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14 comments | Tuesday, March 17, 2009




"You were black first before you even knew you were gay"!


"You need to choose which one is more important to you".


"Black folks aren't gay...that's white folks shit"!


"I just don't understand why you would want to be gay with all the pu**y out there"!


"God ain't pleased"!


"You need to go somewhere and pick up a ball."


"You can't change being black but you can change being gay".


"Just don't bring that sh** around me and we're cool".



At some point in my life I've heard every single one of the above quotes and many more that I've blocked out. What do you do when you're a minority within a minority? How do you survive when in order to be fully accepted in the black community you have to be willing to deny apart of yourself (or at least never confirm what everyone is saying behind your back anyway) and to be accepted in the larger gay community you're expected to check your blackness at the door?


Do you have to choose which identity/community takes precedence? Or do you just say to hell with both?

14 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I honestly don't know how anyone who's gay copes with this nonsense. Being attacked from every corner, all of the time?

I emphathise and sympathise with my gay brothers; and I feel angry when some people talk this way, but honestly, I don't know what I would do if I was gay. This is too much.

March 17, 2009 5:44 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

There are times when I just say "to hell with it..."

But, the majority of the time, I'm struggling to find a medium or some common thread that allows me to accept all facets of myself.

Though acceptance and understanding is very important to me, I've come to the conclusion that my own thoughts are what matter at the end of the day.

Before one can even fathom getting others to embrace them, one has to embrace themselves.

March 17, 2009 7:54 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

You can put up with a lot of bullshit if your Black and gay. I've heard similar statements from those who knew I was gay and those who did not. My mother told me to always consider the source in all things. This not only keeps you sane, but does not raise your blood pressure by dealing with ignorant people. Chronic stress and its related effects, hypertension and more specifically heart disease, is the number killer of both men and women. So pay these people no mind--you might live longer. Personally, I knew I was gay first before I knew I was Black. I lived overseas (mother was in the military) for a short time as a child and was used to being judged by my character first; being identified by name and personality, and not by ethnicity or cultural heritage. I do not feel a part of the Black community because I do not think one exists. It is dangerous ground, detrimental to one's health to align with any group just based on an empty label: Black, gay, straight, male or female or any label in between that does not speak of character, intelligence, or mutual interests. Looking for acceptance from a person or group who might not even accept themselves is challenging feat. So I say, love yourself, keep your FICO scores up, get an education, try to laugh at least once a day, and be your most authentic self possible. Do not try to please/appease people who cannot be pleased--avoid sociopaths and borderline personalities--or suffer the consequences.

March 17, 2009 10:40 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@ Miss Shallotte

I know for me personally I am not constantly attacked with nonsense from every corner all the time, but i can say I have met a few idiots/ignorant people. I think I get what your trying to say in your comment but, ah it just reads oddly?

__________________________________

But I call bullshit on the assertion that I need to choose. I like many people before me can wield dual identities. You can be a man, and a black man. You can be a woman, and a black. You can be x,y, z and still retain your african american identity. No one can tell me what being black IS we all experience it in a multitude of ways. Therefore no one has the right to choose becuz by virtue of being myself I am defining what it means to be black. If anything being black helps me be a better gay person and being a gay person helps me to be a better black man! I can use both to enhance an appreciation for the other identity.

March 17, 2009 10:44 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

When I was young, I opted for the "choose which one" and I opted for "gay." I was already an overachieving nerd who rejected conventional religion. It did not seem to be that big of a jump.

In my 20's I was exposed to the racism within the gay community while at the same time working for an NNPA newspaper in New Orleans. I found that I was not that unusual, except I was not in the closet, but I never felt threatened. I felt connected with blackness in a way I did not growing up in Mississippi. I discovered and embraced classism. It was more true to my experience. However I must admit...I still felt I was somehow "more gay than black."

And then came Prop 8...and I was crushed by the behavior on both sides and suddenly I wished that the devil would take everyone. I cannot stop being gay. I cannot stop being black, but I can hide being gay, I cannot hide being black.

In the end, I blame God. I do not understand but I will be angry about it and I will not give into despair and self destruction just because the communities built around two immutable aspects of my being are bitches to each other. I'd burn them down rather than let them destroy me.

