LGBTs, African-Americans Vie For Top Spot in Oppression Olympics

When comparing the LGBT rights movement to the African-American struggle for civil rights, it’s important to figure out which group has suffered more. At least that’s the feeling you get when reading Tara Pringle Jefferson’s article on, “Do African-Americans Sympathize with the Gay Rights Movement?”

Jefferson begins by noting that four of the seven celebrities featured in the Human Rights Campaign’s marriage equality videos are African-American—something she says “might not make much logical sense” considering that recent Pew Research polls place blacks’ acceptance of LGBT couples at 49%, well below the 58% of all Americans overall.

Jefferson asks Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, and Preston Mitchum, a student at American University’s Washington College of Law, why some blacks get offended when LGBTs compare their fight for equality with the Civil Rights Movement.

“Do we (the LGBT community) get hosed down and dogs sicced on us? No,” Lettman-Hicks said. “But we’re comparing how our community is treated, from a so-called civil society—the overt discrimination and bigotry. No one should be able to understand that better than black people in this country, and that is the root of the comparison. But you can’t compare the plight of the movement, the centuries of oppression that black people in this country had to face.”…

“If you look at race, you’re born that way and people know ‘what you are’ immediately,” Mitchum said. “With sexual orientation, somehow people say you choose to be that way. It almost implies that if you’re discriminated against, then it’s your fault. As a gay man, I know I didn’t choose to be gay. For someone to say otherwise, it’s really offensive… My role is dual, because it comes from being gay and black. I can see both sides of the story, and people need to recognize that the struggles are different. It almost trivializes black civil rights in a way.”

In response, activist John Aravosis pointed out that even Martin Luther King Jr’s widow Coretta Scott King compared the fight against racism with the fight against homophobia. Aravosis  adds that he’s “tired of gay people who feel the need to apologize for ‘daring’ to compare the gay civil rights battle to the Civil Rights Movement”:

Usually there are two reasons given why gay civil rights violations aren’t nearly as bad as what African-Americans suffered, and thus gays aren’t really part of the long history of the Civil Rights Movement in this country.

1) African-Americans were oppressed for hundreds of years.

2) Lynchings.

Well, here are two responses.

1) And gays (and transgendered people) had it great the past couple of thousand of years?

2) Yes, lynchings were horrible. And the Holocaust wasn’t exactly a cake walk for gays either.

He then goes off on a tangent by pointing out that Jews have long been oppressed too and ultimately asks, “Maybe the question isn’t why we dare compare the two civil rights movements, rather, maybe the question is why some dare not.”

Here’s the thing: though the gays, blacks and Jews all have their own tortured histories, they overlap somewhat with regards to the methods employed by the oppressors and those fighting for liberation. So instead of stating the obvious, it’s more productive to find what each movement can teach us about fighting inequality, no matter the group.

Image via Monica Roberts

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  • ToyotaBedZRock

    I’d like to remind them that they where not targeted for extermination, as LGBT people still are in some areas of the world. They have been enslaved, but the law never said they must be exterminated. It is also damaging to be forced to hide who you are.

    They do suffer a type of discrimination that fewer LGBT and Jewish people suffer. The discrimination against them starts at a distance before they have the opportunity to introduce themselves.

  • Adam

    I can’t say I see the need to argue who has suffered the most or been oppressed the most. I think it’s worth discussing how these various oppressions are related, to what extent they are one oppression, who oppression looks when it one articulation intersects with others, etc…

    And I don’t know why it is necessary to try to compare the “plight” of one group of individuals to the “plight” of another. What we can say, of course, is that african americans have fought and are fighting for civil rights and so has and are the LGBT community. African Americans have been denied basic human rights and access to equal services because of a perceived difference and so is the LGBT community. Who has it the worst, however, is not relevant.

  • Interesting

    This site loves manipulation.

  • Lance

    The fact that some people consider it a “choice” or “lifestyle” is precisely one of the main issues – it is not treated as something important and is heavily trivialized by bigots.

  • Jake C

    I agree, comparing who had it worse is really a pointless exercise for those who base their identity on their own people’s history of oppression… narcissism in action. What IS important is there are enough overlaps that I can say with certainty, if your black and anti-gay, your a hypocrite or just an uneducated religious dolt AND a hypocrite.

  • Libertarian Larry

    Mr. Villarreal, I often don’t agree with you, but that final paragraph was beautifully stated. Thank you for that.

