Tag Archives: African American Rights

So..Tell Me What’s Wrong With This Marriage Equality Ad?

gay dumbasses


When I came out eight years ago, I felt that as time went on, I wanted to contribute more to the cause of equality by speaking out because as the old saying goes “if you’re not a part of the solution then you’re a part of the problem”. So I try to make an effort whenever possible, even if it’s a small donation to an LGBT organization or writing a blog about the problems and issues within our community. And I always try to encourage but not demand the same in others. I believe every voice has power, and as a result, an impact in everything we do.

Even if it’s something as simple as a retweet on twitter or liking and sharing a Facebook status, I feel like if it further advances someone else’s voice. The message becomes a little bit louder and I am more than happy to do so. Visibility is and has always been a key component to the success of our community. Any civil rights movement that has been successful in history is because they stood out and made their presence known. Social media allows us to be visible and more powerful in delivering our message of equality than ever before.

But, we need to recognize that there is a limit to how effective that can be as there is to everything else. Sometimes the message can be counter-intuitive, counterproductive, contradictory, and just plain wrong. An example of this kind of wrong is what I found when I came across this ad today by an organization called FCKH8. Today they tweeted out this image with the caption “Jesus’s reason for wanting you to support gay marriage”. When I saw this, I became livid. There are so many things wrong with this picture. But let’s break it down so you see why this is so disturbing.

The message by what I presume is an LGBT equality group for marriage equality and their message is to “Legalize Love”. Of course I support that, it’s what I talk and write about daily. The group calls on both straight and gay allies to join together to eliminate discrimination and hate. They have an array of t-shirts, hoodies, wristbands and pens to promote the cause. Hell, I even support the eye candy they use to promote their merchandise on their website. I support all of this because allies are a bridge that enables us to spread our message.

Even with the fact that many don’t support businesses or organizations like this because we don’t know where all the profit is going to, I don’t mind it. Because it gets the word out and makes us more visible in some form and what we as a community want. They even donated 25000 dollars to help promote awareness and equality in Tennessee, my home state that is still trying to pass a bill that would ban students in grade K through 8 from saying the word gay in school. So, naturally I support that as well. That is not where the issue lies here.

Now some of you may be looking at this ad right now saying “What’s wrong with it, this is in support of marriage equality” and if that’s all you see then you need to look again. Because this ad supports hate. It is saying that abortion is wrong. I don’t support hate, in any form. And this openly invites hate on a woman’s right to choose for herself and I will never, ever support such hypocritical, vulgar, and flat out asinine degradation of ANYONE and their right. You don’t “Fuck Hate” by hating on another group. Ever.

Maybe the reason that I’m so upset is because I’ve seen such a vapid attempt like this before. Because of this belief by some leaders and activists within our community that fail to see the diversity that is in this community. It’s evident when you hear comments like “I can’t be racist, I’m gay” when you most certainly can be, despite how immeasurably ignorant a conclusion this is to invoke.  These two issues don’t even mirror because they are two completely different issues. However, both should be treated with the same respect. Your status as a gay man does not eliminate your ability to be prejudice.

Some would argue that this ad shows a glaring privilege that is often overlooked and not approached for discussion by this community. Because some say that the truth is gay Caucasian men still have some privilege. It’s not so much about the right to marry but in the ability for a Caucasian male, regardless of sexuality, is still granted the ability to make a cause more visible. Don’t believe that’s true? Well this is what ads like this suggest, and why it is so important to speak out about how irresponsible an impact they have. Because this is not the kind of message we want to send.

I don’t know if it’s the inexperience of youth, an extremely tasteless joke or just willful ignorance but it needs to stop. How insensitive is it not only degrade but also condemn the rights of women by using the same tactics enacted by extreme republicans declaring kit is God’s Will to get married? Why would you ever want to place the condemnation on another group this way? By involving a prophet depicting children that are in danger to abortion and being gay saves the world that awful notion. I don’t even understand why whoever created this ad felt that this would ever be okay to publicly damn women’s rights. It is incredulously hypocritical (and quite ironic) to use religious propaganda to promote any cause.

Not to mention that there are lesbians, transgendered, and bisexual women that exists within this community as well. This ad completely disregards them and their right to choose. You are openly condemning these women when ads like this are a representation of this movement. They are facing the same struggles for equality that we are fighting for every day. This goes to show what goes wrong in a civil rights movement when someone becomes so intent on what they want for their community and for themselves that they don’t think about how it will affect others. You know who this ad speaks to? Gay, Caucasian Males. It does not reflect any other bit of diversity than that.

