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10 comments | Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14, 2007 will always be remembered as the day when prejudice, bigotry, and homophobia were put aside in Massachusetts and the landmark decision granting full marriage rights to same sex couples were upheld. After three years of marriage equality the world has not come to an end, divorce rates have not increased, and religious expression and freedom of speech have not been altered.

Since Massachusetts began performing gay unions thousands of people from all over the country have flocked their to have their unions legally recognized by the state. It seemed that every wedding photo or news story that came out of Massachusetts had the face of a white gay or lesbian couple. Initially I held out hope that I would see an African-American gay couple who were committing their lives to one another but that hope was quickly diminished. Instead over time I was left wondering if Black gays and lesbians were even interested in marriage equality or if it should be a non-issue with other pressing matters such as racism, lack of education, lack of health care, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS on our plate.

I've always been an advocate for marriage equality and I've never entertained the notion that I wouldn't be able to marry the love of my life simply because I'm gay...that simply just isn't an option for me.

The following e-mail from a gay male psychologist who just happens to be white turned up in my inbox one day and stirred up a number of different emotions in me from anger to...well more anger. This is what he had to say:

Is the right for two same gender- loving males to get married a black gay issue? No, it is not a black gay issue. I’ve noticed that black gay males for the most part do not desire to enter into monogamous relationships with any intent on a long term commitment. I believe as most black gay men believe that “they” are inherently unable to sustain or comprehend monogamous long- term relationships; therefore, they should not try to operate in a conduct that is not local to them. Black gay men have so much more to concern themselves with other than the right to get married. They can hardly get along long enough to even consider taking the momentous responsibility of marriage. All of the emotional issues that black men deal with in regards to personal relationships, friendships and family need to be resolved before marriage should even be thought of.

As in most areas, black gay men will eventually follow in the footsteps of white gay males. Although it may be years down the road, I do believe black gay men will find that the right to get married will be important to them. However, by that time it most likely will be a mute issue and as usual the in fighting and community turmoil will be the only obstacle.

Black gay men should resolve not to have to try and follow a white gay agenda. White gay men do not have, for the most part, the emotional and spiritual baggage that black gay men have. It would stand to reason that black gay men would have a much more difficult time addressing and embracing same sex rights issues with all of the internalized debate and doubt about their place and role in the general society. It appears very important to black gay men how they are perceived in the overall black community. With the inability to establish and maintain a cohesive and self sustaining black gay community I can see how important it is to them how they are perceived.

It is very apparent that the black gay community focuses on the sexuality of gayness first and the emotional secondary. I’m sure there will be an evolution of this hierarchy and in time it will change. I believe that once being gay means more than sex in the black community more strides will be made in the political arena. Black gay men do not feel reflected in any facet of America and that is mostly because they have no desire to be reflected. White gay men do desire to be reflected in the fabric of the country in which we profess loyalty to. Gay rights are only important to those who have embraced that they are gay. Black gay men have long denounced and rejected being termed/labeled gay. There is an identity crisis in the black gay community that most be addressed prior to taking a stand on any issue.

In conclusion gay marriage is NOT an issue for black gay males, not right now. It can not be an issue for them because they don’t want it to be. If black gay men thought committed monogamous relationships were important then the right to get married would be important. White gay men have a sense of completion and wholeness that encourage us to seek equality under the law that encourages us to fight for and establish what we believe in. If you do not believe you deserve a right then you will not seek such equality.

Initially I wanted to respond to each misguided and uninformed statement this person(who only went by the initials PTW in his e-mail) made in reference to Black gay men, but I simply don't have all day nor do I have the patience to educate a gay white man on the realities of living and loving while you're Black and gay in America. It frightens me that he's a psychologist.

I would like to bring five points that he attempted to make in his e-mail for you to ponder.

1.Black gay men do not want monogamous relationships.

2. We are unable to sustain monogamous relationships.

3. We can hardly get along with each other.

4. We are unable to maintain a cohesive and self-sustaining gay community.

5. We focus on the sexuality of our gayness first and the emotional connection second.

All I can say is this is spoken by a person on the outside looking in who has no clue about how Black gay men live and what we contribute and expect from our relationships. When did having white gay privilege give anyone the right to speak for an entire group of people? I'm not going to go any further, but I do feel the need to re-visit this post .


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Let's accept that the guy who aent you that email is totally off the mark. (begging the question of why he would send you that long-ass email if he did not even know you..)

How do you explain the lack of black gay couples taking the marriage option in MA then?

Actually it may be sort of a trick question and false argument. Out of the say 7,000 couples that have been married here, about 77% were lesbian couples. Statistically, gay men in MA are not rushing to the altar. Black gay men cannot therefore be expected to rush to the altar at a rate greater than the proportion of their representation in the general population, or in proportion to their representation as black gay couples out of the population of gay male couples.

June 15, 2007 6:20 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

There is no such thing as marriage equality; you have the right to get married like everyone else.

June 15, 2007 6:25 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow, Captain. Did you read Darian's previous posts? That's exactly the argument that the prosecution made in Loving v. Virginia.

June 15, 2007 9:12 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

There are some other things on my mind, but just this one premise alone has significant attributes. There are many differences to interracial marriage than same sex "marriage."

The issue with gay men is MUCH deeper.

June 15, 2007 2:01 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@Darian: A typical white gay man is way out of bounds about black gay men. He feels this is white gay's equality movement, but he's sadly wrong!

@Captian: Well there is marriage eqaulity now. There is NOT many differences to interracial marriages and same-sex marriages.
Only one difference is genders.