  • tj

    As I’ve been saying forever it is naive to think that we will someday be able to rid the world of homophobia without tackling racism and misogyny. The root of all three is the same dominant theoried marginalizing, sure it plays itself out differently but it is the same cultural presence. You can’t get rid of oppression selectively, you’ve got to advocate for a complete paradigm shift in citizenship, society, and humanity. We waste time and energy playing this “who has it worse game” we won’t get anywhere without building coalitions. I’d also point out that these are not mutually exclusive movements. You can’t have a civil rights movement without Baryard Rustin a black communist who mentored Martin Luther King happened to be openly gay. And its hard to see an America where Stonewall happens without the environment/cultural moment created by the civil rights movement (not to mention the many African American drag queens who participated). I wish we had empowering coalition building discussions as often as we compare tragedies.

  • Interesting

    @tj: Especially because the oppression grows out of the need for power relationships over each other. This is why the Oppression Olympics misses the point. if one fails to realize that the point is power over another, then one misses out own how those dynamics can re-appear taking on new forms of bigotry against a group. Racism has morphed over time. The same with happen with homophobia. The problem is that because people don’t understand the root cause, they don’t realize the transformation. They are busy looking in the last ways that racism existed to see what it might look like. They get caught up in the factual circumstances of the moment rather than what drives those facts to exist in the first place. In other words, racism was no more about simply looking at slavery, or Jim Crow, than it is at the present crisis involving banks selling bad home loans to Blacks due to race, its about the underlying power to do so. It doesn’t mean one event can not be seen as horrible, or more horrible than another, but it misses the point. The underlying bigotry must be addressed, and the power imbalance or you will simply be trading how the bigotry occurs rather than ending it. That’s true for homophobia too. The similarities of that power situation can only be understood by looking at multiple examples. Not for the purpose of pitting one group against another (which is the point of the Oppression Olympics- to pit blacks against gays, trans against gays, gays against Latinos, or whatever against whatever- so that the power imbalance can remain). But for the purpose of figuring out how- while different- there are the same sorts of power to control others that is taking place in all cases sites based on immutable characteristics.

  • Kev C

    Of course blacks don’t sympathize with gays because blacks have been some of the worst oppressors of gays. Black gay men are burned alive in the streets of Africa and the Caribbean. Non-black gays are also murdered in black countries and black neighborhoods. I don’t really want sympathy from my oppressors.

  • Interesting

    @Kev C: <The problem with articles like this is that it always brings out the racists into the mix. I hope no one engages this person.

  • Kev C

    @Interesting: Interesting is a racist and homophobe. We all know this already.

  • redball

    @Kev C: You look like an ass, boo.

    @Interesting: Thank you.

  • Interesting

    @Kev C: < To anyone curious. Go and compare what I have said on the issue along this thread, and what Kev C choose to contribute to see how the mind of a bigot works versus someone like me.

  • tj

    We could probably talk about the ways polling African Americans is an inexact science but that’s for another post. I wish there were more posts highlighting the fact that African American political figures have been the fiercest advocates for LGBT rights since the early 80’s, or the ways gay men and women have rebuilt african American neighborhoods that were all but abandoned by local government. Or perhaps most importantly the coalitions being built around HIV AIDS patient advocacy.. A little positivity couldn’t hurt every once in a while.

  • timncguy

    What went on in the 50s / 60s was not “THE” civil rights movement. It was “A” civil rights movement. Civil rights is a generic term. It is not specific to the fight for racial equality. It applies just as much to the fight for women’s rights and also the fight for LGBT rights. Any struggle for human rights is a “civil rights” struggle. The term was not coined and copyrighted for the fight for racial equality.

  • tj

    THE civil rights movement is coined as such because it brought about THE civil Rights act of 1964.

  • Hephaestion

    Are blacks being stoned to death and hung for being black today? No, but gays are in the Middle East. Gays in parts of Africa & Asia are hopelessly oppressed. Gays in the US are killed in the most brutal manners possible… any FBI agent will tell you that. And a key difference between black oppression and gay oppression is that black children who are tormented at school can go to their parents and churches for support. Gay children can not. I do not intend to indicate that blacks have not gone thru hell. They have. But to infer that gays have not gone thru hell is absurd in the extreme.

  • Kev C

    Interesting is a stalker. He stalks white gays around and attacks and insults them. It’s really annoying dude. And then he writes long boring screeds against white gays. Everyone should be warned about the self-loathing gay, racist sickness that is “Interesting”.

  • Tackle

    @Interesting: Acatually it’s Daniel Villarreal who loves to manipulate stories like this. To draw Queerty readers into a racial frenzy against Blacks. I have never seen a
    Mexican American who is so obsessed with the going on’s of Black people. This is Daniel’s 70+ story about Blacks since he’s taken over at Queerty. It’s obvious he has a deep seated resentment of Blacks. From his headlines,in using the term Jungle Fever.
    To almost everytime he writes a story about AIDS, using pictures of Blacks. To this snarky line above, “Oppression Olympics.”

