Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is it About the Gays (including the black ones)?

I read Leonard Pitts' column "Blacks must confront their homophobia" this morning, and it was nice to read his perspective on this issue. It was especially nice to see his reference to DC Councilman Marion Barry's new found stance on gay marriage.

This is an open question for anyone who wants to tackle and discuss it: Why is the black community particularly uncomfortable with all things gay (even the black gays)?


CSoulScribe said...

I would say it's largely the religion factor. The "Black Church" (regardless of denomination) is a deeply rooted influence on the Black community (even those who aren't active in the church were probably raised in it and its traditions), and it's difficult to reconcile the Scripture and teachings of the church with being an ally to the gay community. Nevermind that there are plenty of active gay Christians in the same churches that condemn them, that's a whole other post, I'm sure. But since you asked, I would say that religion is a large factor, and also that being gay is looked at as a moral issue in religious discourse. An example: I have friends who, years ago, were hesitant to come out to me because they perceived I would Bible-thump and condemn them to eternal damnation.

hscfree said...

I guess I scared folks with this one. LOL.

Ms. Donna said...

Black men have had a way more complex and troubled history around masculinity and sex than other males from different cultures living in the US. Black manhood is still largely not defined in this country. Obama is mixed, raised by a white father not a black one. Okay! Ask yourself, what image best represents black men? The investment banker or the thug? Is it the brother unloading the UPS truck or brother spitting profanities between steel bars. Black malehood is also negatively characterized by a near national obsession with mixed raced relationships. How many times have we heard that successuful black men will only want white women to prove they "ARRIVED"? While I don't agree with the homophobia in the black community, I can identify with the pain of not ever seeing a strong population of black men living out traditional values. I can't recall seeing enough fathers and big brothers as strong figures. I guess maybe if had been more black Ward Clevers and less Fred Sanfords we might not be having this discussion. All the black community has is a long history of young black women managing their families alone because their male counterpart were either incarcerated or had abandoned them them. Gay disdain stems from so many women discovering that after their "man" return for serving time, he had "changed". Honestly, so few black people have truly enjoyed the experience of being raised in a strong two parent household without all the disfunction, that the gay issue is just another way of keeping them from every realizing that dream. I think the election of Obama is a promise for new "black family agenda" but I don't know. Gays, especially black gays are here to stay. And that genie or should I say "fierce genie" is NOT GOING BACK INTO THE BOTTLE!

Anonymous said...

What if "The Black Church" went out of the "policing sexuality" business?

Started preaching love and acceptance of all. Not tolerance, or understanding, but REAL love. The "it's a level playing field" kind of love. So that the pressure cooker scenerio of "church face" and true self is eliminated. Without that artificial constraint in place, imagine the time and energy available to accomplish things within the church, and in one's life.

Of course "The Black Church" could instead opt to make one small change, ammend its name to "The Black Church for Heterosexuals Only". Instilling some truth in advertising, while simultaneously sparing itself from ittinerant non-heterosexuals.

That way when homosexuality is demonized regularly, no one in attendance can say "It's just the way it is.", because they willing subjected themselves to what such an exclusionary group feeds upon - hate and disrespect, but neatly cloaked in the name of God.

"The Black Church" will change if gay and gay-supportive attendees declare their own personal amnesty (accepting themselves and/or others for who they are, as they are), and stop attending until their church PUBLICLY announces it is "inclusive, and denounces any policing of its members sexuality", or until they find a more suitable house of worship. One which embraces inclusive equality.

As people spiritually relocate, "The New Black Church" will then reference those houses of worship where scripture is interpreted differently, and taught differently. "The New Black Church" will be a way of saying, "A place where no one is excluded or ridiculed for being who they are."

Based on much more than Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column about Marion Barry and the religious figures portending a violent insurrection with the passage of gay marriage in the District of Columbia, it doesn't seem "The Black Church" really has an interest in changing.

Feet vote loudest!

I'm just sayin'...

Margot Lee Shetterly said...

I believe that communities that have withstood years of crisis, such as the case with the black community, become very conservative as a means to combat external threats, real or perceived, and to boost internal solidarity. However, there are costs to be paid for this strategy, and one of them is that people who are different for any reason are either exiled, or forced deep into the closet for fear of going against the grain of the community.

However, in order for the community to progress, it has to adopt progressive values, and that means allowing and even celebrating diversity, and viewing it as a strength instead of a weakness or a shame.

I do think it's ridiculous that most of the images of black gay men are either suppressed homothugs, or flaming queens. Not that there's anything wrong with those choices, if that's who people are, but we are missing the images of the gay people or couples who go to work, raise their kids and have lives that are otherwise indistinguishable from their straight counterparts.

Black gay Hollywood: isn't it time for someone to develop a TV show along these lines? Television and film have an unbelievable power to change public perception. And if the networks don't pick it up, you can broadcast it online.