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The Erasure of ‘Gay’ From Black History & the Black Community Must Stop

By: Sunday October 19, 2014 5:53 pm

It is in the black community where LGBT people of color run up against a massive brick wall.

As a gay African-American, I’ve heard the argument about how “you can’t compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American civil rights movement” more times than I care to count.

The constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind automatically tunes out the monotonous drones of how supposed sinful homosexuals are “high jacking” the civil rights movement or how gays “can’t compare their sin with black skin.”

As such, I almost missed the epiphany which occurred over two weeks ago.

I was vaguely scanning comments on a conservative site by an anonymous African-American female as she went on and on about how gays were never subjected to slavery, segregation or declared three fifths a person. While the logical side of my mind was gathering up the customary argument of how wrong it was for disadvantaged people of any stripe to play the “Oppression Olympics,” the emotional side of my mind struck immediately.

“This is the most ignorant crap I’ve ever heard,” I thought. “Just where in the hell does she think gay black people were during slavery and segregation? On a spaceship orbiting the Earth? ”

I was instantly struck by oddity of what I had thought. Not that my outrage wasn’t coming from a place of truth, mind you, but how the simple fact never entered my mind that yes, gay people were subjected to slavery, segregation and racism because of our skin. Just as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people of color exist now, we existed back then. Then it suddenly struck me again that I’ve never recalled any acknowledgement of this fact during the myriad of discussions, I’ve read, listened to or seen regarding comparisons between the gay and civil rights movements.

And why is that?

There have been numerous debates, articles, columns, movies and documentaries about how the legacy of racism has had a negative effect on so many aspects of African-American community, from our families to the way we interact with each other. It stands to reason that the legacy of racism didn’t leave LGBT people of color unscathed. But information about what LGBT people of color did during those awful times in our history or what effect it has had on us is practically nonexistent.

It is a subject hardly ever mentioned. No one talks about it in the black community and that includes leaders, intellectuals, journalists, authors or any other person with some type of platform.

And this leaves me feeling as if the events of black history, which are supposed to be a part of my heritage, are nothing more than hand-me-downs donated to me out of charity because there are very few, if any, events which are specific to me as an LGBT person of color.

Or at least that’s what I am led to believe by the black community at large.

It’s all part and parcel of being an LGBT person of color. Generally in both the LGBT and African-American communities, LGBT people of color tend to always find ourselves in the background while someone else is doing the talking and planning. Apparently we are only good enough as faces but without voices or opinions regarding strategies or leadership. And our issues are not considered important, but examples of “identity politics” gone too far.

It is slowly (and I mean very slowly) changing in the LGBT community, but it is in the black community where LGBT people of color run up against a massive brick wall. There is a pattern of erasure which strips our presence from the majority of black history. And this pattern of erasure bleeds into day-to-day treatment and interactions. Personal biases and prejudices prevent us from being considered as genuine members of the black community and many heterosexual African-Americans conveniently ignore issues and concerns indigenous to us as LGBT people.

When African-American civic organizations talk about “the state of Black America,” we are omitted. We are talked about as examples of how tolerant the black community is becoming rather than conversed with as African-Americans who just happen to be gay but with a genuine stake in the survival of the community. In the rare moment that we are able to interact with other members of the black community in discussions about our lives, we barely get a word in edgewise while they seem to always monopolize the conversation.

To some African-American heterosexuals, we are mere sidebars or addendums. We are objects they hurl Biblical scripture at to cover up their own religious shortcomings or soulless reservoirs of salacious gossip holding court in places like beauty parlors.

Supposedly righteous church ladies or upstanding church men smile in our faces but then hypocritically say rude things behind our backs because we seem “too butch” to be a “real woman” or “too swishy” to be a “real man.” And while they do this, they are totally oblivious to the fact that we are hip to their behavior but will disguise our hurt as a show of respect.

Being an LGBT person is not considered an identity by some in the black community, but rather a condition placed upon you by an unfortunate occurrence or mishap. And for the benefit of those who know what I am talking about, no one “turned me out.” I was born this way.

Some LGBT people of color condition ourselves to accept these roles and disrespect because we fear rejection and isolation. This behavior is often mistaken as a reason for the problem rather than a result.

The sad fact is that some in the black community at large simply refuse to see LGBT people of color in the same light as they would see each other. And the erasure of our voices and faces from black history is proof of this because it is an example of how they deny us our heritage and our place at the table on our own terms rather than the terms of their fearful and misguided perceptions.

And that simply has to change.