    So one Black women(Tara) wrote an artice talking about which group suffered more. And A few more Black people responded to her artical. All togather four. So let me get this right. These four Blacks make up the entire Black community??
    And the so-called poll that was taken: where 49% of Blacks compared to 59% of Americans overall accepted gay couples. You can make polls say anything you want them to say. Since this poll was sited, How many Blacks were polled for this study? And when you say all Americans, were Blacks also counted along with Whites, Asians and Hispanics to get the 59% ?? I guess we will never know. One thing that I do know is that Daniel Villarreal is no friend of Blacks. And I sure in the hell don’t need him.

  • timncguy

    @tj: The fact that there was a piece of legislation called “The Civil Rights Act” does not mean that the term “civil rights” has been retired from its generic definition and usage regarding any struggle for human rights.

  • Interesting

    @Tackle: well i said that in my first comment that this article is manipulative so I agree.

    @timncguy: Yes, in fact, even in the black civil rights movement, there was several historic movements rather than one. But, more importantly , many of the attributes if the 60s movement borrowed heavily from other movements before it such as Gandhi of India with MLK or Islam with Malcolm X. The idea that even the Black Civil Rights Movement is unique is b.s. The value of the movement is what insight it gives us about history and how these things play out if one fights for it. That its a continuing battle even under the best circumstances.

  • Interesting

    @Tackle: Also, what is interesting is despite the claims of universal homophobia despite even the polling numbers cited (which show a 60/40 split at worst when averaged) not only are black pols (like in NY state consistently a heavy part of passaging gay rights bills, but if you ask them about non marriage issues (e.g. ENDA and DADT) they are often more likely than whites to favor gay rights (this is something backed up by data that is never cited. The focus is universally on marriage equality and the issue that raises with religious conflation that often happens with the general public), there is even more evidence that this homophobia can not be as universal as claimed.

    (a) DC and other areas voting on gay rights efforts with majority black populations, and yet, in actual voting, versus polling, the issues of gay rights have been non issues.

    (b) Electing of gay politicians. For example the recently, if I remember, re-elected mayor of Houston- again with a heavy black population.

    There is quite a bit of ignorance relied upon to make sweeping statements about people of color. For instance, Africa- the numbers are horrible there, but guess why in part its so horrible? The recent article by the leader of the gay rights efforts in one country points it out (the importing of Evangelical CHristianity along with Islam growing influence on the continent) along with the historic influence of colonial laws explains it:

    This is an op ed by Frank Mugisha on the subject of growing evangelical version and its influence. The influence of men like Rich Warren who preach oen thing here, and go abroad to push kill the gays. So, while the idiots here imagine we are beyond this, they don’t understand the reality that there is in fact a link between the anti-gay movement in the U.S. and the anti-gay movement in African countries.

    Indeed, historically, the history of africa beforce colonialism is very mixed as to the views about homosexuality:

    The above covers ” Homosexuality in “Traditional” Sub-Saharan Africa and Contemporary South

    It covers the complicated, very complicated history that was not as even the modern homophobes will claim. there was no universal “african” standard. There still isn’t.

    There was nothing anti-gay about African cultures anymore than any other part of the world before the Abrahamic religions started to push themselves on the cultures around the world. Now, Iam not pretending that history was “fully accepting” it wasn’t it was complicated. It was tolerated in many cultures in some cultures and partially accepted under specific conditions in others. What lead to the repression was the rise of Christianity and Islam.

    So, to say I get that Daniel is just stirring shit up for manipulation is to understate it. But that being said, folks like Kev C are just bigots who eat this sort of shit up. Complexity is to be ignored in favor of bigoted ignorance. Daniel can’t manipulate what’s not there to manipulate.

  • Interesting

    @Tackle: re Blacks in general population are more likely by a slight margin, if I remember the numbers correctly, to support anti-discrimination laws such as ENDA when that is presented alone than whites so the issue of gay rights again if i remember correctly is extremely complicated, but places like here will not allow that complicate to exist. its as complicated as it is in different white communities and around the world. No one thinks for example- Russian and eastern European bigotry against gays including jailing and killing them and outlawing organization means that all whites are anti-gay, yet people like Kev C regularly babble on about how these forces in Africa means all black people are.

  • Caliban

    Some people seem to believe there is a competition for rights, that some quota of suffering must be met before rights are “earned,” like SLAVERY or THE HOLOCAUST. (Gays were an oppressed group during the Holocaust but lets set that aside for a moment.) Or worse, that if rights are recognized for a group then somehow their own rights have been reduced, as if rights are limited resource. I could point out all sorts of abuses of gay people, horrors that have been perpetrated over the centuries, but I don’t have to. The history of how gay people have been treated isn’t pretty but this ISN’T a competition and we deserve rights because we are free according to the Constitution, we were BORN with rights, not because some quota of suffering has been met.

