No, Communities of Color Are Not More Homophobic or Transphobic than White Ones

I received an anonymous question about homophobia in communities of color on my QuirkyRican tumblr and knew that I couldn’t be the lone queer answering it. Communities of color deserve better than one response; we deserve guidance from the many voices of our people. We should offer each other the best bits of our lived experiences, intelligence and emotional expertise. So I posed the question to the Speakeasy and received some tremendous responses. We decided to share the question and answers with you — please, feel free to share your thoughts and vibes at the beep. Here’s the question:

How do you deal with a white partner saying shit about how communities of color are somehow especially homophobic/transphobic? I’m a South Asian lady in a relationship with a white girl, and this is the thing that comes up most and that I’m sorry to say I struggle to counter and deal with.

I’m really hurt by this and know it’s some racist bullshit, but at the same time I think about all the people in my family and community who really have had a VERY hard time dealing with my queerness (in ways that have come out as those same people being shitty to my partner) and don’t know what to say or do. It also brings up this weird internalized racial shame that I thought I’d gotten past ages ago… has this ever been a thing for you?

Note: some answers have been edited for clarity.


check out the Speakeasy logo Kaylah made

check out the Speakeasy logo Kaylah made!

Elisa P.: I think about this a lot because on one hand there is a lot of homophobia in communities of color, but a lot of that is tied to other forces (such as colonialism, imperialism, racism) as well as religion, as well as class. Intersectionality is real, you need to let them know.

Comic by Bug, 2014.

Comic by Bug, 2014.

But on the other hand, I’ve been meditating a lot on how a lot of society upholds this super dominant (and normative and neoliberal) narrative about LGBT identity that is of course white-centered, and I think in general people literally don’t know/can’t see the various cultural manifestations of same-gender love or sexuality period. Like, POC identities are already being judged against a system/narratives that don’t validate/value/understand those identities in the first place, so of course when it comes to the nuances of sexuality and sexual identity in those communities, especially since how anti-homophobic and pro-gay marriage a culture is has become a metric for civilization and progress, there’s going to be this added layer of scrutiny that in my opinion is rooted in blindness.

There has been and is queer sexuality within so many of these communities that does not utilize the dominant LGBT language. There may be prejudice against this language in those communities that reads as homophobia but does not negate the tolerated and accepted existence of those queer identities within those communities. Similarly, there is discrimination against those sexualities that is not coded as homophobia. I don’t know if I’m making sense but I think the first step is seeing how “homophobia” belongs to an ethnocentric body of language and discourse that is equally distributed or used across the board within POC cultures. And thennnn there is the amount of money white conservatives literally pour into certain institutions and the media to paint POCs as the homophobic army from hell, but that’s a whole other story.

Carolyn W.: It’s a complicated question because it has become a common deflector used by white folks. Communities of color do in fact deal with a lot of homophobia but not for the reasons white people think, and I believe that is the reason white people need to leave that shit the fuck alone and stop trying to make it like communities of color hold all the homophobia, and white communities don’t. It’s just not true!

White people couldn’t wrap their minds around how homophobia manifests in communities of color if they tried. It’s all tied into gender and power and how we have have to filter out ideas on these in a world that tells us black and brown bodies don’t matter. Queerness skews all the lines previous generations created for those readings.

Ask them how they think they got that way and if their answer is anything other than colonialism, coercive conversion during slavery, and imperialism, please let them know the truth.

Marisol B.:  Ask them how they think they got that way and if their answer is anything other than colonialism, coercive conversion during slavery, and imperialism, please let them know the truth.

Someone just sent me a racism glossary from Canada — there’s some useful stuff in there. Their succinct definition of colonialism was “Colonialism Usually refers to the period of European colonization from Columbus (1492) onwards, in the Americas, Asia and Africa, and taking on different forms from settler colonies like Canada to non-settler colonies such as India during British rule.” — but it’s a fairly sterile definition. To me, colonialism is a process whereby a group [usually from a powerful country/space backed by military or other forces] plops into another country/space that’s already inhabited and says “MINE!” on behalf of their “mother country” through force and exploitation along many axes, usually for $$/power/land/resources. Colonization in the U.S. included the forced resettlement of many indigenous tribes, forced Christianization, putting kids in boarding schools and separating them from their families, not allowing indigenous children to speak their native tongues or use their native dress, slavery, systemic extermination, and the list goes on.

