Your Rights vs. Mine: Is There Common Ground Between LGBT and African-American Civil Rights?

3127308063_1bf989893bWhat do some African-Americans think about the LGBT’s rallying cry that ‘Gay is the New Black’?

“It’s absolutely disgusting”, says Renee Martin, author of Womanist Musings, a site she began because she saw that even on feminism blogs, “people were talking to women of color rather than letting women of color speak for themselves.”

“It’s racial appropriation, racist and it erases people of color who are same gender-loving”, the heterosexual Canadian mother of two continues, saying, “What about those of us who are still Black? It furthermore frames the issue as saying, ‘Oh, look- things are bad. White people are suffering because they are being treated like blacks and they deserve better than that.’ And that’s really how it comes across to the black community. That this is suffering because someone is being treated like a black person– as though, we don’t deserve to be treated any better ourselves.”

And that’s just the start of our conversation on whether the LGBT community and the African-American community can find any common ground.

Did anybody stop and ask, “Is this a good thing? How helpful has marriage been?”

I’ll be upfront. This is a conversation I’ve wanted to have for months. While gay rights groups have gone to great lengths to reaffirm that the African-American community and the LGBT community are common allies, since Proposition 8, there’s been a widening divide between the two. It began with the now thoroughly debunked notion that African-Americans voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposition 8 (initially estimates were put at 70%– later analysis showed that number to be around 58%) and media outlets like The Advocate asking ‘Is Gay The New Black?’ on their covers.

This is also, an uncomfortable conversation for me personally to have. Renee and I met online last week, after she posted an entry about a post on Prop. 8 lawyers that I had written. I had accompanied the article with an image I found online showing a Jim Crow era segregated drinking fountain labeled ‘Prop. 8’. Her response was titled ‘Queerty and Prop. 8 Racism‘. She wrote:

“Isn’t that lovely? Of course we are not supposed to get upset with this obvious racist depiction, or the appropriation regularly engaged in by white gay and lesbian leaders to argue a case against the second class status of the GLBTQI community in the larger social sphere. How dare we uppity blacks demand that we have control over our history and how it is used when white gays and lesbians have a point to make.? The world needs to know that they are being treated like niggers and all is wrong with the universe if whites are being reduced to status of blacks…

Here is a tip, if you want blacks to be allies I suggest you stop appropriating our experiences to serve your own ends. Between the gay is the new black meme and the continual charges of homophobia, with no effort to have a constructive conversation with the Black community you are alienating people in droves.”

So, we decided to have a constructive conversation. Here’s some of it:

QUEERTY: What do you think is the correct way, or the appropriate way for gay civil rights leaders to reach out to the African-American community?

Renee Martin: It’s quite easy. I really do believe they should point out members of the GLBT community that are black or of color, who have either contributed to the movement for gay rights or have basically been socially active and socially aware. This I believe to be an absolutely brilliant strategy, simply because young people of color are positively desperate for models, desperate for role models to see themselves reflected in any way, shape or form in a positive manner is really going to catch their attention. Especially when you think about the fact that the majority of the images you see in the media are negative. They’re pimps, they’re hookers, theyr’e prostitutes and none of this fosters positive self-identity.

Whereas, if they were to continually see people of color who were gay who were successful in whatever field, be it art, science– it doesn’t matter… it will normalize the idea that gayness is not just about a white identity. I think it would be especially attractive to the young, and I think it would be attractive to parents too, who are struggling to get their kids to hold up men like Chris Brown as a hero. I mean, who wants their kid to think of Chris Brown as a hero? When I think of someone like [lesbian poet] Audre Lord, I would love a child of mine to see Audre Lord as a hero.
How do you get the message across that gay equality isn’t just a gay issue? The reason I chose that image was because, from my perspective, the idea that I can get a civil union but not get married, carries with it the same basic prejudices that separate drinking fountains have and I know one of the things the gay community is struggling with is how we can tie our own struggles into the larger history of equality. How do we do that in a way that isn’t offensive?