    It’s a mistake to assume however that in a comparison of the ways the two groups have been and are treated, that black people ALWAYS get the shitty end of the stick. What did your family do when they discovered you were black? Oh, that’s right. You were born into a family and community like yourself, with wisdom, comfort, and a social structure in place. Gay people can’t say the same. And IF you cannot handle one more minute of being a Minority group you COULD (please note that I didn’t and wouldn’t say “should”) move back to your place of origin. In fact there are cities in the US, countries and even continents in the world where you COULD go and be in the majority. Again, gays cannot say the same because we are from ALL groups, ALL races, yet no matter where we go, including San Francisco, we will always be a minority. So I would most humbly suggest that you count your blessings and stop all this g*ddamn whining about how damn gays are cheating you out of something!

    Please realize that I’m probably not speaking to anyone here and certainly not to anyone who is both black AND gay. I’ve just made the mistake of reading FAR too many hateful comments on websites like MediaTakeOut written by members of the black community, based either on religion or just shitty attitude. And I fully realize that many black leaders from Coretta Scott King to Andrew Young and even (I’ll admit I was surprised) Al Sharpton have spoken eloquently in favor of gay rights.

  • Interesting

    @Caliban: @Caliban: You shouldn’t use online sites as a sign of what people generally think. As i write above, there are a lot of objective ways to know whether what you believe is true. Black politicians. Actual election results in elections. And on and on. What you are engaged is confirmation bias. You believe that most blacks hate gays so finding someone who says “i am black and i hate gays confirms that” The truth is far more complicated, and often have little if anything to do with race, and everything to do with religion. And no where is it written that one minority group will understand another. Jews didn’t understand the black experience after they came over from Europe after the holocaust either. This is the nature of bigotry. That’s why Oppression Olympics are wrong. They miss the point of the experiences when combined- that is that humans descriminate and we need to be on guard against this reality rather than pretending its unique to one group or another.

  • Kev C

    @Interesting: Let me tell you what I think of your soft peddling black homophoba. I lived in a black neighborhood for 18 years. I’ve seen and experienced the oppression of black homophobes. I’ve had friends and known other gays and trans who died from the oppression. There’s not a goddamn racist thing about me. And as a survivor, it’s my obligation to speak on their behalf. If you don’t like it, tough shit you punkass self-loather Interesting.

  • Interesting

    @Kev C: < will continue to spin his racism as about homophobia. The difference between Kev C and someone legitimately worried about homophobia is that the person trying to address homophobia is worried about factual circumstances since that's how they realize they will overcome it. The racist, even if he or she mouths or types the words of "I am concerned about homophobia" is rarely truly concerned with factual analysis. to them, discussing facts is "soft" Like most conservative view points, which is what bigotry is- a need to hold onto power- its about categorizing for the purpose of control over the disliked group. The point is to use the natural sympathy of the gay person against homophobia but to so twisted as to make it about race rather than the homophobia. The classic example is that of Nate Silver, an expert on polling data, successfully destroying the argument over the polling data out of CA, and yet, the bigots repeat the data anyway. One might think this is "ignorance" but that's a false assumption. That bigotry arises out of ignorance. even after corrected the bigot keeps repeating their bigotry as "fact" and anything more complicated as "wrong" Notice here the difference between what the bigot says again and what I say. I am not soft peddling bigtory unless soft peddling means condemning all people who are black. Now, the question becomes- why is that necessary in order to deal with homophobia? why do we need to attack all blacks to address the issue that the racist pretends to care about? The answer is that they don't care about the issue as much as they do with trying to assign a negative attribute to an entire group.

  • Cinesnatch

    “So instead of stating the obvious, it’s more productive to find what each movement can teach us about fighting inequality, no matter the group.”

    So, why does your post do the exact opposite?

    Oh yeah … for the extra bump in traffic.

  • Interesting

    by the way, the interesting thing bout bigots of all strips is how they today like to drape themselves in the clothing of victimhood.

    I am treating you like this because your entire group is X. Christians are really good at victimhood if you have ever listened to them as to why they want to oppress the other group. Here, the justification for assigning a negative label to blacks, which is really just more of ‘blacks are untamed savages that need to be controlled” that has been argued through out history to justify slavery, and then jim crow, and neoliberal policies abroad.

    The core of the belief is to deny complexity because if blacks are as complicated as whites, then the racism is less justified. When the banks gave subprime mortgages this decade to blacks although the financial picture showed that the blacks were capable of paying for prime mortgages I am sure there was some mental note by the loan officers that somehow if some blacks were not capable of paying their debt then all blacks aren’t, and therefore, its okay to give them loans with worst terms because they are blacks.

    If blacks are more homophobic (according to the bigot) that justifies whatever happens to blacks. If the palestenians are more homophobic, to give a non racial example, that justifies whatever happens to them.

    Notice that the complication does not deny homophobia in the straight black community or any other. It digs into why, and therefore, what can be done about it, it questions the racist assertion that there is something racial to it rather than mutable variables like religious beliefs.