This all goes back to what I’ve talked about numerous times here and here about one of the biggest issues that exist in the LGBT community. That those of us that are a dichotomy, or members of other disparaged communities, face other issues that are completely disregarded pushed aside, or ridiculed by the group that knows what that feels like. Or at the very least knows what it feels like to be treated this way. Race issues and women’s issues in this community too often are treated this way. The only way that this erroneous use of judgment ever changes is when we call it out and explain why it’s wrong.

I’m angry at how insensitive this is to the other members of this community. How this ad openly disparages the women in our community that are always a side note in our struggle for equality. Normally the figureheads in the public eye are all male, all Caucasian and do not even begin to show the diverse dynamics of this community. And it has got to stop. Now. You all should be raging about this. We cannot afford to alienate one right over another. Civil rights movements are not about throwing other groups under the bus to get what we want.  It is not always just about us. And we need to remember that.

So…Here’s The Thing With Saying “Gay Is The New Black”


I cannot even begin to express how frustrated I become whenever I hear someone say Gay Is The New Black. The moment I hear the phrase I tense up like I’m being put in the middle of two very angry parents having a heated debate and wanting me to pick a side. Each has valid claims but the tension between them turns into anger, and the conversation becomes accusatory. Rather than allowing me to express how each argument is right you can’t say anything because you don’t know how to convey it. You want to make both of them proud because you love them both and don’t want to disregard their feelings. There’s fear that if you agree with even the smallest point either has made that you’re betraying the other. That’s what phrases like this do. Rather than unify they become divisive. Us vs. Them.

Because I’m a gay African American man, this analogy perfectly describes how I feel sometimes as a member of both communities. Instead of connecting on an emotional level it feels like each side is trying to prove they’re right. They’re both right and both have been wronged. Both have been oppressed and denied the freedoms that are a right as a citizen of this country. Both have been bullied and threatened, treated inhumanely and killed. So when phrases come up like Gay Is The New Black it adds more tension to a very frustrating and painful situation. When I see articles like this speak ad nauseum about this subject without fully addressing the gravity of such a loaded phrase and why it is problematic frustrates me. I become so overwhelmed with emotion because I understand the strife and plight surrounding them both but it feels like they’re still at odds with each other, wanting me to pick a side.

Both have been ostracized and ridiculed for being who we are. Our lifestyles, music, clothes and hair. Our dances and songs. Our pain and our sorrow. We understand these words because we cultivated a way of coping and adapting our lives that is different from society. We began to dictate the way in which our story would be told. We became activists and leaders so the burdens we carry do not become the problems of future generations, We decided to live our lives unashamed and openly and love ourselves and each other no matter what. This is what the LGBT community and the African American community have in common. Yet at times each community seems to become so incensed with how we are being wronged we lose sight of the same thing happening to each other. Then phrases like Gay Is The New Black makes you pick a side.

Here’s the thing…gay can’t be the new black because black is not done being black yet. Racism and discrimination did not disappear when President Obama was elected into office. I know that is why African Americans become defensive with this particular phrasing that is commonly employed by the civil rights movement of our LGBT community. The loaded phrase implies that all the struggle and pain that has happened to the African American community is over when that is not the case. If stories like Trayvon Martin are any indication, then it is very apparent that racism is still a problem in this country. Racial Profiling still exists. We saw a presidential election last year that featured both supporters and even some of those politicians running as the most hate filled, derogatory and most embarrassingly racist campaign in this nation’s history.

Because you can always see color. Always. You will always know that I have African American ancestry no matter how affluent I appear to be or profession I choose to embark upon. It will always be the first thing that you see and process about me. My homosexuality, our sexuality as a community, is something that you can’t just see to be judged upon. It may be accompanied by voice, hairstyle, hair, clothes…all things that can be modified and/or changed and not always identified as gay. But you cannot do the same with race. It is always, always there. So you can attempt to mask it to an extent in order to protect yourself. Of course you are still gay and can still be discriminated against regardless of what you look like but with race it will always be about what you look like. And this is where the tension between the communities begins. Because of how differently we’re discriminated against by society, members of these two communities distance themselves further. We categorize and judge first by what we see. And the tension begins.