Allison B.: In my opinion, this person’s partner needs to be more respectful! And maybe learn some more about colonialism. Europe exported its ideas about gender and sexuality for a really long time, and that had/has a big impact on the whole world. The US is still doing it (see: African countries, like Uganda, where American evangelicals have spent millions to promote homophobia/transphobia).

An activist is holding the Ugandan flag during the first Gay Pride in Uganda, which took place at Entebbe beach on August 4, 2012.

An activist is holding the Ugandan flag during the first Gay Pride in Uganda, which took place at Entebbe beach on August 4, 2012.

Asha F.: Yes, Marisol B.! My answer was going to be about the respectability politics and the roots of those politics soaked in the blood of people killed by whites. Everyone’s just trying to keep their kids alive, even if it meant that parts of their spirits had to die along the way. But Marisol gets to that without the blood and tree pictures, so that’s cool too. Also the person who originally said this to their partner should please just shut the fuck up about communities of color. There are enough boards in white people’s eyes to keep them preoccupied for the full extent of any long term relationship.

Lisa C.: Cultural differences just mean that homophobia looks different everywhere and isn’t homogeneous. Even if some cultures came up with the idea to oppress LGBT people without a colonial hand forcing the matter, it still wouldn’t be appropriate to paint an entire culture of people as especially homophobic.

Aki M.: These are really hard questions to live, and this person is courageous for asking them. They’re not alone in struggling and trying to figure out any kind of internalized shame, and resolve conflict.

If we can’t actually force true, lasting change on individuals, how we interpret and act/react and engage the world are the only things we can try to do something about… So in the Speakeasy, we write, we share, we ask questions or for another perspective, we struggle, we fail, we try again, we rage, we embrace, we celebrate small yays, we laugh from our hearts, and sometimes we just say, “hey. you. are. not. alone. here.”

“hey. you. are. not. alone. here.”

Danii D.:  This question immediately reminded me of a poem by Alok (from Darkmatter), called trans/generation. Read it here. It echoes what everyone here has said so amazingly already.

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Natalie P.:  I’m really glad you all exist and are helping to navigate this. I think about this alot and sometimes come up short but don’t know where to go past I BLAME THE WHITES OF OLDE.

Laura M.: Send them to Google with search term “ethnocentrism.” Tell them that conversation can only resume after they’ve clicked through the first two pages of search results.

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(I always get flustered when trying to give on-the-spot, verbal explanations about racism. I’d rather make people read things.)

Ethnocentrism is a term applied to the cultural or ethnic bias — whether conscious or unconscious — in which an individual views the world from the perspective of his or her own group, establishing the in-group as archetypal and rating all other groups with reference to this ideal. This form of tunnel vision often results in: (1) an inability to adequately understand cultures that are different from one’s own and (2) value judgments that preference the in-group and assert its inherent superiority, thus linking the concept of ethnocentrism to multiple forms of chauvinism and prejudice, including nationalism, tribalism, racism, and even sexism and disability discrimination. (Oxford Bibliographies, 2012.)

Natalie: Ahhh wow, I’m a South Asian lady who yeah… I’ve heard that shit a lot from white people so I feel for the asker (that said, not from a partner, so different, and I imagine, very difficult). You end up in this weird position where on one hand it’s like you know there IS homophobia and transphobia in your communities so do you talk about that and then risk the white person putting you in their easy narrative of ‘communities of color are MORE homophobic/transphobic!’ or do you try and play it down to try and avoid that narrative and end up feeling like you’re doing a disservice to your fellow queer people?

You end up in this weird position where on one hand it’s like you know there IS homophobia and transphobia in your communities so do you talk about that and then risk the white person putting you in their easy narrative of ‘communities of color are MORE homophobic/transphobic!’ or do you try and play it down to try and avoid that narrative and end up feeling like you’re doing a disservice to your fellow queer people?

I don’t know really, it’s a tricky one, but I guess what I try and do is try and focus on a few things:

  • The fact that white people are still as homophobic/transphobic as fuck today and in the recent past (I’m assuming the asker is from a Western country here). Who is it that makes the policies/laws, controls the funding….yeah mostly white people.
  • A reminder that basically a lot of anti sodomy laws were introduced by British rulers in South Asia.
  • Talking about the glbtiq movements/people in South Asia as well as South Asian queers in the west too… like the whole ‘communities of color are more homophobic/transphobic’ thing really ignores the fact that there are south asian queers and we ARE part of those communities as well.