    “Soft” to the bigot is to point out complexity. “hard” is to paint all blacks as bigots.

  • Kev C

    Let me guess, you were probably a down-low, black church type gay who only came out of the closet a few years ago. That’s my guess. You didn’t get targetted because you were a stealth gay for most of your life. It wasn’t so bad because you blended in with the homophobes and picked up their manners. Am I right? Pure ignorant social-climbing sell-out.

  • James

    For the other black gay people on here question.I feel the stink of racism more than I do homophobia.I find that I can be in a room full of black people who hate gays if I don’t tell them I’m gay but being in a gay place with a bunch of racist i can’t because I can’t hide the fact that I’m black.What do you guys think?I also think that most black people don’t see it as the same thing because gay people fight to be aloud to get married is not the same thing as black people fight to just be treated as human being.

  • ewe

    This whole article does exactly what no one should and that is to clump everyone in tidy compartments and generalize on how people with one thing in common feel about any given topic. I just had an encounter in a starbucks the other day. I sat down next to an african american man who said he was raised as a jehovah witness and i offered him my honey for his tea and then chit chatted about stuff which included how he doesn’t celebrate holidays. After a moment of silence i said “chamomile tea is good for digestion.” He was drinking chamomile tea which by the way had my honey in it and he turned to me, flashed his pearly whites and said ” i want you to know that i am not gay.” I immediately said ” Don’t get so personal with me. I am not interested in your sexual orientation.” He said ” i am not getting personal….” and i interrupted “yes you are getting very personal AND you are a complete stranger to me.” Now there is quite a lot to be learned here. I, for one, am not apologizing to anyone anymore for being gay. “oh mista mista, butch big straight man that you are, please do excuse me for being gay.” UH UH NO WAY. I shut him down or perhaps if you prefer flipped him on his stomach and it felt great. Sucked the wind right out of him. He was not expecting me to say what i said. I am very bubbly and friendly and immediately became extremely serious and assertive. Silenced that mother fucker with his better than thou, “i am only informing you that i am straight” bullshit which he wasn’t. What he was really saying in his passive aggressive wimpy style was that i am gay. So i am drinking my beverage and i have an appointment in ten minutes. Exactly where and when did this ignorant african american guy who doesn’t happen to be gay think i planned on sucking his cock? It was offensive. He was offensive and i told him so. BEEOTCH. Go bother someone else with low self esteem. I am not here for anyone to step on top of me to make yourself feel powerful. He got that message loud and fucking clear and maybe he will think twice of telling someone what he isn’t when he really is saying to a stranger what he thinks they are. That is truly IGNORANT. As if i give a fuck.

  • Interesting

    @Kev C: < Another example of how bigotry works. Use stereotypical images that again reinforces the idea that all members of the group are only capable of bad behavior. Here, I am on the DL because I am not buying into the racism. In actuality, I have been out since the early 1990s to my entire family, none of which had any major problems with my sexual orientation, but that's not a possibility amongst blacks to the racist. We are all incapable of complex relationships. My family is religious. I am not. The last time I was in church was ate the age of 11 where I told them that I just didn't want to go anymore, and they didn't pressure me to go. But again, my experiences can not be a possibility,a nd indeed, it will now be claimed that my experiences are so unique that I am the only one who could have had them, and blah, blah, blah. The bigot is nothing if not predictable in his or her assumptions.

  • Interesting

    @James: I’ve had bad experience with racism and homophobia. So, I disagree on the level of maybe it was just that no one knew you were gay, but from my experience it really comes down to the fact gay is different from black, but in both cases, people can be bigots, and its struggle to deal with each.

  • steve

    Get a grip queens, us cripples got the oppression Olympics in the bag.

  • Kev C

    @Interesting: Hey, I’m not stopping you from soft pedaling homophobia in the black community. I’m just letting everyone know that you are a homophobe.

  • Interesting

    @Kev C: <Again an example of how racism works. Kev C makes shit up,a nd when corrected continues with talking points really design to reinforce his bigotry. Notice here, Kev C continues to cover his bigotry up with how its my fault now that he's a racist. I must be on the DL in the last post, and now, I must be homophobic, and on and on. If you want to know why racism and homophobia are intransigent on some level, it is because there will always be a Kev C or, it seems, Daniel V to exploit these issues rather than discuss them. Our political system in the U.S. in fact is predicated on pitting minority groups or powerless groups against each other. That's why its so easy for Kev C to fall into the pattern he does. its a familar pattern that our society also folsters on all of us.