March 17, 2009 10:52 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

For example, I live with someone who, on a daily basis, never misses an opportunity to talk about gays and how they are satan's creation.

A lot of the time he makes references to how gay men have sex and how only devil worshippers can do that. But in his mind, one day all of 'this' will come to an end when God cleans up His world. I hear this everyday. This is no exaggeration.

March 17, 2009 11:36 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@ @ Miss Shallotte

You are dealing with someone who has deep rooted issues and should seek help with that. He may be a self hating gay but he is probably just someone who grew up in a poor emotional environment. Get him to a psychologist, therapist quick.

March 17, 2009 12:19 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I really don't worry about it anymore. I used to, but as I mature, I further understand that not every one of my Black "brothers" or "sisters" is going to accept me for being gay, and that is something I will have to deal with or overlook. Likewise, not every gay is going to get along with another gay on the strength of sexuality, race is still a factor that perpetuates division (the Prop. 8 racial wars), as is gender identity and classism, ("effemiphobia" and "Elite gays" vs "those without a degree").

March 17, 2009 1:03 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It's a shame that so many straight black people push us into "choosing sides."

I have not heard of whites, Latinos or Asians being confronted with a similiar "choice."

As for me, I've adopted the "get in where you fit in" rule. I go where I am most comfortable.

I will say that I've had enough issues with straight black women that I usually choose not to be around them.

Anthony in Nashville

March 17, 2009 2:35 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"I will say that I've had enough issues with straight black women that I usually choose not to be around them."

I thought I was the only black gay man that felt that way. I have heard so much over the years that straight black women were our so-called "sisters" that I sorta thought that maybe I was the one with the problem. It's good to know at least one other black gay man feels the same way I do. Straight black women can be toxic to openly gay black men who are educated and moderately successful.

March 17, 2009 6:46 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I do not consider being gay a minority from the nuances of what makes a minority by definition. However, I will say being gay is a form of uniqueness within our global society were the consensus have not reached a definitive verdict on yet.

March 17, 2009 6:56 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Sometimes a black gay man has to let go of toxic relatives and I don't mean just extended "family". Sometimes you have to let go of immediate family members like your parents and/or brothers and sisters. Recall a previous thread wherein Antron Reshaud recounted that when he was beaten and raped his mother's response was "see, that's what you get for being gay". That is a mother from HELL.

March 17, 2009 10:07 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"Straight black women can be toxic to openly gay black men who are educated and moderately successful."

I used to think it was just a particular workplace that was the problem, but I have had "female trouble" pretty much regardless of the environment. For me, it starts with relentless church talk and attempts to get in my business so they can see if I'm datable. Then when I express no interest it's like I have personally offended them and they are very shady to me. I think many of them are upset at their own relationship situation and take it out on black gay men.

I've had it happen enough times to realize it's best for me to limit my contact with them whenever possible.

Anthony in Nashville

March 18, 2009 12:53 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The truth is that an openly gay black man or a black man perceived to be gay is NOT part of the "black community". I use the term "black community" in quotes because I don't believe there is a "black community" any more (not like the community my parents grew up and lived in) but that's not the subject of this thread.

I feel NO solidarity with straight black people, AS A GROUP. The best thing for me is to have solidarity with individuals who respect me and will 'return the peace'.

@
Anthony in Nashville
You did not ask me for advice so please don't take this the wrong way. Take what you can use from what I say and trash the rest. Try to find at least one ally at your place of employment. Sometimes having an ally can keep the wolves at bay, so to speak. Also, you may have grounds to file a formal grievance if you feel you have been harassed based on sexual orientation. There may also be grounds for you to file a grievance based on religious harassment. Consult your employee handbook and/or an attorney. And, of course, document EVERYTHING. Document who said what, when and where AND tell an ally in as close to "real time" as you can - tell someone you trust right after the incident occurs.

Edwin in Cincinnati

PS: I worked for county and state government in ohio for 30+ years. I had some soul destroying experiences over the years on those jobs but I managed somehow to hang in there long enough to retire (I needed at least 30 years) effective 12-1-07 with a good pension and medical benefits. My worst enemies on the job were straight black women - they hated me for being gay AND they let me, and everyone else, know it.

March 20, 2009 11:56 AM

 

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