This should be required reading.
Writer Eryn-Ashlei Bailey from The Conducive Chronicle writes an informative and objective piece on the history of homosexuality in the black community from slavery to present day and breaks down why the persistent myth exists that homosexuality has been forced upon black men by the dominant white male culture.
From Black and Gay? No Way!
As mentioned earlier, homosexuality is considered “the white man’s disease” especially for Caribbeans. Although not directly true, slavery and colonization forced slaves to participate in homosexual acts. This forced homosexuality on slaves and the subsequent emasculation that followed, caused embarrassment, hatred, and anger amongst victim slaves. These residual feelings morphed into homophobia. The term “porch monkeys” is used to describe slaves who served their masters and their masters company on the porch of the plantation estate. Porch monkeys served as entertainment for the master and his or her guest. Disgustingly, slave masters would force their slaves to perform homosexual acts to entertain themselves and their guests at the cost of any remaining shred of a slaves dignity and pride. Porch slaves might have been ridiculed amongst other slaves for having to do this.
The master’s porch was not the only venue for homosexual acts within the slave community. Slaves were quartered according to their sex. Men quartered with men and women quartered with women. Most sexual interaction that took place between male and female slaves was for breeding slave children to be bought and sold at the masters request. Hence, out of this living arrangement, homosexual acts were taken part in by slaves as a means to release sexual frustration. Modern-day prisons mimic this arrangement. Understanding this system, one can glean that homosexuality may not have been turned to as a first recourse for slaves. Because slaves had no control over their sex lives, they may have harbored immense hatred in their masters and themselves. And from this, we see the surviving acidity of homophobia in the black community.
Read the entire article here.
It is no secret that the black community has a reputation for being quite homophobic, whether or not we're more homophobic than other groups is an ongoing debate but we would be doing ourselves a disservice to pretend that the level of homophobia in our community hasn't reached a disturbing fever pitch. A quick glance through the comment section of my recent AOL Black Voices article is a perfect example.
How many of you have had conversations with other black people who truly believe that homosexuality is a "white man's disease" that infected black men? I've had this conversation more times than I care to remember. We as black gays and lesbians share the responsibility to redirect the dialogue and correct the misinformation.