  • tj

    Just one point about homophobia in Africa. Before colonialism homosexual sex was an accepted practice in most of Africa. Yes homosexual sex as an act is completely separate from homosexuality as a lifestyle but I felt that was worth pointing out. Long story short colonizers were taking young boys for sex servants, and with it a families ability to take care of itself (of course they did the same thing to girls but because of the misogynistic nature of these societies no one cared as much). Banning homosexuality is seen as an act of populism, protecting a families economic interests. Of course the matter would be better settled with a measure that protected all people from sexual slavery but again we’re back to how homophobia, misogyny, and racism work in conjunction. Moreover, its very western to perceive African objection to homosexuality as simply bigotry when it is deeply entrenched in systems of economic oppression, colonialism, and fear. If any of the third world African countries were to treat homosexuality lightly they’d be opening their male children up to the same tragic realities their female children already endure, it would be nice to see gay rights advocates advocating for those girls first, as it is the only true way to liberate gays in these countries.

  • Interesting

    @tj: I think the bigger forces right now is the spread of evangelical Christianity and its virulence against homosexuality. It also by product I think of both the spread of Islam, and that many of the churches there are unreformed and take on the worst elements of the church- like the Anglican church is run by conservatives, etc. There are exception- Desmond Tutu, of South Africa, for example, who says homophobia equals apartheid, in the same way that Correta Scott King, answered the issue of homophobia in America.

    My guess is that because conservative religious forces and politicians seeking to use the issue to stay in power have until now had the loudest voices along with support by conservative Americans forces (again a la Rich Warren, and the Bush administration’s spread of conservative Christian values into the countries in terms of social economic policies) that the change will be slow, but it will happen. I wonder how ‘deep” the homophobia really is?

    These conservative social forces pushed by the religiousity is such that it harms all people there. not just gays. For example, although HIV is primarily transmitted through heterosexual activity, the conservative religious response to the issue has meant that even something as straight forward as increasing condom use has been difficult. The religious forces simply hold more sway there than in the West like Europe or the US where at least there has been some opposition. I keep saying the only reason why a Rich Warren is not able to enact what he wants here like he is pushing there is because of the power relationship between the American people at people like Warren and those there in terms of colonial and imperial influence.

  • tj

    I don’t think their influence is as big as the deep seeded belief that rampant child molestation would occur (which isn’t that far fetched considering it occurs to their female children daily). In the Congo for instance they began burning gay men in the 18th century so its not exactly new or connected to any western belief at all.

  • Red Meat

    The worst oppressors that were around me growing up were black, in school they were mostly black. So um yeah the Black Community is the worst oppressor of LGBT people right now. Not everyone comes from a white only bible belt town like films always portray.

  • Interesting

    I think the paper above that I link to illustrates my point about the effect of the western belief ont he subject.

    I also linked to a leading activist who speaks of where the views derive:

    It is well sourced, including discussing the history prior to western influence, up to and including the influence of the west in terms of pushing out anything that did not fit western thought. In many of the anti-gay laws that came about are relics of the colonial laws that were passed down to them. This again is something that can be looked up here:

    What the above article says is that the laws were the product of colonization,a nd that they have recently gotten worse- and I point out why through the activist who works there. He says its the growth of evangelical christian thought amongst other factors like that. If you are more of an expert than he is, I would love to hear how.

    So you are going to have to bring something more than anecdote to the table that you aren’t backing up or emotional points that say nothing of real substance other than claiming pedophiles are why they don’t trust gays. I see no difference between your comment at that of a religious right person since you are conflating, and can not prove historically that your conflation is even the reason motivating various coutnries with diverse cultures and experiences.

    You are essentially arguing the entire continent is motivated by something that has nothing to do with being gay. They don’t outlaw being heterosexual due to the same ideas so your argument is essentially you conflating over your pet issue.

    I don’t have anything against religion, but the fact is – its a big influence on what people think on morality. That’s why its obvious from both research and from common sense that relignion would indeed be a big influence.

    Further, its clear that laws as laid down over generations by colonizers, if its pertaining to a mostly unseen and powerless minority, would be hard to get rid of. Just as they have been hard to eliminate in the West. Hence why the U.S. did not decriminalize homosexuality until 2003. Unless you are arguing that we in the west are primarily also motivated just be fears of pedophiles.

    Indeed, the dog signals continue

    Nor does your explaination provide any understanding of why condoms are also denied as a resource in many countries in terms of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This again is factual and easily something one can look up. Its well known in any basic course in epidemology and africa.

    Here’s an example

    THe catholics are not the only religon making this argument

    I am really not interested in hearing back from you unless you do what I just did. back your shit up with links verifying that this is an argument thats being made outside of bigots rationalizing their christian beliefs since if you were right- logically speaking-t hey would outlaw men and boy sex rather than sex between consenting adults.

    I have no doubt that sex trade is real. Indeed, I know it is from researching the issue. the problem is you are engaged in conflation. The link between the two is not valid. Nor is your claim that homosexuality was somehow universally an issue even inthe 18th century due to what is actually pedohilia just as is with the underaged girls.

