Tag Archives: homophobia

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

LGBT pride does not mean being proud of having been born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans.

It means being proud of having survived.

It means being proud of living in a homophobic, biphobic, transphobic society — a society that commonly treats us with contempt at best and violent hatred at worst — and still getting on with our lives. It means being proud of flourishing, in a society that commonly thinks we’re broken. It means being proud of being happy, in a society that commonly thinks we should be miserable. It means being proud of being good and compassionate, in a society that commonly thinks we’re wicked. It means being proud of fighting for our rights and the rights of others like us, in a society that commonly thinks we should lie down and let ourselves get walked on — or that thinks we should be grateful for crumbs and not ask for more. It means being proud of retaining our dignity, in a society that commonly treats us as laughing-stocks. It means being proud of loving our sexuality and our bodies, in a society that commonly thinks our sexuality and our bodies are disgusting. It means being proud of staying alive, in a society that commonly beats us down and wants us dead.

It is not easy to do any of this. Despite the many advances LGBT people have made over the decades, we still live in a society that commonly thinks we should be ashamed simply for existing. It is incredibly difficult to listen to people denigrate us, taunt us, humiliate us, bully us, shame us, from the earliest days of our childhood until the day we die — and still flourish, still be happy, still be compassionate, still fight for our rights, still retain our dignity, still love our bodies and our sexualities and our selves, still survive.

It is not easy to do any of this. It takes work.

When LGBT people talk about LGBT pride, when we attend LGBT Pride celebrations, when we say we’re proud to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or trans, this is what we’re talking about. It is a hugely important aspect of LGBT history and culture. And when people mock it and denigrate it in public, many of us take it rather personally. Experience has taught us that when people treat the concept of LGBT pride with hostility and contempt, they tend to treat us — our history, our culture, our struggles for equality and rights — with hostility and contempt.

Peter Boghossian, and What Gay Pride Actually Means

(via QueerIntersectional)

People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse.

–Teju Cole

(via spinsterette)

…the Black male consciousness must be raised to the realization that sexism and woman-hating are critically dysfunctional to his liberation as a Black man because they arise out of the same constellation that engenders racism and homophobia. Until that consciousness is developed, Black men will view sexism and the destruction of Black women as tangential to Black liberation rather than as central to that struggle.

–Audre Lorde, “Sexism: An American Disease in Blackface,” Sister Outsider, p. 64

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

Black bourgeois female intellectuals practice homophobia by omission more often than rabid homophobia…

Michelle Wallace’s Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman is a most obvious example. This brave and scathing analysis of the sexual politics of the black political community after 1965 fails to treat the issues of gay liberation, black lesbianism, or homophobia vis-a-vis the black liberation or the women’s liberation movement… In 1979, when asked at a public lecture at Rutgers University in New Jersey why the book had not addressed the issues of homosexuality and homophobia, the author responded that she was not an ‘expert’ on either issue. But Wallace, by her own admission, was also not an ‘expert’ on the issues she did address in her book….

Hooks does not even mention the word lesbian in her book [Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism]. This is unbearable. Ain’t lesbians women, too? …

Like her black male counterpart, the black woman intellectual is afraid to relinquish heterosexual privilege. So little else is guaranteed black people.

–Cheryl Clarke, The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community, Home Girls: A Feminist Anthology by Barbara Smith, 205 

(via spinsterette)

Of course, this is one of the profound ways in which oppression works—to mire us in body hatred. Homophobia is all about defining queer bodies as wrong, perverse, immoral. Transphobia, about defining trans bodies as unnatural, monstrous, or the product of delusion. Ableism, about defining disabled bodies as broken and tragic. Class warfare, about defining the bodies of workers as expendable. Racism, about defining the bodies of people of color as primitive, exotic, or worthless. Sexism, about defining female bodies as pliable objects. These messages sink beneath our skin.