By not engaging in racial appropriation. By not using images that come from Jim Crow. That would be one. It’s a good thing to avoid. That is definitely appropriation. But if you want to talk about civil right, you can talk about [Bayard] Ruskin. You know, he organized The March on Washington. It’s a very little known fact. It’s been completely rewritten. His role in civil rights. It comes back to letting people of their particular race speak about their history and their culture and how the gay and lesbian identity has a strong role to play in it. It’s not for someone else to stand outside of our culture and see if they can pull pieces out of it for their own purposes because it reduces the totality of our experience.

We are more than just what occurred during Jim Crow. We are more than what occurred during slavery and if anybody’s going to own that pain and own that struggle, it should be us who gets to decide. I find it incredibly disgusting this continually referring back to the African diaspora, because we’re not the only civil rights struggle on the planet. Society continually refers back to Blacks keeps the conversation on a binary where race always refers to Black vs. White… Why aren’t you talking about the Latino community? What aren’t you talking about the struggles in indigenous communities? There’s some serious issues, but it’s always referring back to ‘Gay is the new Black.’ It’s not just racist, it’s also erasure in the way the conversation is being framed.

picture-211Well, I think this is something the gay community is beginning to address. Rick Jacobs, of the Courage Campaign has taken up the marriage struggle in California, but his organization is actually focused on a variety of progressive social issues, which he sees gay rights just being a part of.

Well, yes. Racism, homophobia, they’re all based on the same thing, so in that sense, I could say, ‘Yeah, there is a degree of similarity’. How it expresses itself changes from movement to movement… I don’t see that an obvious attack on gay rights is fostering any more openness in the community, though. If anything, I see defensiveness, using white privilege as a weight to sling around, basically saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. You’re just like me!’ That’s the meme you see repeated over and over: I’m just like you– without asking who is the ‘Who’ the community is supposed to be just like. That’s a problem. It’s the invisible conversation.

That’s fair. I marched in a lot of the Prop 8 demonstrations, however and most of the people who were marching, at least in Los Angeles, were a real mix of people. It wasn’t a group of white men marching, as it may have been in the past.

As it may have been in the past? Ohhhkay. Go on.

No, no. What do you mean by that?

I mean that right there, there’s erasure. What do you mean, ‘As it may have been in the past?’ I think people of color have contributed greatly to the movement. I think they’ve always been out there at protests. I just don’t think this has been acknowledged, because the gay community, like any other community, is seeking to privilege a white identity and therefore has whitewashed our contributions and I find it disgusting to hear someone say ‘like it was in the past.’ I mean, make a movie about Milk, but [African-American trans activist] Sylvia Rivera, ‘Hell, no! We can’t talk about her’. Why are we talking about this woman of color when we can lift up this white man and hold him as a hero of the gay community? I find this constant, ‘Oh, it’s just now people of color are getting on the boat’ kind of deal absolutely ridiculous. It’s revisionist history.
You know what? You’re absolutely right. The counter argument is that there is this system that rewards white male privilege in place and while it’s absolutely true that we want to have people who are reflective of the entire country being, but we need to have elected leaders to begin with. I notice on your site that you’re very critical of groups like HRC for pushing these white leaders. Are they taking the wrong route?

There are two ways of looking at this situation. You can either say that you’re going to mirror dominant ideologies and reproduce our authoritarian society within the social justice movement or we can decide to take the anarchist approach and state unequivocally that the system doesn’t work and needs to be taken apart and restructured as something other. What approach an individual takes has a lot to do with how much they value their privilege. While I’m not an anarchist, I don’t think recreating hierarchy is necessarily positive. Again, I think we need to reframe the conversation… it’s possible for us to give birth to new things. When we mirror or pantomime, we’re giving up our authority and our power. Part of power is being creative and not just making the world as we’ve seen it before. We know that what currently exists erases so many people and just repeats oppression time and time again.