Maryam M.:  My two cents: it’s not like poor PoC have any leverage in creating oppressive systems. Do Imams think i’m ‘sinful’ for transitioning? Yes. But it was still a white radical feminist working with Ronald Fucking Reagan who ensured that trans folk had all medical access denied (except for the rich). Like, you can talk about how the inflexible nature of the local mosques has made my coming out to local Muslims impossible. But, funny thing, they’re not the ones making robocalls to lie to voters into passing anti-trans ordinances.

For me, it’s not about how you ‘feel’ about me being ‘queer’ or ‘trans’. I could care fuck all what most people think. What i care about is who is in charge of maintaining oppressive systems.

I dunno, I just get irked when i hear people talk about this as some sort of deflection. Like you expect everyone, in every situation, to have exactly your understanding of what equality looks like.

Even when I’m in the Middle East, the oppressive powers that be have so little to do with my religion and everything to do with their individual corruption. I know people who use Islam to try and invalidate me, but then I look at the mouth it comes from. It’s not my religion invalidating me, it’s you.

Al S.:  Maryam I like all the other paragraphs in your post, especially the last one. Maybe it’s because of the Muslim and identifying as queer part. I really relate to how yes, my mosque has ideas about my sexuality, identity and me, but most of my hardships come from other places. Even when I’m in the Middle East, the oppressive powers that be have so little to do with my religion and everything to do with their individual corruption. I know people who use Islam to try and invalidate me, but then I look at the mouth it comes from. It’s not my religion invalidating me, it’s you.

Image via Queer Muslim Students in Australia

Image via Queer Muslim Students in Australia

Gabby R.: I’m cheating because I’m writing my response after everyone else said their piece and after this entire article has been put together. I’m last because I needed time to think. What everyone has contributed is spot on and honest: ethnocentrism, colonized mindsets, enforced systems of oppression and religions onto indigenous folks by white Christians, and lots of internalized bullshit.

For people experiencing this: none of it is in your head. The reason you feel weird/uncomfortable/angry is because your white partner is asserting their white-supremacist based notions of communities of color onto you. You don’t deserve that shit. It’s boring, insulting, and you don’t need to combat their issues while trying to figure your own life out. Your family isn’t a reflection of every South Asian family. And if you’re dealing with transphobia/homophobia in your family, you don’t need someone who’s going to throw an ethnic stereotype in your face. Like motherfuck that forever, bb.

In the full ask, the asker said they’d read my piece on microaggressions in interracial relationships with white people, so they already know there are some tips in there about how to enter into good dialogue or how to just take some space. But really tho…

Next time they say something about “All South Asians do X or all Black people do Y,” just offer them a mayonnaise sandwich. All white people like mayo sandwiches, right?

YUM!

YUM!


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The QTPOC Speakeasy is a collective of Autostraddle's writers of color.

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33 Comments

  1. This is something I struggle with a lot when dealing with the homophobia from my Nigerian family members, clueless white people and my need to make sense of it all.

    I remember my aunt saying “this is not yours!” when I came out and I felt so defeated and when I would argue (heh) with my cousins saying being queer is about some “white people shit.” I would get so angry and during one of my arguments with my cousin, a cousin I actually like, she was worried that I was becoming something to prove how *American* I am and I was ashamed of being from Nigeria. She said that *westernization* has caused me to hate myself. I was so annoyed and granted I was hurting at the time I told her how many cultural “traditions” came from England and how it is not Nigerian but she prays to it, lives for it, speaks to it. I was going in and she was silent because she knew I was not wrong colonization has done a number on Nigeria and all the African nations, it’s the legacy.

    When I have to deal with that and deal with white people in my life saying to “fuck ’em,” to abandon them because “they’re backwards” I used to nod but feel a pain in my heart. I did not know how to affirm myself and felt I did not belong anywhere and talking to my grandmother learning more about my roots, I’m here in the US calling my ancestors homophobic? What happened?

    I just remind my self that there are queer Nigerians doing the work, surviving and I refuse to erase them because of the bullshit the government does in persecuting queer Nigerians. I still work on asserting my voice when something like that happens because me denouncing my family is not going to give me my freedom. And for who and what I see myself denying my place of birth around this time of the month and for what? A whitewashed cis gay male packaging of queerness by the HRC? I’m not going to give the US government more excuses to militarize “developing (homophobic) places” by supporting harmful *causes*.

