I must admit that I've been completely enamored by the images from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi's wedding. As you know I'm a huge advocate of marriage equality and I'm equally as enthusiastic about Ellen's wildly successful TV show and her dedication to advancing the civil rights of the LGBT community.
I don't think another image has come out of the pro-gay marriage campaign that speaks louder than the photos from Ellen's wedding as Californians prepare to vote on the discriminatory Proposition 8 that will decide the fate of same-sex marriage in the state on November 4th. People all across this country love Ellen and they identify with her. We've come a long way since the infamous 1997 coming out episode on her sitcom that almost ended her career.
The happy couple graced the cover of People Magazine and were treated with the same level of respect given to any other couple. There were no protests, no threats by the right-wing nuts of America to boycott People Magazine and no speculation about the longevity of Ellen's show. Life continued to go on as usual.
As I looked at the pictures with a grin that stretched for miles across my face I couldn't help but wonder if we(black folks) would ever have our Ellen & Portia . In a state where black voters could potentially play a huge role in passing Prop 8 I could only imagine how images of black same-sex couples would resonate with voters. The black community has earned a reputation for being virulently homophobic and sometimes rightly so, but we're not beyond change although it may happen slowly.
There is a long list of closeted black celebrities in Hollywood that could kick open the door and become the catalyst for acceptance in our own community but that would take courage. One rapper turned actress who will remain nameless immediately comes to mind. I know we usually come up with a million different reasons why our people should remain closeted but at the end of the day I believe it does a huge disservice to the closeted individual and to our people, gay and straight, who are either searching for someone to look up to or constantly denying that we don't exist. Not to forget that the closet is stifling and the last place anyone should want to live their life.
Do you think we'll see our Ellen & Portia in our lifetime?