The most polarizing movement in recent years has has been the gay-rights movement. It has appeared to have completely overshadow the Black Liberation movement. Of course, with many gays being overwhelmingly successful and having a tremendous amount of control over media and entertainment, it is no wonder why their struggle has become the civil rights movement of our day. With many of our Black institutions in decline and the moral in our communities at an all-time low, it is no wonder why our struggle gets very little attention in the media unless we start burning some shit down. Sometimes it’s the Black gay community who, ironically, have to remind people of the Black struggle. Of course, many Blacks don’t like for the LGBT community to interject their movement into the Civil Rights movement. Whether you want to call it Civil Rights or not, gays do have a legitimate struggle in regards to marriage inequality and social acceptance. Now when gays try to equate homosexuality with being Black, that’s where I draw the line. My argument is that all Black homosexuals are Black, but all blacks aren’t homosexual. Even if one is “born” homosexual, they can still discriminate against homosexuals of another race. So where is the comparison?
I could just leave it at that, but then this post would be very boring. Playing devils advocate, why can’t both movements unite, since both Blacks and gays experience a large degree of discrimination? Then maybe they can create a super-Civil Rights coalition? This makes sense for civil rights overall, but gay’s issues are much more complicated than just the color of ones skin. First of all, being black is just more noticeable than being gay. Unless you are Stevie Wonder, it was pretty obvious that Jason Collins was Black when he came out. The big shocker was that he was gay! The average Black person struggles with fitting into society as a whole. However, the average gay person struggles with their sexuality, morality, fitting in with their own family members, as well as fitting in with society. In that instance, I would agree with Wanda Sykes, who said in an interview with CNN that its harder being gay than Black. Its one thing to be rejected by the outside world. It’s another thing to be rejected by your own family and friends. Therefore, despite my feelings towards homosexuality in general, I can understand their struggle. Yet, that still doesn’t make the two struggles the same. Now forming coalitions between the two struggles make sense if each group is trying to gain support for some very specific forms of discrimination. However, on the grand scheme of things, it makes no sense for the Black community to unite with the LGBT community. For starters, Black gays are also struggling to find an identity within the Black community.
Gay or straight, we are all still Black. A person may or may not know you are gay, but unless you can pass for something else, it’s pretty freaking obvious you are Black. Therefore, if two gay men decided to go into a department store and kiss each other in the mouth, if the store owner is racist, the store owner is going to notice they are black before they notice they are a couple. They don’t have to announce to the store owner that they’re black. However, if the store owner is homophobic, by the time he or she figures out they’re gay, they’re already making out at the counter. During the sit-ins in the sixties, imagine how awkward it would have been if a black person had to announce that he or she was black? Half of the time, society doesn’t know if a person gay until they say something.
This is why many Blacks have a problem with homosexuality taking over the Black struggle. Race and sexual orientation are just two different things. You can be one or the other or you can be both, but as a movement, you have to pick one or the other. If anything, their is a gay-pride movement within the Black community. I think people forget sometimes that, despite Blacks having to struggle with their own identity, we are still a full-fledged culture with cultural norms and values that don’t always align with popular opinion. Like many other cultures, we are able to differentiate our cultural behavior from our individual behavior. There nothing wrong with the Black community viewing homosexuality as a life-style separate from our actual culture and it shouldn’t make us “homophobic”. In fact, our more progressive brothas and sistas see homosexuality as a sub-culture no different from Black Greek fraternities and sororities, hip hop, gangs, Mardi Gras Indians, etc.
One major problem, in my opinion, are black gays who fail to remind the larger LGBT community that we are not the same. Just like many people can’t see homosexuality past it being a life-style or a choice, I believe that the many members of the gay community only see Black America as just a skin color. They don’t give Black American culture the same respect they might give Italians-American or Jewish culture. This ideological difference is why the LGBT community like to compare Black American identity with their own. I find it very disturbing that gays take Chick-fil-a more serious than Black America.
But I’m not going to put this all on our gay brothas and sistas. I’m going to put this one on the Black community. The reason why this country, including the first Black president, has placed the gay struggle over the Black struggle is because the gay community as a whole is too wealthy and powerful to ignore. They control a good chunk of the media, politics, fashion and public opinion to the point where society has no choice but to take them seriously. I applaud them on that end. However, the reason why the gay community finds it hard to take the black community serious is because we don’t have the same kind of power and influence to make this a fair fight. At least other cultures have more ways to control the gays-rights from overshadowing their core issues even if they have to fearmonger. Do you think Latinos would let the gay-rights agenda overshadow immigration-rights? I doubt it. Yet, many members of the LGBT community feel as though they can recruit our soldiers to fight their agenda, while totally dismissing the fact that majority of Black Americans are Christians who don’t condone their lifestlye. Blacks aren’t the only minority who have issues with homosexuality, yet we seem to be the most targeted. I don’t see the LGBT community targeting Mexican, Arab, Native, West Indian or Chinese Americans nearly as much as they come after Black Americans. The truth is that the LGBT community know they can get away with targeting the Black community because we are nowhere near as united as other minority groups. Therefore, without a strong infrastructure to reinforce our cause, the LGBT community can get our gay and straight brothas and sistas to fight their cause over our own. When the Black church, the cornerstone of black political thought, decides to jump on the LGBT bandwagon, we might as well call our movement a rap.
The weakest of all institutions in most of our communities is the Black household. Without structure and discipline in our households, our children will succumb to any kind of lifestyle, let alone homosexuality. Even for our brothas and sistas who have known they’ve been gay since they could say the word will be led astray if we don’t provide any structure for them as well. Black churches have to stop catering to politics and public opinion and start creating a blueprint for Black morality, even for gays. We know that there are gay members of the Black church. How do we normally deal with them? Half of the time we don’t. We usually treat them like human beings and leave it up to god to decide their fate. Then in return, their not force to throw their lifestyle in our face.
Believe it or not, during the first half of the 20th century, Black America’s opinion of homosexuality was very progressive for its time. In fact, communities such as Harlem was a major attraction for Black and White homosexuals. This comfortable setting allow many gays of the Harlem Renaissance to voice their opinion of homophobia during a time when the rest of America was ultra-conservative. Yet, Black gays still felt apart of the overall black movement without feeling left out. Therefore, didn’t feel a need to mix their agenda with ours. They knew that being Black was the bigger issue. Another reason why they held back was because our community’s morality, business, political and media infrastructure was just too strong back then. They definitely didn’t want to but heads with the leaders of that era, who were much more influential.
Nowadays, with a weak infrastructure overall in the Black community, our leaders have sold us out to the LGBT community. Whether our struggles are the same or not, without strong black institutions, #blacklivematter, Black nationalism, Black feminism and any other Black movement will continue to be swallowed up by the LGBT movement. Therefore, when gay Blacks, succumb to racism within the LGBT community, they’re not going to have a place to run to. Consequently, if Black gays can’t find sanctuary in the Black community, they will simply make the movement more Black. Making the movement more Black simply gives them more numbers. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks so you know who they will go after first.. our very misguided, sexually-active, not-quite-comfortable-with-their-identity-yet youth and try to convince them to be more “open-minded.” If we allow our future generation to cater to homosexuals more than their own people, then GAY will be the new Black soon enough.