–Eli Clare, “Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies”

(via CSPH)

But the bigger trauma is Macklemore’s continual conflation of homophobia with Hip Hop and ultimately Blackness and Black people. Consider the beginning of the second verse of “Same Love”: If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me/ have you read the YouTube comments lately?”

Hip-hop has been queer for years before Macklemore was even born. The first rap song came out of the disco tradition, rappers like Cee-Lo Green and Andre 3000 have been doing drag for years, Common came out against writing homophobic lyrics, not to mention the countless rappers and artists who have supported Frank Ocean. While homophobic lyrics are pervasive in Hip Hop, they have never been more homophobic or heteronormative than any rock or pop song. Secondly, if 87 percent of YouTube users are White and 54 percent male, it’s guys who look like you and listen to rap like you do, who perpetuate that narrative of hateful Hip Hop? He goes on to speak about how “we” are complacent to homophobia: “We become so numb to what we’re saying/ A culture founded from oppression/ yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em.”

The most accurate statement in this stanza is that Hip Hop is a culture founded on oppression, but whose? Not Macklemore — Hip Hop was not grown, marketed and exploited on the backs of handsome, straight, white men.

Jay DoddWhy I Will Never Want the ‘Same Love

(via Polycule)

When I’m asked which is harder, being black or being gay, I’m always amused at how shocked people are when I tell them that it’s much harder being black than being gay ( the next QPOCs mileage may vary).

As much hell as I get—and trust me I do get hell—for being gay, I do have certain advantages. I can pass for straight, so as long as I don’t bring any attention to myself, I don’t have to worry about getting my skull cracked in. The other advantage I have, when I call out homophobia, people actually listen. Even the most hardcore conservative will acknowledge the existence of homophobia.

Yet let me call out racism and I have legions upon legions of whites, liberal and conservative, jumping at the chance to gaslight me and question my sanity/honesty/intelligence/emotional maturity.

Because in this society calling out racism is far more egregious than the actual racism.

Or as Malcolm X said, they don’t even acknowledge the knife is there.

The sad reality is that any LGBTQ equality that does happen will be in spite of the mainstream (read white) LGBTQ “community.” The unsung heroes and heroines will primarily be queer POCs and trans people as Stonewall illustrated. Because we don’t have cis and/or white privilege, we don’t have the option to fuck around.

Dennis Upkins, The Myth of Black Homophobia: Why I’m Not Feeling Macklemore and White Saviors are Anything But

(via queering the game of life)

The main problem I have with Men’s Rights Activists is that their name really doesn’t do them justice. They’re Straight Cis White Men’s Rights Activists. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign for the inclusion of trans* men in their spaces.

I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign to end the social stigma around black fatherhood. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign for better pay and equal career mobility for men of colour. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists actively campaign for more gay men’s rights. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists advise others in their group on how using faggot to emasculate men who aren’t part of their cause is alienating and marginalising other MEN.

I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign, raise awareness of, or support victims of male rape unless it’s in order to derail a discussion around female victims of rape. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign, raise awareness of, or support male victims of domestic abuse unless it’s in order to derail a discussion around female victims of domestic abuse.Men’s Rights Activists are hypocrites and frauds.

They’re bitter privileged white men who don’t want to campaign for the rights of men – they want to campaign to keep their privilege unchecked and their ability to discriminate against others.If you want to be a real Men’s Rights Activist – be a fucking Feminist. Peace out.

iflewbikes

(via spinsterette)

The fundamental premise of any progressive Black gender ideology is that it cannot be based on someone elseʼs subordination. This means that definitions of Black masculinity that rely on the subordination of Black women, poor people, children, LGBT people, or anyone else become invalid. Definitions of Black femininity that do not challenge relations of sexism, economic exploitation, age, heterosexism, and other markers of social inequality also become suspect. Rather than trying to be strong within existing gender ideology, the task lies in rejecting a gender ideology that measures masculinity and femininity using gendered definitions of strength.

–Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics

(via Gradient Lair)