    Also before you respond, note that part of the problem here is that the victors wrote history that you are now trying to use. What we know of the complexity of the situation- like in the the West- is that what other cultures may have believed is almost impossible to know for certain. What we can tell with absolute certainty is the claim that homosexuality was universally condemned is not true. If it were there would be no examples at all in which the culture and laws prior to colonization that tolerated homosexuality.

    Modern understanding of gender and sexual orientation most likely did not exist in pre colonial africa no more than it existed in other cultures as we understand it today.

    IN the above link the paper discusses the complications of understand even the Yuruba example. Both in the past, and going forward into the future. One view is that it was a part of the prior culture, but was seen as something that should be left unspoken. Its like the view that is held by gays of a certain age now in the WEst like in france, where some older gay men still live as “bachelors” who don’t speak of their sexual orientation. I have a friend who is older who discussed it with me. I know in America this also used to be the case. The same analog is believed to have existed in parts of Africa. Its not that they accepted homosexuality like we would want them too do today, but the idea that they were per se against is false as well.

    Indeed, let me just at this in closing- your comment completely ignores lesbianism.

  • Interesting

    indeed if you look to the west for where some of the older african traditions were mingled with christianity in a different way, we see that homosexuality is more accepted so its not clear from these examples given christian influence that one can say “oh they didn’tlike homosexuals”

  • Kasnar

    I think it’s important to see how their histories are different and not to trivialize any of them. It shouldn’t be a contest of victimhood. No one mentioned the women’s struggle. Interestingly, I always felt very good about being black. Yet it took a good seven years — from 14 to 21– of self-torture, depression and suicidal thoughts before I began to feel good about being gay. As a result, I’ve disowned certain family members – including a brother I never really liked anyway, so good riddens. I’ve come to believe a lot of my angst was born in my Caribbean heritage. Much of the mores in my childhood home are stuck back in the 50s. It kind of kills me that so many straight people seems to think being gay is a choice or a disease like alcoholism. Or they say they simply don’t understand it – to which I reply your understanding or lack thereof does not make something valid or invalid. Things just are. Society, after all, used to force left-handed people to write with their right hands.

  • Adam

    Well today Atheists win hands down, LGBT atheists worse.

  • R.A.

    What you really don’t want to be is an Albino in East Africa.

  • disco lives

    Skin color has nothing to do with acceptance of gays- education level does.

    Studies have proven this for decades.

    When I hear gays complain that blacks aren’t gay-friendly, I feel like telling the to go to a trailer park in West Virginia to discover how gay-friendly white people can be.

  • tj

    I think we are talking about two separate things. The relatively new legal systems have indeed been influenced by western culture. However, these people have been existing and culturally self-policing for many years. They haven’t been pro-gay since colonialism even Fanon was anti-gay. But certainly the introduction of Christianity and colonialism are not mutually exclusive.

  • tj

    @disco lives
    I agree with your point to a certain extent but I would argue that black communities, being located in larger cities are actually more tolerant than people in rural communities with no exposure. You can go to any black neighborhood in America and find an openly gay male beautician who is probably really successful, you can find gay men in most church choirs. I think in the gay community we make the mistake of marriage support being the be all and end all of tolerance. Many black women have a particular problem with marriage equality because they are facing an especially peculiar marriage deficit do to incarceration and the growing acceptance of black male to white female marriage. Its a privilege grasp and not at all indicative of complete intolerance; most would say they have at least one gay male friend.

  • n900mixalot

    All of these long-assed explanations …

    Gay or Jewish can be hidden.

    Black can’t.

    That’s all there is to it.

  • Interesting

    @tj: I agree about the main sticking point for gay rights with black communities is likely marriage equality, but in other areas, gay rights advocates would likely get a lot of support.

    @tj: Many of the laws, even when new governments were in place and new constitutions, carried over from prior legal systems. That’s how most legal system work even when totally revamped. Unless something is expressly changed, its not going to change just because the system does. Other than that, I am not sure how to respond to your post. Of course, colonialism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. My point was going towards the argument somehow men sexually abuse boys explains the views on homosexuality, and that just does not jive with all the other legal and cultural things we know, or the data coming from those in the struggle over there. To me, the biggest example of “what’s causing it” is the description leveled by the gay activist in Uganda who directly says its Christian conservatives.

  • Dan

    64 of the 76 countries that criminalize gay people are majority-black countries – not Latino, not Asian, not Caucasian, not Pacific Islander. So, yeah, there is some factual basis for saying black people are more bigoted and homophobic than other races on Earth.

    And since most black slaves from Africa were sold into slavery by other black Africans (rival tribes who profiteered off slavery) the issue of black suffering in slavery isn’t all white vs. black – as is often painted in the USA.

