms. Dixon, unfortunately, takes the road that so many African-Americans opposed to homosexuality do:

I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are "civil rights victims." Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few. Frequently, the individuals report that the impetus to their change of heart and lifestyle was a transformative experience with God; a realization that their choice of same-sex practices wreaked havoc in their psychological and physical lives.

This paragraph is wrong on so many points. First of all, the "thousands" of ex-gays is an illusion. It's a talking point that has no basis in fact.

When PFOX and others pushing for reparative therapy are asked to back this point up, they never seem to be able to.

Ms. Dixon didn't back up her points with concrete facts either. She listed two examples; one being our old friend Charlene Cothran. You remember her? She is the one who says she is no longer gay but she has no attraction to men either.

Ms. Dixon goes on to cite statistics regarding economic means of gays in comparison to African-Americans. But her comparisons remind me of an anti-gay industry study in that she compares apples and oranges:

The normative statistics for a homosexual in the USA include a Bachelor's degree: For gay men, the median household income is $83,000/yr. (Gay singles $62,000; gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, per census data. For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000/yr. (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000); 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000/yr.

So to her, the majority of gays have bachelor degrees. Fair enough. But check out this next portion:

Compare that to the median income of the non-college educated Black male of $30,539. The data speaks for itself.

Yes the data is speaking for itself. It's calling out Ms. Dixon's distortion of comparing the income of gays with possible college degrees to the income of African-Americans with no college degrees.

That is shabby as hell.

Ms. Dixon also claims that it is her faith that leads her to say these things? She freely quotes from the Bible in her column.

Isn't her faith the same one that white racists used to justify slavery, segregation, lynchings, murders, and the outright suppression of the African-American community? How can she justify using her faith to demonize the lgbt community the same way it was done to her people?

Any African-American (Ms. Dixon included) who uses the Bible to criticize homosexuality is either ignorant or intentionally turning their back on their own history.

It drives me insane when I see people of my own race refusing to acknowledge certain commonalities amongst all struggles for equal rights.

And it bothers me I hear things like "gay rights are not civil rights."

What the hell does that mean anyway? Gay people are not oppressed?

That we are not marginalized by lies, distortions, and systematic attempts to devalue our lives?

That when we hear about crimes on television, we don't send up a prayer hoping that the criminal is not gay because if he was, then he will be featured in a religious right email blast designed to generalize us in the eyes of Christians?

That there aren't forces actively working to psychologically dehumanize us and trick us into reducing our lives to sexual encounters?

That we are not muzzled by well-meaning but ignorant folks who are so busy telling us how wretched our lives are that they will not allow us to educate them?

Ms. Dixon will probably swear up and down that her column was not written out of hatred, but out of love.

No, Ms. Dixon.

Your column was written out of ignorance. It is the same quality that has kept all oppressed groups under the heel of the oppressor.

UPDATE - It turns out that Ms. Dixon is the Human Resources Officer at the University of Toledo. The university has put her on suspension until further investigation. Now some may think that Ms. Dixon's first amendment rights have been violated.

I disagree. In light of the fact that it is the Human Resources Officer who is responsible for promoting equity and diversity, I have no problem with the university investigating whether or not Ms. Dixon can do her job effectively (i.e. promoting equity and diversity) in light of her comments.