The question between the groups first addresses homophobia in the African American community. And yes there is homophobia in the African American community. And that goes for every other race/ethnicity as well. It’s rooted in the same devices as homophobia in other races and cultures; Fear. Fear that a religion that was forced upon us and twisted so that those in power can stay in power. Fear that the association with another group being discriminated against will encourage more discrimination against our own community. Fear that the pain of our ancestors and the silent acceptance that we are judged on our skin color will be forgotten and that history will repeat itself. It feels at times the LGBT community focus on the African American community more on this subject is because in our nation’s history we are the ones that have faced centuries of prejudice and enslavement. Because we were and still are judged on something we cannot change, skin color.

And there is racism in the LGBT community. When you hear phrases like “I’m gay I can’t be racist”. The insensitivity shown to African American culture that is caricatured by some as a source of entertainment has not gone unnoticed. When some still ask when a crime has been committed in this country and ask “if he’s black” then a stigma still exists. Whenever you’re telling a story about a friend and put black, Hispanic, Asian or any other race when it has nothing whatsoever to do with the story then there is still a barrier. There is a belief held in the LGBT by some that you cannot be racist if you’re gay. Like this status negates you from having prejudices. And the same fear of associating with another minority group for fear of reprisals exists in the LGBT community as well. These instances of prejudice add more tension to the discussion.

Although these issues that are at a societal level, they are transfixed upon these two communities that give the appearance that they are specifically the product of either community’s beliefs. In other words prejudices that are from society are overemphasized to either community. Racism in the LGBT community. Homophobia in the African American community. They exist but are given more weight because we feel we should outright have support from each community and anything other than that is a betrayal. And our oppressors just watch as the work is being done for them. When we are at odds with each other, they don’t have to work as hard to deny us equal rights. All the time we spend deciding who has it worse hurts both our causes.

Maybe I see it this way because being from both communities and it allows me to see what phrases affect how we relate to each other and our causes. I’ve talked about this dichotomy before, when you’re both an ethnic minority and a member of the LGBT community. Somehow there is this magnification of tension and frustration with each other even though we get enough of that from society.  We often want to give emphasis to a cause and relate it to the past but that is not always a cohesive comparison. Even the phrasing of Gay Is The New Black almost sounds as trivial as a change in fashionable attire rather than two groups that have been wronged and persecuted.

It’s irresponsible to approach this subject and make this comparison because it takes on this accusatory tone. In return it feels like the group you’re trying to relate to turns into a critiquing of their inability or unwillingness to help. It makes the receiving side feel they are somehow solely responsible for the other’s plight. The processes are not the same. Dealing with discrimination and oppression from each community is not the same. So when we talk about this issue, we need to talk about the emotion not so much the history when we try to relate the struggles of these two communities. Talk about the pain of what it feels like to be discriminated against and demonized for something we cannot change. We may be apples and oranges but are still as sweet as any fruit that needs sunlight in order to grow. Gay is gay. Black is Black. Both are different but equally beautiful.




The Right Reverend Dennis W. Wiley: “The Gay Rights Movement Is the Black Movement”

The Reverend Dr. Dennis W. Wiley, an African-American minister who has served for over twenty-five years as pastor of the Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, DC  is using his deep understanding of the civil rights to help bridge the divide between some african americans and the LGBT community when it comes to issue of “civil rights”

Working with the The Center for American Progress, Wiley’s is writing a new series called “Gays Are Us” and it makes the case that LGBT rights are not a white issue and that, in fact, the LGBT movement is inextricably linked to the Black community’s struggle for civil rights.

Wiley says it’s time for all African-Americans to accept that we do have dominion over the quest for civil rights, and that it’s time to embrace those who face our same struggles: “It would seem to me that those of us who have been the victims of oppression and discrimination would be the last ones to facilitate the oppression and discrimination of others.  As civil rights advocate Julian Bond once stated, ‘people of color ought to be flattered that our movement has provided so much inspiration for others.’”

Wiley states that the fact that there are still people out there trying to pervert the concept of civil rights and gay rights being championed by the church, saying that African-Americans shouldn’t embrace the LGBT movement and condemning those who do as sinners, is a shame. Black leaders who really did march with Dr. King is that gays and lesbians are deserving of Black support. Even Dr. King’s widow, Corretta, said as much.   “There were gays and lesbians marching for Black rights from the very beginnings of the civil rights movement. Decades ago they stood by African-Americans. Now it’s time for African-Americans to stand by them”.  As Wiley says, “LGBT equality is not a ‘white’ issue but an issue that affects each and every one of us. Or, to put it another way, ‘Gays are us.’”