  • Interesting

    @Dan: < Another bigot lying.

  • Interesting

    @Dan: <Example of how racist Dan is- does anyone really believe that just because there aren't laws on the books that gays are safe in Russia, for example, or the eastern european country where they banned gay speech? To come to that conclusion is to illustrate the mind set of bigotry. Its different why exactly? Because its de facto rather than de jure? The effect on the person isn't different. Just how its done. Only the truly bigotted could ever see a difference in effect. but Dan doesn't care about effect. Just making a point that's untrue about race.

  • Tackle

    @ Interesting: Thanks for calling out a bigot (Dan) when you see one. I was thinking along the same line as you when I read his foolishness. It just goes to show how being a bigot can affect common sense and reasoning. Also there are laws against murder, rape and robbery on the books, does that mean that people do not commit them??

    Yes there are anti-gay laws on the books here in America, but homophobia is alive and well. So many times it’s not what the countries/governments have passed or not passed, it’s how the people in the countries are treating GLBT people. And lets not forget two years ago, Maine a state thats 97% white voted dowm marriage equality for GLBT people. And you can add the Catholic Church, over 94% white. The Church of Scientology, over 95% white. The Mormon Church, over 97% white and the Southern Baptist, over, over 65% white. All of these voted and spent millions upon millions to defeat GLBT marriage. And not mention their thousands of foot soldiers pounding the pavement two years before the acatual vote. To make sure it passed. And it did. This is just to show that while they were in their right to vote as they pleased, Only a bigot would think that blacks express more homophobia than whites.

  • Dan

    @Interesting… don’t whine just because black people sold other black people into slavery. Go visit Africa; they have entire museums about it built around the ports where the slaves were auctioned and shipped out. Or don’t you bother actually going places other than the vacant rooms in your head.

  • Interesting

    @Dan: < Bigots are always funny. Whining is pointing out you are a racist. Meanwhile, you whine about wanting to be treated like a greater victim than others. Rich.

  • Isaac C

    @Tackle: It’s relative, and that’s the whole point. There isn’t a strong presence from African Americans toward the promotion of LGBT rights. The only force in society that has been working toward GLBT legal equality with any presence and credibility has been white liberalism. Until you understand that, you won’t understand why blacks are seen the way they are in the U.S (as homophobic).

  • Dan

    @Interesting Just because your victimhood requires you to demonize non-black people when they have nothing to do with black on black murder and mayhem doesn’t make it sane. Just because you need everyone else to be a racist because you cannot handle your own racism doesn’t make it sane. Next you’ll blame whites and latinos and asians for black Americans being most likely to be killed by other black Americans. Man up with some responsibility already.

  • Tackle

    @Isaac C: It’s relative, Oh really?? Well there are things that you don’t understand.
    The problem with you and others like you is that you make sweeping generalizations and judge people in groups as opposed to being individuals. That’s a major componient of being predjuice.

    I don’t think there is a strong presence from ANY group for the rights of GLBT people. In terms of Blacks not showing a strong presence, ( and I’m sure you don’t want to know this.) During the voting of the California proposition 8 of 2008, Blacks 25 and younger supported the initiative in greater numbers then Whites in the same age bracket. That’s why it’s not good to lump people into groups. And what gets me is that people like you tend to forget that there are Blacks who happen to be GLBT. And most times when Blacks,(or African American as you prefer)display homophobia,it is GLBT who bare the brunt of it.

    And it’s foolish and utter nonsense to believe that the ONLY PEOPLE (force) working
    toward GLBT legal equality are White liberals. That has got to be the most ridiculous statement. So there are no Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos or Asians or other non-white people who are doing ” Absolutely Nothing” for GLBT people???

    And if White liberals are the only force working toward GLBT equality, one can flip this and say that White conservatives are the biggest force working against GLBT equality.
    And I don’t believe that Blacks are seen in the whole U.S. as being homophobic.
    I believe that Blacks are seen by many(not all) White GLBT people as being more homophobic.
    Maybe you’ll understand that.

  • Isaac C

    @Tackle: “And if White liberals are the only force working toward GLBT equality, one can flip this and say that White conservatives are the biggest force working against GLBT equality.”

    This is the only coherent and relevant thing you’ve written. So, I’m glad we agree on my original comment. All the other faux outrage is a bit stupid. Thanks.

  • Misty

    @Adam: Exactly. Both have faced discrimination in their own distinct way.

  • Dallas David

    Out of curiosity . . .

    Who was Vernon Johns?

    I chanced across a website that gives some interesting historical information.

    What are your thoughts on what this fellow has to say about racism?


    Oh, and BTW Queerty — sorry about that email I sent about El Paso’s anti-gay preacher being consecrated a bishop in the “All Nations Seminary.” That turned out to be something of an elaborate parody.

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