Friday, June 19, 2009

How Do I Feel About The Gay Community, And How Does the Gay Community Feel About Me?

We are rapidly approaching the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that kicked off in New York June 28, 1969.

It was the impetus for the increased activism of the modern TBLG rights movement, but I'm ambivalent about it as an African descended transperson.

My attitude toward it reflects the Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. line in the HBO movie The Tuskegee Airmen. In this particular scene he was testifying in front of a Senate committee at the behest of a racist senator whether to shut down the Tuskegee Airmen.

I'll paraphrase it here.

'How do I feel about the gay community? And how does the gay community feel about me? Are we to only be considered part of the gay community when the mood suits you or at your whim? All we want is a fair chance for the same respect and equality that you'd expect, no, demand for yourselves.'

The paraphrasing of this line speaks to a conundrum that I and many Black GLBT/SGL peeps talk about within the family and our Black cisgender allies about the white-dominated gay community.

Our perception is that we are not only a political pinata being bashed by both groups, but that sometimes we don't belong to either.

We're either 'too Black' for the gay community, or 'too gay' for the Black community.

We also face the maddening drama of both sides not considering us a part of 'their' group while being thrust into the no-win position of being told we have to choose one or the other.

A lot of my personal mood has been shaped by past and present events. While both sides are guilty of repeatedly crapping on and disrespecting Black SGL and trans people, it's particularly hurtful and galling to be ignored and disrespected time and again by your alleged allies.

Combine that with the GL leadership ranks lack of diversity, the repeated slights, appropriation and disrespect of out culture and history, and witnessing the racism that exploded from white gays after the Prop 8 loss.

Pouring gasoline on this simmering anger is what I and many Black GLBT peeps perceive as overly hostile criticism hurled at President Obama at the hands of white gay peeps who supported his Dem opponent.

It's leaving me and many Black TBLG/SGL peeps feeling like the only reason we're wanted is to provide melanin for photo ops.

Happy Pride? Yeah, right.

So how do I feel about the gay community? And how does the gay community feel about me?

That's a good damned question.

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