Anti-gay activists justify HRC’s ‘Export of Hate’ report

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 10:05 pm

Last week, the Human Rights Campaign published an explosive report, The Export of Hate, which pointed out how various anti-gay figures were peddling lies and propaganda to foreign countries in an attempt to spread anti-gay hate abroad.

The Export of Hate called out several religious right leaders, including Peter LaBarbera, Paul Cameron, and Scott Lively:

They spew venomous rhetoric, outrageous theories, and discredited science. Some claim that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Others argue that LGBT people are luring away children, and that acceptance of LGBT people will lead to the destruction of families around the world. Some even suggest that the death penalty could be an appropriate punishment for simply being LGBT.

HRC’s report also includes  short videos spotlighting each leader.

Now these individuals had every opportunity to refute the report. The following are various responses they gave:

Peter LaBarbera -   LaBarbera says he’s tempted to “laugh off HRC’s shenanigans,” but he understands some people with a violent bent might take action against him on account of the report. LaBarbera, Peter“Basically they’re trying to create an image of pro-family Christians as being the haters that they claim we are,” he says. “We don’t hate homosexuals. We don’t hate anybody,” the activist counters. “We simply want people to repent and turn away from homosexual behavior. But because we’re not haters they had to create hateful images to associate with us.”

Scott Lively – I believe they are now deliberately trying to incite murder against me and every other person on their enemies list . . .Because I am a Bible-believing Christian I am not afraid of death. But neither am I volunteering for martyrdom. As of today I am for the first time going to start taking precautions against the possibility of being assassinated by agents of the LGBT movement. For one thing, I will no longer publicize my travel schedule in advance.

Michael Brown -  I’m here to the put the HRC on notice: Your fear-mongering tactics will be exposed and, speaking for myself (but with confidence that my words apply to others), I will not bow down to your bullying tactics or your rap-sheet nonsense.

So all in all, these folks are claiming that HRC was lying about them, targeting them for violence, and attacking them simply for their Christian beliefs.

Well the following interview refutes those lies. It’s between anti-gay talking head and Colorado state legislature candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt, and another anti-gay figure who is spotlighted in HRC’s report, Paul Cameron.

Based on what you are about to see and hear, these two videos need no introduction.

However, there are two things you should keep in mind.

1. Cameron is a discredited researcher who is head the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group the Family Research Institute. Almost two decades ago, he was THE go-to man for anti-gay propaganda even though he was known to be a quack who pushed such theories as gay men stuffing gerbils up their rectums.

His work has been cited on more than one occasion by many anti-gay groups from the Family Research Council to the American Family Association. As his history of fraud became widely known, these groups distanced themselves from him without so much as an apology for using him as a source in the first place.

But not totally. Last year, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association conducted an interview with Cameron, allowing him to freely cite the lies which got him dismissed  and censured from the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association in the 80s.

2. According to HRC’s report, The Export of Hate (pgs 11-12)

Cameron has visited Russia and Eastern Europe repeatedly since 2008 to peddle his “research.” In June 2008, Cameron first appeared at a roundtable on “deviation of social norms in modern society” at Moscow State University.  In October of that year, he was in Moldova to lecture on the “demographic disaster” that he believes is being unleashed by contraception and rights for LGBT people and women. Cameron returned to Moldova in 2011 to lobby against anti-discrimination laws. The Moldovan government took Cameron’s message to heart and in 2013 passed a law banning LGBT “propaganda,” but it was quickly repealed as part of the nation’s drive to join the European Union. Cameron has also appeared elsewhere in Eastern Europe, including a controversial trip to Poland in 2009 when he was turned away from giving a speech on homosexuality at a university and forced to find a new venue after a newspaper learned of his background.

Cameron also returned to Russia in 2013, to address a Duma roundtable on “family values.”  Cameron’s presence was intended to bolster support for a bill that targeted gay and lesbian parents and threatened to take away their children. Cameron’s testimony was full of false statistics, including the “fact” that one in three gay people support having sex with children. Duma member Alexander Sidyakin later tweeted that Cameron’s testimony was evidence that children should be taken away from LGBT parents and adopted by other families.

Even in countries Cameron has not visited personally, his influence has been felt. The original authors of Uganda’s horrific anti-homosexuality law cited Cameron’s work alongside that of Scott Lively when drafting their bill. When the bill was passed into law in 2014, Cameron openly applauded and claimed that harsh penalties were needed to discourage homosexuality, just like murder.

Just more proof that any ideas that HRC’s report is an attempt to silence Christians  or subject them to violence is a lie.  Those who believe this tripe should be less fearful of HRC’s report and more fearful that they think Cameron is the type of person who encompasses a true Christian.