I have an ‘unhusband’ … We’ve been happily unmarried for almost 20 years

By that logic, isn’t the struggle for the word ‘marriage’ then just another attempt to recreate a straight institution?

Well, here’s my position. I’m not believe in marriage, straight or gay. I’m not married myself. I have an ‘unhusband’ and I use the term ‘unhusband’ to disturb patriarchal associations in our relationship. We’ve been happily unmarried for almost twenty years. So, I don’t necessarily see that marriage will bring the kind of benefits the gay and lesbian community thinks it will gain. Blacks had the right to marry so long ago and what did it really do for us? There were far more important civil actions that led to greater freedom than the right to marry. But because I’m speaking as an ally, I don’t feel it’s my place to say to someone, ‘This is the direction I think your movement should take.’ As an ally it’s my job to support the decisions that the community makes, but marriage legitimizes the norm that there’s this way of being gay and lesbian [that’s correct]. What about the couples that don’t want to get married? What about the couple that want to live a polyamorous lifestyle? What about people that are asexual? I think focusing gay rights on gay marriage is so limited, because there are so many people it won’t help.

On top of that, when the marriages first started happening in California, they were coming out and saying, “Make sure you don’t wear a dress to your wedding”. This is ridiculous. I thought this was about two people loving each other. Why should you care if a guy wants to wear a dress on his wedding day? That’s his business. People are being disciplined withing their own community because people are trying, once again, to present the meme ‘We’re just like you.”

Well, yeah– going back to Harvey Milk, that was his rallying call: “We’re just like you”. But whether marriage is useful or not, except in two states, gay people don’t have that right. And even if you have personal objections, when two women get married, it doesn’t have the same patriarchal overtones that a straight marriage has. We don’t have the luxury of deciding whether we want to express ourselves in a married relationship or not, because it’s not something we have the right to. It’s not necessarily about recreating a system as it is having access to the same system that’s available to everyone else.

I understand the argument you’re making. My question is, “Is the system you want access to a good thing?” Did anybody stop and ask, “Is this a good thing? How helpful has marriage been?” Look at the marriage rate among heterosexuals and they’re atrocious. I don’t know why people are spending $30,000 to walk down the aisle when chances are in five years they’ll get divorced. The idea that love is something that needs to be certified by the government is extremely problematic. As an ally of the gay and lesbian community, however, if this is the organizing path that has been chosen, I’m going to support it. It’s not up to me to say to the community, as an outsider, that this shouldn’t be your goal.

My only thing is that, along the way, we should look at how people are getting left out of the struggle by the total focus on gay marriage. What issues are being left out? I mean, [The Employment Nondiscrimination Act]:  That would benefit everybody. When I think about the possibilities for coalition building, I really fail to see why this hasn’t gotten the same push that gay marriage has. I mean, across the board– when you think of the people in the black community, feminists, you name it, that you could draw on for support and build networks with, the potentials are huge, but yet, the focus is gay marriage.

Stay tuned for more of the wide-ranging interview with Renee as we’ll be adding audio excerpts shortly. In the meantime, we look forward to your comments and responses.

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  • Chitown Kev

    Oh, Japhy, you done did it. Let the fireworks begin.

    One interesting note since I more or less skimmed through this…One thing Harvey Milk was able to do, even in the context of San Francisco, was to bridge across racial and class boundaries.

    Or even boundaries within the gay community. There are a lot of people in the gay community, for example, that don’t believe that the marriage debate should have the priority that it does. There are people that live in states that don’t have any of the employment or housing protections that some of us enjoy. How does the gay marriage movement as “the civil right” speak to them. Or those who object to marriage on the grounds that it is a patriarchial and sexist institution.

    Undeniably, gay people are oppressed, period. In that sense, the ultimate narrative will have the same elements as the struggle for black civil rights and, to the extent that it is successful, it will be because our story resonates in the exact same way.

    But it is our narrative, no one else’s. Noone can tell our story. like we can. WE don’t need to appropriate from the black civil rights movement. We can tell our own story.

