I discovered my sexuality,
Discovered that woman were what I wanted
I looked to society and was daunted,
By the lack of me.
All I saw was women of lighter complexion
What would these women see in me?
Who would give this black girl affection?
I am by no means a poet and as poems go I’m not sure if this is a good one. It’s a couple of words that defined a big problem for me when I came out. Though it’s changing, all my images of being queer were white people. SO I thought that most gay people were white (I was 16 and stupid). I was extremely worried that white women wouldn’t find me attractive and that in turn led to some internalized racism that I’m not proud of. I didn’t like my dark skin or my “ethnic” hair.
What does this have to do with queer conceptions of race? I think we’ve all heard that being gay was or is considered a white thing by different cultures. What we don’t hear about is the girl who thinks she’ll be alone because white girls aren’t attracted to her.
I realize that there are plenty of interracial relationships, but this was my truth at 16.
- Recently, the black, openly gay editor at large of Vogue was named the next judge of Tyra Banks’ “America’s Text Top Model.”
Andre Leon Talley, right hand man to Anna Wintour and a personal hero of mine, is a fashion god: one must wonder how sitting in the offices of Vogue magazine, Talley decided to join Tyra’s weekly circus of a show. Is the affection and acknowledgement of a TV audience powerful enough to make such a mogul into a black/gay token character? After all, Talley’s promo video stars black/gay slang, preacher-like robes, and hearty laughs. Or perhaps, Talley feels it is not harmful to his image or career: a friend of mine who has worked with Mr. Leon Talley says he has a good sense of humor despite being so powerful in the industry, a characteristic which will serve him well in such a ridiculous broadcast program.
- Recently, a black, openly gay deputy director at NIH was named to be the next president of Grinnell College.
Raynard Kington was unanimously elected to the position because of his place at the intersection of higher education, public policy, science, and medicine, however, his place at the intersection of race, sexuality, and class interests me more than his exquisite job qualifications. The notice sent out to NIH employees, divulged none of his biographical information, and the majority of news coverage keeps his sexuality a footnote. Of Grinnell’s three core values, one is the advancement of a socially diverse community, and another is the pursuit of social justice; also discussed in much of the coverage is the college’s progressive nature. I cannot be more pleased for Kington’s achievement, and I cannot be more entertained at the widespread attempt to divorce his personal identity from his qualifications. It may be worth mentioning that this man has more to him than a killer resume instead of imagining his location on the political spectrum is merely an oddity.
- Recently, a black, gay porn star (one of very few) at Raging Stallion was named Best Cumshot, and given the Savage Humor Award for his blog.
Diesel Washington has dominated his field of black gay porn stars since he busted all over the scene. He is awarded every year with something or another, and generally it is owing to his size and ethnicity. The porn world makes no bones about the masculine appeal of a strapping black man, and many delight in the racial aspect of his body of work, however, recently he has been getting attention for his blog. Perhaps someone has realized the importance of such a viewpoint, one that is colored by race, and twisted by a sexual minority’s wild sexual fantasies.
As a side note, Diesel attended awards ceremonies for Xbiz, Cybersockett, and Hard Choice with his diminutive, white date Andy Kay. His critique of the situation was focused on the general response to his pairing with Andy Kay at the event more than anything else.
The one-two punch of blackness and gayness has always played a political role in the spheres or academia and entertainment; my news choices attempt to draw together a few “achieving” black gay men to investigate. In two cases, I believe that the identities of these men play a large role in their accomplishments, accomplishments which put them at the top of professions which have “othered” them in more ways than one. Andre proves the accessibility of advanced fashion journalism (or reality television) to the minority communities to which he identifies. Raynard in turn shows the same in fields of education and medicine. In the case of Diesel, his appearance and sexuality have in fact made his career, opposing the legions of a waxed, white, male “twinks.” Yes, I believe being black and gay are deal makers in a wannabe-post-racial/post-…gaytial (?) sect of society, and solid buffers to mistakes and mishaps, but no, I don’t think these men are anything less than wonderful.
Also: I began to realize in compiling queer/race news, that I do not directly access racial topics, but rather reach them through queer news and other queer means.
Afterellen.com is a website about LBT woman in the media. Usually this pertains to television media or movies, but it also applies to the written word. Afterellen provides the reader access to news that you could hear on E! or MTV such as a movie with a lesbian sex scene or a famous person coming out.
On the other hand it also highlights news that is not mainstream such as the a book review on a lesbian love story or an interview of an underground queer hip-hop artist. Afterellen celebrates woman from different backgrounds
The link below is too an article that is celebrating black lesbians in America. These people aren’t noted by mainstream but are highly visible in the LBT women community.
Just for fun I’ve added a link to a Vlog about race on Afterellen. Read the comments
This article is posted on the Washington post website. What interested me in this article is not that law, which is hugely unjust, but America’s involvement. “In a time of constant calamity and crisis fatigue, proposed legislation in Uganda to execute gays passes through the American consciousness with the impact of a weather report.” In a country that will talk about a cheating golfer for weeks, there is no mention, no awareness of this corrupt situation.
My final article on EW.com (Entertainment Weekly). It’s purpose is to re-cap the show Rupaul’s Drag Race (RDR). RDR is competition between Drag queen from different parts of the U.S. to become the next Drag super star. The show if filled with bitch fights and Drag slang (which I wholly support). The article, like the show, is very light-hearted and campy.
What I appreciated about the show and the article is the diversity and the drag history they like to slip in every now and then, using words I had not heard outside of Paris is Burning
I selected these particular news items simply because they interests me. I could have chosen 3 very serious articles about the struggle and strife that the queer minority goes through, but that’s not all there is to the queer experience. For me it was equally important to highlight serious world issues and light hearted entertainment.
Everyone one has a story and there is such diversity in the queer experience. These articles exemplify race-queer living now. They focus on issues of today’s world; a lesbian filmmaker trying to make it, how to be an out lesbian actress, the current criminalization of queer people (gay people) in Uganda, and Drag queens.
In the simplest sense discourse is conversation, or information; the exchanging of ideas. It is through discourse (through knowledge) that we are created. Discourse gains power and validity from the casual acceptance or apathy of the public at large of the “reality” with which we are presented. The public at large has deemed these issues unimportant and has brushed them aside. The article and my speaking of these articles are a counter-discourse to the mainstream.