  2. “…a lot of society upholds this super dominant (and normative and neoliberal) narrative about LGBT identity that is of course white-centered, and I think in general people literally don’t know/can’t see the various cultural manifestations of same-gender love or sexuality period. Like, POC identities are already being judged against a system/narratives that don’t validate/value/understand those identities in the first place, so of course when it comes to the nuances of sexuality and sexual identity in those communities, especially since how anti-homophobic and pro-gay marriage a culture is has become a metric for civilization and progress, there’s going to be this added layer of scrutiny that in my opinion is rooted in blindness.”

    I love how this stuff is almost taken as common knowledge. I was like, what crazy enlightened corner of the internet have I stumbled into. And then I was like oh. The Speakeasy.

  3. this resonated soooo so much! so much of the homophobia i’ve experience within the black community has truly come from a space of “caring”. these are people that have known me my whole life and who want to see me thrive and the black community thrive–to them that equals marrying a strong black man (rolled my eyes as i typed that) and popping out some beautiful black babies. so when i stray away from that, it threatens not just my life, but the in their minds the whole black community! now, they’re wrong, but white people don’t see the intricacies of that. they just see some bigot saying something bigoted–which, side note, is almost ALWAYS given more coverage than a bigoted white person–and then go “oh wow people of color are so homophobic and behind the times omgggg!!” when really, in their minds they’re just trying to help me stay alive and prosper.

    also, i am dying at the mayo sandwich.

    • well fuck, that did not format the way i wanted it to lmao. i was supposed to be quoting this part: “Everyone’s just trying to keep their kids alive, even if it meant that parts of their spirits had to die along the way”

      I also wanna clarify that i’m not making excuses for homophobia/transphobia in poc communities? but that it often comes from a mindset that they are protecting me somehow by being homophobic. and the reason they feel they need to protect me is white supremacy. they know white folks wanna kill me anyway, so in their minds it’s a “why give them more reason to” type deal. if i’m straight and respectable, then fingers crossed white folks will just leave me alone and let me go on with my business.

  4. Yes yes to everything Maryam and all of you said. I’ve thought about this a lot and I always come to the conclusion that the notion of poc being more homophobic and transphobic and all the other things is bullshit, at least for me. Why is it that as a queer womxn –sometimes straight passing sometimes not –I still feel more comfortable in poc spaces than LGBT white spaces? Could it be that these white people are just projecting their fear of the other onto poc?

    Not only that but I also feel that most of the homophobia that I have received from my family comes from those who have done more to assimilate into white America — and also out of fear. Fear of how to deal with a changing family dynamic. In which a strong united family was and continues to be the primary source for survival in white America.

  5. I don’t think it’s about projecting fear. I’ve witnessed a lot of horrible violent homophobia in my multi-racial/ethnic communities, it “feels” more widespread than in white communities I’ve lived in, and history doesn’t change that. It shapes the way you engage or empathize with it, but it doesn’t make the day to day reality any different.

  6. This was so bang-on, I hate that we need them but barbs like these are such an important part of refusing to indulge in a one-sided narrative meant to cast self-doubt and silence QPOCs:

    “But it was still a white radical feminist working with Ronald Fucking Reagan who ensured that trans folk had all medical access denied (except for the rich). Like, you can talk about how the inflexible nature of the local mosques has made my coming out to local Muslims impossible. But, funny thing, they’re not the ones making robocalls to lie to voters into passing anti-trans ordinances.”

    Beautifully done, Speakeasy!

  7. Great read!

    This conversation is extremely important, even as POC I believe we often have difficulty navigating how to be both supportive and critical of our communities. On one end we want to support and rally around our communities as a way to change the narrative held my Eurocentric views, but we are aware of the damage and hurt our community have caused surrounding issues such as sexuality. I often think that white people jump on this, as to deflect the conversation away from themselves as a way to increase the narrative that POC our intolerable. Thus increasing their agenda to remain the supreme authority and power.

  8. Timely once again! Been thinking about writing about this.

    I’ve been telling my coming out story, it seems like, almost every first date these past few years, and every time the white folk look back at me like OMG YOUR LIFE SO HARD YOUR FAMILY SO SAD. And sometimes, they’ll tell me (on a first date) how not OK my mom’s way of processing is and how much better their family is.

    Coming out wasn’t/isn’t easy for me because of my cultural background, but that same cultural background means that my parents really would sacrifice anything if they thought I could have a better life and to them gayness prevents me from having the best life they could imagine. It also means that even as I know they have a hard time grasping the ins and outs of my queerness, I have never, ever doubted their love for me.