    Or rather, as Renee points out, we can note the places and times when our movements did coincide. The Harlem Renaissance would be one example. James Baldwin is another. Audre Lorde. Not just pointing out the great men and women of color who were also LGBT, but also their deeds.

    Boy, I have a lot to say, and I am sure that I will. But…part of this is a litttle disingenious. Black literature, art, and history of struggle has been as much “de-gayed” as the gay civil rights movement has been “de-colored.” Most of what what I learned about the great black LGBTs were because some gay writers told the truth, in a need for any role model they could find. Let’s be honest about that.

  • Mark M

    I refuse to stand up for a community until they stand up for me. I am all done with worrying about people who hate me. It’s called self respect.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Mark M:

    OK. define “community.” Or “communities,” rather.

  • Norman

    I’ve had this conversation a lot, and I’ve been doing research for what might be an essay, or as it’s turning out, what could really be a book about the parallels and the differences. It’s impossible to ignore. We shouldn’t, of course, co-opt anyone else’s struggle, but to point out the kind of mindset used to further discrimination of anyone serves in everyone’s best interest. That’s a fact. Even Elizabeth Cady Stanton paralleled women’s rights with civil rights in a cogent argument. What we need to remind everyone is that this isn’t a contest; it’s a discussion. And we can’t ignore history if we want a future.

  • max vernon

    amen. it was getting a little boring with all of these articles spewing liberal humanism and advocating for the appropriation and inclusion within heteronormative structures. A queer critique was long overdue…

    The current argument used by mainstream gay activists does nothing to challenge notions of sex negativity, and by desesexualizing the no on prop. 8 campaign (not using any gay people in ads, not even using the word gay or lesbian, etc) essentially ceded the issue of gay immorality.

    one of the most positive things about the queer community is its ability to create new types of intimacies- gay marriage will attempt to erase that by reinscribing monogamy as the only type of valid relationship worthy of economic or social benefits.

    let’s not work to create a hierarchy of good and bad gays-
    the good gays being the ones that adopt more normative, straight, types of relationships- the bad gays being those who are promiscuous, take drugs, engage in non-vanilla sex, or are gender queer and who refuse to disappear their identity as a means of assimilating into oppressive structures.

    the government should either get out of the marriage business altogether, or recognize all types of unions in a way similar to the PAC system in France.

  • Bertie

    that’s okay … the white gay men in major cities will get it done. We don’t need this angry, divisive womyn to back the gay marriage fight.

  • Nick

    ^ And there you have it folks.

  • Chitown Kev


    Here’s an example.

    Everyone in the gay community was outraged at Barack Obama’s use of Donnie McClurkin, certainly I was. But you know what.

    Part of the history of black people also included sexual explotation, rape, etc. Donnie McClurkin hit a sub-sub-conscious chord in the black psyche, a chord that predates the black people’s embrace of Christianity.

    Likewise, it hit a deep chord with gay people because of the “gay people are all molesters” meme. It was absolutely ruthless for Barack Obama to play that card in the way he did but, had gay whites really understood in depth that part of African American history, it may have been able to better handle it rather than to buy into the really simplified meme that “black people are more homophobic.”

    Our side was right to be outraged but our response didn’t help matters any either.

  • Chitown Kev

    edit out the “the” in that phrase “the black people” Sheesh.

  • Renee


    You do realize that your response is racist and sexist right? Referring to a black woman as angry because she refuses to mirror your point of view is typical silencing behavior. You really need to learn to own your own privilege. I am not here to serve you or pander to your desires and my expression is just as valid as yours. Find a 101 class post haste, you are really in need of some serious re-education.

  • RM

    I think her advice is naive, if not outright disingenuous.

    If black people knew about Audre Lourd, they’d be less homophobic? Is that really what she thinks?

    The only useful thing she has to share is the fact that the black community is very territorial about the civil rights movement. We can argue that they shouldn’t be, but if we want their support, we need to respect that.

    I guess, by the same token, we shouldn’t claim that Prop 8 is as bad as the holocaust if we want jewish support.

