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5 comments | Monday, March 01, 2010

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.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

A very informative and well-written article.

I resent the fact that there seems to be a need for homosexuality to be explained. I'm sick of hearing people say that black people aren't supposed to be gay.

As far as I'm concerned, black gay people have existed since the times before slavery and colonisation. Even if I am wrong in my belief, the fact of the matter is that no one has control of their sexual orientation.

Every aspect of slavery was horrendous and wicked, but I hate that people attribute homosexuality in the black community to white people spreading their "disease". This notion is of no help in the fight against homophobia.

March 01, 2010 1:32 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This article perpetuates the false assumption that all human beings are born heterosexual and that somehow, someway, some people are "turned gay." Rubbish.

Homosexuality exists in every species as a natural condition of birth.

Slave masters forcing otherwise heterosexual slaves into engaging in homosexual acts did not "turn them gay," nor does that have anything to do with the millions of gay people who exist today.

As my gay African friends point out, there are and have been Africans practicing same-sex desire who have never laid eyes on a European.

March 01, 2010 2:07 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I believe that homosexuality will always be the most negative trait that blacks will pinpoint in our race. We, as black people, are broken. If you are broken, and you can delegate something as less than you, you will do exactly that. Throw in the Bible, the black church, self-hatred, and sheer stupidity, and you have a formula for centuries of oppression.

As a race, we are still stuck on skin tones. It seems to be worse now than it was in the 1960's. Now, if we still can't handle that, you know we ain't ready to intelligently deal with homosexuality. It just ain't happening.

Ashley V, I also resent this need to explain homosexuality. But, you know our culture believes everything that Big Momma said back in the day, no matter how lacking it was in common sense. We hold on to ignorant wives tales and other thoughts. Consequently, we feel the need to define everything. Typically, we can blame whites if all else fails.

March 01, 2010 2:25 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Ashley V.,

Thank you so much for reading this article! I'm the author. Homosexuality has existed across space and time. Homosexual gays have existed as well. The aim of this article is to clarify some of the reasons why blacks have demonized homosexuality to the degree that it has been. Homosexuality is clearly not a "disease" that was not brought about by the white man. However, systems were effectively put in place by slave owners and imperialists to quell the sexuality of blacks. Please read my article specifically on black woman and how they have been desexualized and even hypersexualized by the media and other forms of propaganda. Please enjoy!


Eryn-Ashlei Bailey

March 01, 2010 2:28 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

homosexuality existed since ancient times. Some men just get pleasure out of being interment with other men

November 24, 2013 4:27 PM


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