As we continue the fight for equality, we also must keep in perspective of how our relationships work within the community. Issues like race and other variants can have affects in all of these relationships, especially romantic ones.
Former Defensive Back for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins and LGBTQ activist Wade Davis II discusses an issues that arise of interracial dating , something that should be discussed regardless 0f sexuality. Davis commented on the issues of interracial dating in the LGBT community of interracial dating saying “I hope it’s not a block, I hope that people understand that who I date doesn’t dictate what’s in my heart. Any man that loves me like I need to be loved and that I’m attracted to is fair game. It just happened to be that person was white. I get it that there are a lot of people out there who have these preconceived notions about what it means to be a black man who dates a white man, especially because I have privilege.”
Davis continues by stating that understanding our histories in our communication with each other as well as our differences is paramount. “I think a lot of it dates back to the history of what it meant to be black and to date someone white. It was illegal, it was frowned upon, you could be killed and jailed for that. A lot of people haven’t forgotten about that. And they shouldn’t. I shouldn’t forget about that, either.”
Wade also expressed perception he”s encountered in the LGBTQ community saying, “I think within the gay community, oftentimes you see people of color who are gay and they have white partners and people think, ’’Oh, once you get money you leave your community, you don’t give back, you don’t do the work.’’ I want people to know that I’m still doing the work. And I think if you’re not doing the work, then we’re never going to get to that point where we’re taking care of our brothers and sisters.”
Issues in dating like race do arise early as discussed in GayLife speculating that “although we as LGBT people share commonalities, perhaps cultural differences draw us apart. Many prides and bars already separate by race and ethnicity. Things differ when we talk about culture, music, lifestyle, etc.” The article uses the excerpts of forum members to share their own personal stories and insights.
With an increase o]in interracial datin in the LGBT community, discussing and examining these relationships are even more important. This is even more evident in UCLA’s Williams Institute as they used the California census from 2000-2010 and concluded “More than twenty percent of same-sex couples are interracial or interethnic, compared to 18 percent of unmarried straight couples, and 9.5 percent of married straight couples.”
Earlier this year Wade wrote an open letter to LBGTQ youth athletes and wants to continue working in this arena. Davis feels that issues like this that come up can be discussed and how these issues can affect relationships in adulthood. Davis says “I want to work with LGBT youth of color to make sure that HIV rates get lower, that homelessness is talked about, that poverty is talked about. And I’ll use the fact that I played in the NFL to promote that.” And Wade is doing exactly that by working as The Hetrick-Martin Institute that work in education, empowerment and advcacy for LGBTQ youth.
Previously, Davis wrote for the Huffington Post commenting on LGBT racial/ethnic minorities should acknowledge their own issues of race as this may affect their relationships.Even with these issues Wade and his partner of over six years discuss all the other issues like marriage and starting family.
Race is something that can strengthen the relationship when approached honestly as Wade has done. LGBT couples that are interracial shouldn’t approach this in a color blind mentalityalthough it shouldnt matter, because of our culture scenarios, perceptions, and stigmas need to be acknowledged even when the relationship is new.
Speaking from my own experiences I know the complexities of this issue and I thank Wade for being open in discussing his personal life in hopes that it helps others.