    I’d like to stop weighing one person’s suffering against another and respect the hardships we each endure. But that seems to raise the hackles of people like Martin.

    I’m sorry, but being a white male doesn’t exactly protect you from discrimination, bashings, or lynchings if you’re gay.

  • Timmeeeyyy

    RE: Marriage.
    The fight for marriage equality has nothing to do with heteronormative behavior, adoption of patriarchal systems, or the government certifying love.

    It has to do with property rights, advocacy rights, parental rights, and access to legal privileges and responsibilities.

    I want marriage so that my partner has the right to my social security, so my partner doesn’t have to pay inheritance tax on his own property if I pass away, so my partner can make medical and financial decisions for me if I am incapacitated, and so our children are legally OUR children.

    While I think it would be a great idea for the government to get out of marriage altogether (and leave it to churches if they want it) marriage is such an established institution for property, wealth and guardianship, that it is not going anywhere soon. Therefore, the quickest way to equality is to push for marriage equality.


  • blake


    Did you bother to read anything she said? Are you really that clueless? She simply stated that she is FOR the gay rights movement. She just wishes that white gays would be more respectful in their use of American Black Civil Rights movement.

    Sadly, Bertie, you’ve proven her point about the racism that exists amongst some white gays. You refuse to listen to her and make broad generalities that end with “white gay men in major cities will get it done” vs people of color.

    You just excluded all of the gays of color who struggle for equality. How could you miss the point that some “white gay men” continue to marginalize and dismiss the efforts of people of color? How do you dismiss the reality that the only way to get rights is through building coalitions?

    For example, Ms. Martin argues for building a coalition to get ENDA passed because that could gather larger legislative support. Get it?

  • Rob

    Many people think that civil unions with all the legal rights of marriage, except the name, should be enough for us. It’s hard to make the case for gay marriage, as opposed to civil unions, without talking about why “separate but equal” isn’t really equal. It isn’t possible to use that language, in our culture, without at least implicitly making reference to Jim Crow.

  • Zachary Stewart

    While the notion that we as gay and lesbian Americans shouldn’t be modeling our relationships on straight relationships is certainly an old idea, with validity, Renee Martin seems to be ignoring the legal implications of marriage. Sure, marriage is an oppressive “heteronarmative” institution, but right now, it is my best hope to keep my boyfriend in this country (see the Patrick Leahy story above). This isn’t about appropriating a straight identity, this is about fairness. If the benefits of a state-recognized union are extended to my straight friends, they should be extended to my gay friends. If that means I’m giving up my gay identity, so be it.

  • Landon Bryce


    You know I love you, but I blame your demographic more than anyone else for the breakdown in communication here. Black gays have got to stop attacking white gays and focus on educating black straights. You also failed to stop Prop 8. You are the ones you refuse to challenge homophobia in your own families, excusing it and denying it exists. You are the ones who insanely blame white people for the lack of colored gay leadership. You wanted to Prop 8 posters with black people on them? Fucking make them or shut the fuck up about the people who did something.

    I saw a see of white faces at all the Prop 8 rallies in San Jose. There were infinitely more straight whites than there were there were Latino gays. That is not okay.

    I understand that I do not understand racism. I understand that it easier to be a white ANYTHING than it is to be a black ANYTHING and that that is horrible. It is especially easier to be a white gay person than it is to be a colored person of color. On top of that, white gays can be racist and nasty.


    No white gays are arguing that black people should not have the same legal rights that they have. They may not be willing to afford blacks the same respect they believe themselves to be entitled to, but we are virtually unanimous in believing that blacks should have the same legal rights. In other words, the MOST racist white gays take the same position toward blacks that Obama has toward gays.

    It is a lie to claim otherwise. Some powerful black people fight against the equality of gay people. No powerful gay people fight against the equality of black people.

    Until that stops being the case, I don’t want to hear one more black member of a sexual minority claim that that gay racism can be compared in any way with homophobia.

    I don’t want to read another fucking word from a black gay who is mad at white gays.

