Lately, I have been asking myself IF our straight Black folks stand with the us, their Black LGBTQ+ community members when we need them.
Answer: To be honest, If I had to answer right at this very moment, the answer would be NO.
It hurts when I think about it.
Because, when I see Black folks, I see folks that I want to protect and shield from a system of oppression and white supremacy. But I feel like a shoe is on my throat. It’s the shoe of straight Black community members that I feel on my throat! It Hurts!
I write this at a time when FOURTEEN BLACK TRANS WOMEN have been murdered due to vile language rooted in fear of those are deemed different and other. Language matters and can incite violence… we have many verifiable examples of this. I see folks out here like Gerry Monroe and Demetria Smith saying really harmful things while claiming to come from a place of love. They need to stop because this isn’t love and so do you if you agree with them.
#NOTE: Sylvester Turner has not said that he identifies as a gay person, it is an incorrect assertion that we have had to gay mayors in Houston. If he is gay, It is not appropriate to out someone and they should be able to come out when and if they choose to come out. This is HOMOPHOBIA and a ploy to get attention on a very weak campaign.
While they are not the total representation of Black Houston, I feel compelled to speak out as a warning to those who agree with anti-LGBT+ sentiments, that we will speak up and not be silent. The time for your bigotry has come and gone. Just think about it, we are using definitions and measurements of ourselves given to us by white men who enslaved us. The fact is that to be Anti-LGBT+ is to be Anti-Black. Yes, I know a lot of you don't hate me or anyone like me, but it’s hard for us to see this as a factual reality because of your silence and inaction to correct those who come from a place of ignorance.
Most of the time I and many others in the Black LGBTQ+ community have to prepare our minds to be around straight folks, most likely for our own safety… from YOU. Why are we such a threat to your woman/manhood?!
Why are those of you who call yourselves our friends and allies silent when we get called fags, punks, sissies, dykes and etc? Why were you silent when your pastors came out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance because of LGBT+ protections without regard to the reality that Blackness and Queerness exist in the same space and time? Why is intersectionality suddenly so foreign when I bring up the fact that I am affectionate toward the same gender?
But here we are…
WE, Black LGBT folks are the first to stand when you get shot down by that blue bullet, challenge policies that criminalize us, get laws passed and etc in the name of decriminalizing Blackness and teaching ourselves that Black does not mean less than human or other.
There are many times that I speak about anti-LGBT sentiments in the Black community and folks get angry. You all turn to respectability politics, because you see calling out this issue as making the Black community look bad. But the truth is that these hateful sentiments exist and we should be able to talk about issues if we are to demand respect from other communities. We MUST acknowledge the FACT that these sentiments happen to occur very close to home and from people who look like us, it is sad.
I will always fight for the justice of those who look like me. However, we in the Black LGBT+ community are erased when we talk about discrimination, oppression and its effects on us in larger conversations.
Who I am…Who we are is NOT a choice or a lifestyle!
To say that Black LGBT+ people who live openly and freely live a “lifestyle” and that our sexual orientations and our gender identities is a “choice”, is reflective of anti-LGBT+ sentiments and willful ignorance about the facts in the Black community. Because it is seen as unnatural for someone to love the same sex or even be Transgender you cast us to the side like dirt. Like we don’t exist, but I came to remind you all that we do exist. I say this because, if you fix your mouths to say that you care about homeless folks, I demand that you stop kicking your children to the damn streets because you can’t accept us for who we are.
Of all of the risks that range from police violence to death threats from white supremacists, I feel most threatened in my own queerness. It brings me to a place of pain that I have always felt in this life of mine. We are not predators, we don't have a “gay agenda” and we just want to live our lives in peace.
The real danger is that your child could be LGBT+ and that you are more concerned about what you want and how you may look to others. The refusal to educate yourselves about the dangers that persist in the world and stop demonizing a group of people just who want to live, exist peacefully and love. There is no way to stop your child from recognizing their sexual orientation, except for the fact that you will make them hide it while they are imprisoned by your misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, gender policing, and patriarchy. If you call this love, then you have to pay closer attention yourself and not to people who mean no harm.
Love us regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity. WE are not some new phenomenon, WE EXIST, and do I need to remind you that much of the movement for our rights have been led by LGBT+ people? The fact is you all operate as if we are asking you to agree with, approve of people being LGBT+ and that is not the case. How you feel about us is unimportant because we don’t need your permission to exist, you don’t have to like us, but you will respect us. We will no longer turn the other proverbial cheek because you are disrupted in your comfort by our existence.
The problem that we need to face squarely is that you need to learn that the world has more than religion and heterosexuality. We will never create solutions wisely with your uneducated and bigoted way of thinking.