Gay is NOT the "New Black"

Although the hubbub has died down around the catchphrase that so-called GLBTQ activists coined, “Gay is the new Black”, I feel like now I can coherently address the issues around it from my perspective as a queer-identified person of colour. 

The problem with this phrase, other than the obvious denigration of the Black experience, centres on choice. No, not the choice that the rabid Christian right is always squawking about…I am not talking about the choice to be GLBTQ, because as any educated person would know…it’s biological. I am talking about the choice to come out and identify oneself in the public sphere as GLBTQ.  This is key.

People of colour do not choose to identify as people of colour, we don’t “come out of the closet” so to speak about being Black, Latino, Asian etc. It is easily identifiable by our skin, our hair or our speech patterns among other things. It is written upon us for all to see. This is the difference between being a person of colour and being GLBTQ. Arguably you cannot “see” GLBTQ.

Identity politics aside, being identified as person of colour is not a choice. (White) GLBTQ people have a choice and the privilege to come out and be identified as GLBTQ. Those of us who are not White, and regardless of our sexuality, do not have that privilege. Therein lies the difference and should point out the issue in claiming that “gay is the new Black.” Black is still Black and the last time I checked, the civil rights struggle for racial equality was far from over.

1 comentario:

  1. Your post made me think of this one which I recently read:


    Like dedgurl, I don't think sexual orientation is biological. I think queer folks have been put in the position by the powers that be (that be white, that be male, that be het, that be Christian, that be "Western", that be English-speaking) to ultra-conservatively argue that we are the way we are because of biology. I feel some of us argue this point as a way to legitimise ourselves--we are who we are "naturally", therefore we should not be discriminated against. This argument, imo, assumes something VERY dangerous: that heterosexuality is natural. (I don't think it is and there's plenty of evidence it is not.)

    I don't see this as a sustainable, self-loving political viewpoint or strategy. To my way of thinking and that of many other radicals I know, race, like sexuality, is a profoundly social (political) experience and is not biological. The whole "science of sexuality" is steeped in a kind of eugenics-promoting idea that social characteristics are loaded up in our DNA.

    I believe in full civil rights across race, sexuality, and ethnicity (while the whole of Western white Civilisation is dismantled or destroys itself). Such rights do not rest on whether or not I was born gay. They rest on the fact that being lesbian, gay, bi, queer, and so on is a human and honorable experience, while also being culture- and era-specific. These experiences ought not deny het men their own rights of personal and social expression unless het men's behavior violates others and oppresses others, which often enough is the case. Honestly, I do wish white het men would dial it down a few degrees. Why do they have to flaunt it so flamboyantly all the damn time? (And then "let" gay and bi men have sex with them on the down-low?)

    Only ignorant whites could come up with something so supremely ridiculous as "Gay is the New Black". Thanks for sharing your voice and your passion.