    I’m mad at you, too. You have outreach to do in your community that you fail to do, refuse to do, and then blame me for not doing. Even though you recognize that I cannot do it. You must.

    Change that now.

  • Chitown Kev


    C’est moi, Madame Renee.
    Don’t be a tosspot calling the kettle black, sista! Silencing technique, where did you get that from, bilerco?

    2 points on which I strongly agree with you. No, being a gay male doen’t protect you from some of the most horrid discrimination.
    But we need to stick to our narrative. I hate to get literary about it (but what’s a classics major/English minor to do?). To appropriate the form of the black civil rights movement is fine. The content must be ours and ours alone (except for the points where they intersect).

    Second point. Many black folks that do speak up for gay civil rights or GLBTs are silenced in the black community. So, yes, that part of Renee’s argument is not exactly correct. But all the more reason the gay community at large needs to create a space whre black LGBTs can come and be treated as one of our own. Because they are.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    OK. First of all I live in Illinois. It’s a very different situation from California. There is a considerable amount of black LGBT visibility here and in black communities.

  • Landon Bryce

    To claim it is an offensive for gays to compare our struggle for equal rights to the African American civil rights movement is an expression of bigotry against gay people. Period.

    Think about it. If I believe you are my equal, than I am not offended if you compare yourself to me. It is only offensive if I believe that I am better than you.

    I do not have any understanding of why people do not cut this bigoted bullshit– because that is ALL it is– off at the knees.

  • Timothy


    As you quoted (but ignored) in a previous posting, Michael Steele, the head of the RNC – himself a black man – seems to think that orientation is in some ways comparabe to racial identity:

    I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”

    God I’m glad I’m not victim to the ultra-looney PC nonsense. It frees me to see similarities where they exist without jumping though linquistical hoops or twisting my thinking into a pretzel to avoid offending the sensitivity of someone who already knows that they don’t like me.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce: @Landon Bryce:

    I’m one black gay who ain’t mad at ya…don’t paint everybody with the same brush.

    Let me finish reading your post, but I am glad that you got it out.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    But let me ask you this, Landon. Why do you think communicating with black straight people solely my responsibilty? I

    f y’all wanted to march on AA churches in California that preached H*, I wouldn’t have minded. They need to be called out for their bigotry.

  • Landon Bryce

    It’s not solely your responsibility, Kev– and I hope you know that I’m not mad at _you_ personally, either (but I get tired of being painted with the same brush as well). It’s my responsibility to reach out to everyone, but I cannot reach out to black people as effectively as black people can. It is not fair to blame the white people who stepped up to the plate for not being the people of color who should have, even though I recognize that the advantages given to white people make it much less dangerous for us to do so. And I feel like I keep reading over and over again that somehow white gay people are to blame for the Prop 8 campaign not reaching minority voters. And I have read precious little from black gays recognizing that, ultimately, you dropped the ball here, too, and need to take responsibility for that. Yes, we need outreach into African American, Latino, and Indian communities desperately, but gay people from those communities are the one who can make the greatest impact.

  • Flex

    This is exactly why a court should not allow the public to vote on our rights. Why should we need to make bridges with different groups to have the same equalities as they have?

    Why do I need to find common ground with anyone? I want to mind my own business, like everyone else does, except christianists, and marry the person of my choice, and live my life.

    Prop 8 is absolute religious bullshit, and should be tossed!

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Yeah, and She who Shall Not Be Named contributed to a lot of that and at some point, I may call her to task for it personally and in writing (as Terrence Heath already has). She Who Shall Not Be Named could have helped to make a case for marriage equality in black communities but instead she fed the flames of her resentment against rich white gay bogeyman.

  • Chitown Kev


    On that, we agree 100%. I am not religious and I think the AA church (as an institution) has blood on its’ hand as far as the HIV/AIDS crisis in black communities.