There are MANY parallels between the two. Both interracial and same-sex marriages was/is oppose by religious and conservative leaders. Both had/have ban amendments in many states. Both was/is oppose base on personal views of God and the bible. Both were oppose by a majority of americans.

So captain and everyone there are many parallels here. I personal feel one future parallel will be for same-sex marriage to be legal like interracial marriage all the across america will be struck down by the Supreme Court. So these marriage amendments are just road blocks, that needs to be cleared The President and Congress will pass other LGBT bills, but will wimp-out when Marriage equality comes up, just like for interracial marriages. So it's on the Supreme Court, is the way i see it.

There are too many parallels and similiarties here, and way less differences! Massachusetts is just the beginning. Yes, black gays care, and will play a major role in history for marriage equality.

June 15, 2007 11:38 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Two men or two women together will never meet the qualities or the requirements of marriage in the eyes of God.

June 17, 2007 9:43 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It suddenly got extremely hot in here. Thanx Darian for pissing me off today.

This 'professional' has noted some valid issues (as far as black gay men having more baggage than white gay men).

However, I don't see how he has the temerity to set himself up as an authority on ANYTHING black from his caucasion 'privileged' pedestal.

Basically, he should shut the fuck up.

We do have issues with fidelity, manogamy, and we do sometimes tear each other down. But -- (A) the world (hetero & homo) has those same issues with most marriages failing before the ink on the license dries -- and (B) we don't need a lecture from a white man about what our black issues are ... or what we need to do about them.

The nerve of this muthafuka. Do you have his email addy? I'd love to take the time to have a little chat with him.

June 18, 2007 10:40 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

And another thing ...

This reminds me of the age old premise that Blacks can't manage their own affairs. That's what slave-owners told themselves to justify their 'curious tradition'.

We need guidance from the massa! 'Cause we's jus too ig'nunt, don'cha know.

I'm so pissed right now I could spit. Thanx again Darian.

Seriously though, thanx for sharing this. As infuriating as it is, it's good to know how we are perceived in certain circles.

June 18, 2007 10:47 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

OMG that guy is so blatently racist! Really sad. You're like a living contradiction to every statement he makes.

Hey, I have a suggestion for hetro folks to support their gay friends- straight couples should also make MA their wedding destination! Because it's not really fair to get married in a state where your gay friends can't!

Also, people spend a lot of money on their weddings- it's a HUGE industry. So spending those wedding $$ in MA would be a way to reward the state for legalizing gay marriage and hopefully send a message to other states that they need to get a clue!

What do you think?

June 19, 2007 12:08 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

pardon me, but I missed the part where the psychologist set himself up as an authority on the topic. i am a black gay man and in many ways what he suggests is totally on point. just look around. look at the church, listen to hip hop and look at it's images, listen to what BLACK athletes, BLACK preachers, BLACK people are saying and have been saying for years about black gay issues, let alone marriage.

yes the playing field is not equal. but I think he simply said" it is very apparent that the black gay community ( and I think the black community period) focuses on the sexuality of gayness first and the emotional secondary...I'm sure there will be evolution to this hierarchy and in time it will change. there is an identity crisis in the black gay community that must be addressed prior to taking a stand on any issue".

is he wrong? are we ALL OF US proud of who we are? are we so evolved that we have silenced the nay sayers? if I hear another gay gospel artist say he's not gay, i'll puke. we're obviously still afraid of ourselves, the bible, whatever, to admit our own truth. doing so community wide is the only way we will achieve any progres on any issue.

in my humble opinion we have miles of evolution to go before we sleep. we could learn a thing or too from our white counterparts. let's admit it. we can be very promiscous, catty and cutting and shady. and we all have our reasons. we are just now coming to terms with this. we have years to go before we unite, i'm afraid.

for instance, where is the "black gayborhood"? you know, where is the place in any city in america where a united black gay front exists where black gay men live together, rally together as a community and set up a portion of town where they are safe and proud and ...free? the only gaybor hoods I know are teeming with not only police protection but white men who have, albiet with the benefit of privelage, stood up and said "hell no we won't go!" why haven't we done this yet?

I know it's hard being gay and being black. in a way it's like starting life in the U.S. with a handicap. But that's exactly what it must have felt like to be black in america to begin with. We fought. we died we protested. things changed. We would be nowhere had this not occured. sadly that's what is happening and will more than likely continue until things change for the black and gay in at least America. And I travel alot and it's way better here than in any other culture in the world!

i've heard not as many black gays say the things he's said. for example, I hear no one in the black community protest and/or boycot the rappers and hip hop artists who clearly profess thier disdain for homosexuals. if we united and thought it was important for this to change it probably, among other things would...change.

when was the last time you saw a group of proud gay men outside a hip hop concert or a church with banners and flags waving in protest of a given artist's or congregational agenda to keep marginalise black gays? I personally have left the "church" . But as far as I have heard we still sing in the choir, we still play the piano as if by being there things will change. Not a judgement about why any of you still go, but many of us are still on the plantation just like the rest of the black community.

We're rightfully out raged at all the ministers condemning us. But until we stop playing their pianos, their organs, singing in thier choirs, filling thier pews and paying thier tithes thier madd, misguided, delusional ramblings will not cease! And cease they must.

We can complain all we want, but until we use our bodies and our minds to prove our point, we are simply making a whole lot of noise.

the psych. said it right "black gay men should resolve not to follow the white gay agenda."
we have our own issues to resolve right here in our own community. and we're the only ones who can solve them.

this blog is awesome. however blogging is not enough. we have come far. but we have a long way to go. until we stand together and say hell no to the abuse and continue to spend our dollars or not spend them until things change, nothing really will, not even ourselves.

until we fully revolt, we will never fully evolve.

August 12, 2007 8:33 PM


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