I will never forget Tuesday, November 4, 2008. America took one giant leap forward by electing Barack Obama our nation's first African-American President and one huge step backwards by enshrining discrimination against gays and lesbians into the state constitution in California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas. The night was an emotional roller coaster for me as I took pride in witnessing Barack Obama make history while simultaneously being paralyzed with an overwhelming sadness by the passage of bans aimed to strip gays and lesbians of equal rights, particularly in California.
Exit polls for Proposition 8 in California revealed that 70% of black voters voted in favor of the ban including 75% of black women. As expected, the blame game has started and fingers are pointing directly at black voters despite the fact that blacks only make up about 6% of California's population.
I've written about the efforts of the Yes on 8 organizers strategy to capitalize on the homophobia of blacks in previous posts and unfortunately many in the black community took the bait.
I've been engrossed in information regarding Prop 8, my inbox has been flooded with e-mails from every major LGBT organization in the country and I personally traveled to Arizona to help defeat Prop 102. So this fight is personal for me. I've also had the opportunity to listen to outrage from the black gay community towards those who are blaming the passage of Prop 8 on blacks.
While black voters played a role in the success of the amendment they surely had some help and were not alone in their homophobia and religious bigotry.
I'm not really concerned with any other group right now. You may not like what I'm about to say. As I've been listening to black gays discuss the Prop 8 fallout I've been hearing lots of excuses and very little accountability or a plan to clean out our own house.
BLACK PEOPLE ARE HOMOPHOBIC AS HELL!
Yeah I said it. And I can say that with the utmost authority because I'm black and openly gay and I've experienced it firsthand. Please take note that I didn't say blacks were more homophobic than any other group, but we are and it's a problem that is not going to fix itself. We may not like it when white gays point out our shortcomings as it often comes from a place rooted in racism, superiority, and white privilege, but it's time for us to stop denying the truth and start taking the necessary steps to create the kind of change that will benefit EVERYONE in the black community.
Black heterosexuals do not hold the key to equal rights under the law nor do they hold the key to heaven. Why have we sacrificed our authenticity, spirituality, and mental well being just to belong?
The fight for marriage equality at it's core is a civil rights issue. Whether you want to get married today, tomorrow, or never you should have the right to do so and that civil right should never be up for a vote by the majority.
It's time for us to stop complaining about the lack of representation of black gays and lesbians in the media and do the one thing that is required in order to create change-come out!
We will continue to be dehumanized, reduced to disease spreading DL characters, and have our rights stripped away by our own and from outsiders until we find the courage to be who we are when everybody's looking.
70% of blacks voted in favor of Prop 8 because many of them either don't know we exist, refuse to admit that we do or have bought into the lie that homosexuality only exists in white culture. And it doesn't help that the media reinforces this belief.
So what are we going to do to eradicate homophobia and religious bigotry in our own community? How many more fire and brimstone sermons are we willing to sit through? How many more ballot initiatives aimed to take away our rights must we endure before we finally say enough is enough! Damn! What is it going to take? What is it going to take before we start showing up to something other than Black Gay Pride events by the thousands and start to get organized? How many more new HIV infections must occur before we ACT UP!
Our contentment with life as it is and not as it should be is going to destroy us.
I'll be calling on many African-American gay activists in Atlanta and eventually around the country to strategize over the next few months to create a grassroots movement to affect change at home. It starts with one.
Placing The Blame On Black California Voters If Prop 8 Passes LOLDARIAN
"Yes We Can" to "YES on 8": Blacks Overwhelmingly Approve Prop 8 Rod 2.0
The day after - the bad stuff and a challenge to the lgbt community Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
Ballot initiatives provide a wake up call to the LGBT community about race Pam's House Blend
Prop 8 rally wreaks Westside traffic havoc ABC 7
"You'll Want To Punch Them." Queerty
Invalidate Prop 8