Deathstyle

 

Writer’s note – Cameron’s “statistics” were widely cited to create illustrations for the 1985 comic book, Deathstyle. I used these illustrations in my booklet, How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America. The purpose of How They See Us was to demonstrate the roots of anti-gay propaganda and how it doesn’t change over the years.

Family Research Council learns lesson about pride on eve of Values Voter Summit

By: Thursday September 25, 2014 5:37 pm

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

Wednesday morning, several progressive groups including the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and People for the American Way published an open letter in the Washington Post and The Hill calling out the Republican Party for its allegiance to anti-gay groups such as the Family Research Council and for the decision of several Republicans to attend that organization’s upcoming Values Voter Summit.

Later that night, in a show of unbelievable stupidity, the Family Research Council took the bait by answering the letter via email with a bit of bravado and a lot of lies:

What annual event has the Left so worried that they are spending tens of thousands in advertising dollars to stop? You guessed it; the Values Voters Summit. In today’s Washington Post, leftwing groups including GLAAD, (known for its failed campaign to fire Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson,) the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center, and the George Soros-funded “Faithful America,” signed onto a three-quarters page ad demanding that speakers “not attend the Values Voter Summit.”

The lies came about when FRC attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center, which it has a special dislike of ever since SPLC declared it an anti-gay hate group in 2010:

Last year, the FBI dumped the SPLC as a website resource and the U.S. Army distanced themselves from the SPLC. A federal court ruled against the SPLC in a harassment lawsuit it brought against a pro-family group. Even the SPLC’s own supporters are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the SPLC’s attacks on free speech. It is odd that some people feel the need to attack those who are merely defending religious liberty and affirming the importance of the type o f relationship which naturally provides children with a mother and a father. There will continue to be disagreement on how marriage should be defined, but reasonable people can approach this subject respectfully, thoughtfully and passionately. If you are in the D.C. area this weekend, please join us at the Values Voter Summit as we exercise our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.

Don’t be fooled by FRC’s various claims.

Allow me to break it down.

1. Did the FBI dump SPLC as a resource?

HRC’s “Export of Hate” report is stunning, truthful expose of international homophobia

By: Monday September 22, 2014 7:53 am

I have never engaged in the negative banter about the Human Rights Campaign whether it was deserved or not because I’ve always felt such things are self-defeating. But that’s not to say that when the organization creates a direct hit against the religious right, you won’t find me singing from the rooftops and dancing in [...]

Marriage equality opponents won’t get momentum with Louisiana victory

By: Wednesday September 3, 2014 9:12 pm

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state’s anti-marriage equality law, thereby breaking the lgbt community’s streak of successes in the courts when it comes to marriage equality cases after the SCOTUS’s Windor ruling. However, other than having to deal with the gloating and overreaction of anti-gay groups and spokespeople, I don’t necessarily see this [...]

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has cozy relationship with anti-gay Family Research Council

By: Thursday August 7, 2014 6:01 pm

In spite of the Family Research Council being declared an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its long history of attacking the lgbt community via lies, bad science, and unsubstantiated charges, according to Equality Matters, (FRC president) “Tony Perkins has appeared on Megyn Kelly’s shows more than all other Fox [...]

Proposed bill could allow adoption agencies to discriminate against gays while taking taxpayer money

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 11:31 pm

This newest tripe, I mean action alert by the Family Research Council has gotten me a bit angry. The organization is pushing a bill which could allow adoption agencies and foster care providers to engage in anti-gay discrimination under the guise of religious freedom (see the bill here): In California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. religious [...]

Don’t fall for Sen. Rubio’s fake cry for ‘tolerance’ in marriage equality debate

By: Wednesday July 23, 2014 6:32 pm

One of the most transparent tactics opponents of marriage equality will attempt is to claim that supporters of marriage equality are intolerant of their opinion. It’s not only a transparent tactic but highly cynical. And apparently it’s the tactic that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is attempting: While Rubio has consistently held conservative positions on [...]

Anti-gay bigot Matt Barber goes too far, gets put in his place

By: Tuesday July 22, 2014 5:48 pm

No one has ever claimed that the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber has ever observed simple rules of good taste and decorum in his attacks on lgbt equality. However, it is extremely safe to say that the image below, accompanying his post on The Coming Christian Revolt goes way beyond anything – a rainbow flag superimposed [...]

Booklet on anti-gay propaganda tells story religious right wants you to forget

By: Sunday July 6, 2014 9:51 pm

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend comes to an end, I thought I would talk about something near and dear to my heart. For over a year, I have driven you all crazy and I appreciate your patience and support but now we are almost at the end of one part of a journey. [...]

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