Editor's note - The following post was initially exclusive to The Huffington Post, where it received much support and attention. I am now posting it here:
|Your blogmaster hard at work.|
As a gay African-American, I've heard the argument about how "you
can't compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American
civil rights movement" more times than I care to count.
constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals
when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind
automatically tunes out the monotonous drones of how supposed sinful
homosexuals are "high jacking" the civil rights movement or how gays
"can't compare their sin with black skin."
As such, I almost missed the epiphany which occurred over two weeks ago.
was vaguely scanning comments on a conservative site by an anonymous
African-American female as she went on and on about how gays were never
subjected to slavery, segregation or declared three fifths a person.
While the logical side of my mind was gathering up the customary
argument of how wrong it was for disadvantaged people of any stripe to
play the "Oppression Olympics," the emotional side of my mind struck
"This is the most ignorant crap I've ever heard," I
thought. "Just where in the hell does she think gay black people were
during slavery and segregation? On a spaceship orbiting the Earth? "
was instantly struck by oddity of what I had thought. Not that my
outrage wasn't coming from a place of truth, mind you, but how the
simple fact never entered my mind that yes, gay people were subjected
to slavery, segregation and racism because of our skin. Just as LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people of color exist now, we
existed back then. Then it suddenly struck me again that I've never
recalled any acknowledgement of this fact during the myriad of
discussions, I've read, listened to or seen regarding comparisons
between the gay and civil rights movements.
And why is that?
have been numerous debates, articles, columns, movies and documentaries
about how the legacy of racism has had a negative effect on so many
aspects of African-American community, from our families to the way we
interact with each other. It stands to reason that the legacy of racism
didn't leave LGBT people of color unscathed. But information about
what LGBT people of color did during those awful times in our history or
what effect it has had on us is practically nonexistent.
It is a
subject hardly ever mentioned. No one talks about it in the black
community and that includes leaders, intellectuals, journalists,
authors or any other person with some type of platform.
leaves me feeling as if the events of black history, which are supposed
to be a part of my heritage, are nothing more than hand-me-downs donated
to me out of charity because there are very few, if any, events which
are specific to me as an LGBT person of color.
Or at least that's what I am led to believe by the black community at large.