  • Bertie

    well suck my dick then

  • Renee

    Whether you like it or not a GLB identity includes people of various races, cultures, classes and ethnicities. What people seem to be all to ready to ignore is the fact that the black civil rights movement was not successful because blacks fought for their rights but because blacks and whites worked together. Coalition building is a necessary part of any social justice movement. All of the isms are related and they work in tandem to affect the life chances of everyone. There is no issue that isn’t specifically a gay issue because of the diversity of your movement necessarily means that someone somewhere is effected. Take a page from feminism and realize that the personal is political.

  • Nick

    Chitown Kev: “Blah blah blah blah blah…”

  • Chitown Kev

    you say that to say…what?

  • Chitown Kev


    That’s correct. But…

    Maybe gay rights groups in California didn’t take their battle into Watts but they didn’t take it into large parts of Orange County either (or anywhere in Inland California, for that matter). It’s not just a black thing, though you are advocating, in part, an AA point of view.

    And let’s not get into the A-listers vs. the D-listers which is solely within the gay community.

  • James

    I think a lot of the resentment black gays feel towards white gays comes from the fact that a lot of the same WGs holding up “Gay is the new black” signs, are the same ones who’d turn around and call a black person a nigger at, say, a Prop 8 rally.

    Blacks (and Native Americans) historically have been treated the worst in the United States, and I think it appears to some blacks (and black gays) that white gays want to co-opt the black civil rights movement simply because there doesn’t exist a more egregious example of this country failing to live up to its Constitution. If there were a worse example, the feeling is that white gays would swarm on it.

    It seems (to many) to have nothing to do with actually identifying with the struggles blacks went through, but to simply be a hollow use of that struggle for political gain.

  • spb

    Will this blog stop repeating the fiction that it was “thoroughly debunked” that 70% of African Americans voted for prop 8? It is NOT TRUE.


  • Jeffrey

    Renee has a very narrow and twisted view of how this works. My friends who are gay and of various ethnicities do not share her beliefs.
    There are many similarities between the GLBT fight for civil rights and Black’s fight for civil rights. Pointing them out in NO WAY diminishes the experiances and history of African Americans…UNLESS they see gays as inferior and not worthy of camparisons.
    Using the image of two drinking fountains is a very effective and direct way to remind people that ‘separate but equal’ is not equal and does not work. It does not ‘erase’ or diminish the painful history of Blacks in our country. In fact, it helps to remind people that, not so long ago, we as a nation thought it was ok to blatantly discriminate and that we have to be mindful of how wrong it is to ever engage in that foolishness ever again.
    Can’t Renee grasp that putting these images out there today actually reinforces the memory of the oppression of Blacks–quite the opposite of ‘erasing’ it??
    Many African American leaders understood and understand that equal rights are not something that can be enjoyed until ALL people are equal. That we are all in this together. This is not a contest to see who suffers the most. This is a fight to eliminate as much suffering as possible. It has never occured to me that any of us who have been fighting for marriage equality were fighting only for WHITE prople. That is absurd.
    Marriage rights will benefit you even if you have more pigment than I do. That is how it works. I would never in a million years vote to take any rights away from people of color and I still don’t understand how anyone of color could do that to me.
    If any other person of any other minority group is offended by the very apt comparisons of our movement to theirs, then THEY have some issues to work out.

  • getreal

    As a black straight person I have never personally understood why some people are so threatened by people comparing the civil rights movement of the 60’s to the current gay civil rights movement. Obviously the two populations have different histories or challenges but it is obvious there are many parallels. I’m not insulted if someone says gay is the new black.Oh and FYI I volunteer for an organization doing outreach to places of worship educating people about LGBT rights and the importance of marriage equality.

    @Landon Bryce: Actually you are wrong. It is ridiculous to say that a white gay person can’t do outreach to black people and have to delegate talking to black people to black gays. It’s patronizing. To tell a black gay person concentrate on outreaching to blacks that’s you job is just incredibly condescending.After all the intelligent comments that you have contributed over the past two days I’m frankly surprised.

