We’ve reached the point in which Black gay people can now complain about Black gay folks dating Whites as opposed to their own just like their heterosexual brethren. In some ways, that does suggest some nominal level of progress. In others, it just makes me want to turn up Mariah Carey’s new album to tune all of y’all the hell out.
In an essay for the Washington Blade entitled “Why do Black gay celebs have white partners?” Orville Lloyd Douglas, tells us why he’s mad, son, over so many of the LGBT public figures of color having melanin-challenged partners. Douglas writes, “There is a paucity of Black gay public figures who are out and since images are important in society, the few Black gay celebrities are sending the wrong message.”
This includes Michael Sam, who Douglas says “he felt disappointed” after the sight of Sam kissing his “White twink Boyfriend Vito Cammisano” upon word that he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Douglas goes on to question whether or not Michael Sam would be “celebrated as a hero to the LGBT community if he had a Black boyfriend?”
Well, that depends on what one defines as the LGBT community. As I’ve mentioned here and across the Internet as much as humanly possible, in 2012 Gallup confirmed that as far as America goes, LGBT identity is highest among those who are younger, not White and lower income earners. A year prior, the New York Times highlighted that gay couples of color are twice as likely to be raising children than whites – mostly in the South, FYI.
Yes, Black people identify as gay more than whites, so to answer Orville Douglas’ question, I believe Michael Sam would so long as we wouldn’t be basing our assessment of the LGBT community solely though the lens of the white, upper-income earning men who continue to be the face of our collective group.
I do get the crux of Douglas’ complaint. Images do matter, though I think Douglas’ complaint about the lack of representation of gay Black couples has a lot to do with the lens in which he chooses to view it. For starters, since its immediate relaunch, EBONY.com has worked to give Black members of the LGBT community a voice – including issues related to love and sex.
Also, one of my favorite Tumblrs, fckyeahblackgaycouples, is dedicated to showing nothing but the very displays of love Douglas is looking for. Earlier this year, Kordan, Kaleb, and their blended family became an Internet sensation after the world discovered them and all that adorableness surrounding them.
And for the life of me, I never understood why R&B Divas Atlanta didn’t get more credit for them showing a healthy, loving Black lesbian couple in Monifah, and her partner, Terez. Okay, “Touch It” was a long time ago, but handclap for a Black network showing Black love of a sort most aren’t used to all the same.
Speaking of that, for someone who complains about Black gay public figures following “the white gay standard,” Douglas subjects his readers to a bunch of stereotypes about Black gays that he was clearly spoon-fed from the other side of the rainbow.
Douglas describes Sam’s mama as a “stereotypical pious Black woman” as he theorizes that “due to the homophobia in Black culture, some Black gay people just want to be accepted and I can understand that. Some Black gays believe to assimilate into the white gay mainstream they can obtain social acceptance.”
Raise your hand if you think the key to social acceptance for any person of color is to run to a white person? If your hand is up, do the following steps: Slap yourself silly. Rinse and repeat.
That leads me to the biggest gag of this entire diatribe: Orville Douglas is the same person who wrote a piece called "Why I hate being a Black man" and also once argued that we "need to get over slavery movies."
He doesn’t seem to like himself or his own people all that much, so it’s surprising to see him suddenly write a call to arms in this fashion. You can’t see me, but I’m over here sitting at my desk chuckling like Miss Sophia at Mister’s table.
Listen, there may be something to Douglas’ theories about the likes of Don Lemon, who has flipped the shtick of making Black people his punching bag for CNN viewers his recipe for greater successes. Yet, we don’t know if that is indeed his thought process and we know even less about what prompted the others Douglas is mad at due to their dating choices.
What I can say, however, is that there are representation of Black gay couples out there, only maybe not as high profile as Robin Roberts – not yet anyway. The more people come out, the wider representation we’ll get. Whatever the case, it’s my hope that gay Black folks don’t see a couple of interracial couples and just assume that’s what most of us are doing. It’s akin to that stereotype about all of the Black athletes going with white girls. Sure, some do, but sometimes we have to know not to always believe what we see and to not only look in one direction to see your reflection.
That’s something Black and gays ought to know, especially if you fit the bill for both.