    A couple weeks ago, I was on a date (and if you read this, my friend, I wish I had the nerve to talk to you about it more in the moment), and she asked me what Sri Lanka was like. So, stupid me, I took her on the eyes closed geography tour — the valleys and wildlife and beaches, the north and the south, the conflicts and the family I had in different areas.

    No, she said. What IS IT LIKE IN SRI LANKA… for queer people?

    So, I answered that well, not being queer in Sri Lanka (born and raised in America), that was hard for me to completely cover, but there were still homophobic laws on the books, and the occassional Pride parade, but also people who got harassed. That being said, there were generation differences and progress.

    Sometimes I think about how lucky I am to have been to be born here, she told me, not thinking about how much of an obtuse remark that was to make to someone with a cultural background that was not AMURICA. I pointed out to her that there were pockets of homophobia all over the U.S., but that conversation didn’t settle with me well.

    I’ve been reading how the British ruined everything in Sri Lanka (and everywhere else), including bringing homophobic laws in.

    This group of responses is an excellent set of resources for me to give the next person who dares tell me that it’s awful to be both queer and Sri Lankan.

  9. i guess im just a simple and crude individual. but as a south asian queer i try my damndest to avoid this stuff by vowing to never date ppl who aren’t of color.

  10. This is one of those issues that I’ve had burbling around in my head for a long time. Like, whenever I hear anyone use this…”argument”, I just…I have to wonder — What even is your point? What is it that you’re asking of me, a queer person of color? What exactly do you want me to do, genuflect and apologize on behalf of All Black/Brown People Everywhere? How can anyone be so disingenuous?

    Anyway I should maybe bookmark this so I can get better at having eloquent, coherent responses when these conversations come up.

  11. Forever haunted by my identity as a queer, gender-variant Korean, I find it so hard to separate my own hurt cowardly feelings from a more productive discourse, especially when stuff like this year’s blatant, shameless silencing of queer voices happens, and the perpetrators are not as fringe group as I’d like them to be. But yeah, really, it’s not without progress, and I’m eternally grateful for my wonderful family, but the shame, isolation, and rejection are also so personal and deeply impacting that it’s hard not to be swayed emotionally. I wonder if others in my shoes feel similarly, but I feel like I’m on a shakier ground on this one as a TCK (Third Culture Kid) person who has much unresolved feelings about their cultural and national identity.

  12. I just kind of feel like….it’s a bit fake too? Like, on one hand white queers want to be like POOR YOU your people are homophobic and give me that look (there’s this look I swear) and you know, pretend like they give a shit….and yet

    overall white queers don’t seem to give a shit about making queer spaces more welcoming or inclusive to people of colour, and it’s like well…..

    Yeah.

  13. It’s that colonial mentality once again… “Our way of acceptance is the best way, yours is backwards & barbaric, now let us good white saviours teach you how to be humans”

  14. This reminded me of this essay, Black Peeople Less Likely. (It’s written by a white dude, but he’s a white dude who genuinely tries to listen, even if he doesn’t always agree.) It’s all about how the thrive/survive dichotomy can cause marginalized groups to become more focused on community and conformity, and how this leads to POC being underrepresented in all kinds of weird non-conformist groups, from atheism to birdwatching. It makes a lot of the same points that came up in this speakeasy (in its own academic way).

  15. “communities of color are not more homophobic / transphobic than white ones”
    Errm… Yes they are. At least mine is anyways.
    As a Nigerian living in the west who has strong connections back home… I can tell you that it I waaay more homophobic or transphobic back there. When Caitlyn Jenner did her vainity fair thingy it trended on Nigerian twitter and the transphobic jokes were the norm not the exception which was a direct contrast to my tumblr which is mostly white. So yes… It is. Lets not pretend like its not. I cannot tell any of my group of friends (all Nigerians in the Uk) that I’m bisexual and I’ve been dating a girl for the past year and half they all think I’m single and keep trying to set me up. And it breaks my heart when I see them making fun of lgbt people. My ex boyfriend is homophobic as fuck (also a Nigerian in the Uk) and I always make sure to challenge him whenever he says anything negative about gay men (lesbians are hot to him tho). So yes they are more homophobic. Blaming white people for our community’s homophobia is just hilarious. Are you saying they cannot think for themselves because Colonialism? That’s awfully condescending. And frankly racist.
    All that being said, I am proud of my roots, and I feel that our country is changing albeit slowly but surely. There are several Nigerian lgbt activists. It might not be soon but lgbt acceptance is coming. My advise is to acknowledge truths, don’t blame others and have hope for the future.

    • I was going to come here to say something similar. Colonization does not fully explain Malaysia’s extreme homophobia and transphobia: if anything, the Malaysian (and mostly Muslim) authorities claim that LGBTQ identities are a WESTERN thing, and it was colonization’s fault that there were LGBTQ people and culture at all. If Malaysia wasn’t colonized everyone would be straight and happy woo! They really did not need Section 377 (or whatever the holdover British law was) to enact homophobic and transphobic systems of law and governance.

      Yes, you can’t really measure homophobia in communities on a scale – everyone manifests it differently and intensity is in some ways in the eye of the beholder. But I have gotten shit AS A QPOC FROM other QPOC (mostly because of my recent-immigrant status & politics) so it’s not like we’re immediate allies. There are certain things that my Bangladeshi family are better when than Western queers are, and vice versa.

      I feel like “colonization” gets overly used in this cases to avoid accountability, and to shut out voices from people who are currently being oppressed by non-White-colonial forces and power worldwide (for example, trying to get Western Muslim activists to pay attention to how non-normative Muslims and non-Muslims in general are being attacked by Muslim governments in South East Asia is like pulling teeth).

    • I see where you’re coming from but there’s a few things I want to point out. Twitter and Tumblr are two totally different platforms with two different types of vibes to them, at least that’s how it seems to me. Tumblr is where I go for acceptance and Twitter is where I don’t go because, while there are activists there trying to do work, there seems to be a lot of jerk spouting hateful rhetoric. That may account for the different responses to Caitlyn’s trending. The second point I want to bring up is that, while maybe you can’t blame all the homophobia on colonization, it certainly did contribute to the fortification of existing homophobia and the addition of new homophobic ideas. It wouldn’t be accurate to entirely discount the role that colonization plays in how homophobic certain societies are just like it wouldn’t be fair/accurate to look at the state of black America without acknowledging the impacts of slavery and ongoing discrimination.

  16. This article is fantastic and the exact reason why I donate to the NBJC and the like – I literally don’t have the energy to be having these conversations with people. I grew up a solitary brown face in a white place and became an “ambassador” for POC by default – I can’t imagine having to do this for lgbtqi issues as well.

    I went to a screening of “The New Black” and went home and immediately upped my monthly donation. All of you out there having these conversations with people – please, please, please take care of yourselves and know that I appreciate you answering questions, having these dialogues, and education folks.

  17. “Next time they say something about “All South Asians do X or all Black people do Y,” just offer them a mayonnaise sandwich. All white people like mayo sandwiches, right?”
    Best advice ever, I laughed my tits of.

    Also, when you remove the racial discussion from this, it just sounds like a bad relationship.
    Like if this issue comes up all the time, your partner is basically insulting your community, all the time.
    Also the partner is allowed to be mad at said south Asian parents if they treated her like shit. But when you support your partner through a difficult coming out, you’re not supposed to further ostracize her from her community, by basically saying that wherever she goes in that community she will be confronted with more homophobia than in white communities. The partner is basically telling her to forget who she is, and limit her a queer identity to playing golf with rich white lesbians.

    My dear, you don’t need a partner like that.

  18. I would disagree that the black community (which I single out because it’s the one I belong to and therefore know something about) isn’t more homophobic. Although I have felt defensive before after hearing comments to that effect. Usually, only if I think the person I’m talking to is using that as an excuse to write us off as if it’s some inherent genetic deficiency. That’s racist to me. That “you know how they are” attitude.

    But, I never deny that feel like there is greater pressure in my community because that would make me feel like I’m covering up, or selling myself out as a gay woman.

    Besides, turning an argument about homophobia in the black community into an argument about race always makes me think about the queer black voices who hid their sexuality during the civil rights movement while they fought racism. It makes me think about how many people fought, marched, and died closeted for people who would never deign to return the favor. It makes me think about how I’m just like them when I explain basic shit to an ignorant coworker and then go around the people I’m defending just to hear the same sort of things about myself. And that makes me to want to kill something.

  19. Islamaphobia and a general hatred of people from the Middle East is so rampant now that I feel like accusing those communities of being homophobic and misogynistic is just one more slur to leverage against them in the same way that calling victims of police brutality “thugs” is just one more way to marginalize and devalue black lives. I think that’s a really powerful thing to remember that “thug” and “misogynist” and every other coded word that we hear as a euphemism for bigotry are linked and that POC communities can and should be allies to each other.

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