  • Chitown Kev



    But the existing body of law and social precedents for the gay civil rights movement (as it was for the women’s movement) references the black civil rights movement. Even the women’s movement in the 19th century did that (and now that I think about it, this exact same charge was raised then, as Angela Davis pointed out in “Women, Culture, and Society”). I mean, it has to be referenced, no way around that.

    And calling allies niggers? That ain’t right (Baby, if that was said that in New York, there would have large sections of the Latino community that would have been highly pissed.)

    And…why would you hold an angry rally in West Hollywood, anyway? It was the people in Orange County who voted against you. Have the peaceful rallies and vigils in West Hollywood and the Castro and have the angry rallies in Orange County and Fresno (scary I’m learning all this about Cali geography). Or Watts and Compton, for that matter.

  • Chitown Kev


    See, I think it’s fear. It’s almost as if many white gay people in California are afraid to go outside WeHo or the Castro (hello, there are a lot of gay people in inland California). I understand the safety issue, in a psychological sense.

    I remember when I lived in Wash. D.C and I had to do canvassing work for a nuclear arms freeze organization in one of the most Republican areas of Arlington, Virginia. Hell yeah, it was scary and to be sure, I didn’t raise too much money but I walked through that fear.

  • Renee

    Right and so your response is to pull they have black friends card and therefore I can tell you whether or not your opinion is valid. Look if you really respected those so-called friends you would not use them as a tool to justify your white privilege, you would fame an argument on completely different grounds. Anyone else have any black friends they want to through out there to use as a cover for their racism?

  • Gabriel

    Considering Renee Martin is Canadian, maybe she too shouldn’t be appropriating the African American experience.

  • Chitown Kev

    but it is also my responsibilty of black LGBTs to reach out to the LGBT community at large AT THE SAME TIME (which I do, personally…but hell, a lot of us in the LGBT community are apathetic (and that’s across color/class boundaries).

  • Chitown Kev


    Isn’t Canada in the Americas?

  • Flex

    @Renee: I’m quite aware of the diversity among gay people, I live in San Francisco.

    I’m also familiar with the civil rights movement and would consider myself a feminist, and I’m a man. But, I think we’ve evolved from over 50 years, and have learned from the essence of the entire civil rights movement. The movement was indeed a success as a result of building bridges, that were eventually infiltrated by the U.S. government, and then destroyed as a result of elitism, and the rise of the religious right.

    We have the ability to see behind us, and learn why racism was wrong, and the courts do too, without needing to struggle for our sexual orientation equality. By agreeing that the courts don’t have any business granting us our rights, or that prop 8 should be repealed by a popular vote, weather you supported it or not, is to ignore the product of the civil rights movement.

    So, I believe, whole heartedly, that we shouldn’t have to build bridges, in our contemporary society, to build support for equality that we should be entitled too for the simple fact of being alive.

    However, I will always support the effort to build bridges, in the face of the fact that I think its bullshit that to do so. It sounds like we won’t have a choice, but to fight for our equality, assuming the California Supreme Court allows prop 8 to hold.

  • Chitown Kev


    Hey, give us credit for having the balls. And STFU.

  • Gabriel

    @Chitown Kev:
    Um, the history of Canada is very different from the USA with respect to black people. It was the endpoint of the underground railroad, there were no Jim Crow laws, people of African descent simply did not have the same struggle as those in the states.

  • Chitown Kev


    Of course I know that. And racial relations in Canada, from what I observed when I was in Toronto for a month, were not as tense.

    Mine was a simple point of nomenclature. A Brailian citizen of African descent could call himself an African-American, in my view.

  • Chitown Kev


  • Chitown Kev

    “the essence of the entire civil rights movement.”

    Good phrase Flex. The form and the essence (to get all Platonic and shit) are the same. We must supply the content.

  • Chitown Kev


    Uh, even allowing for the CNN polls, that would be 70% of black people in CALIFORNIA. A lot of this is y’all shit out there.

  • Landon Bryce


    Thanks for your kind comment, and I’m interested to know if this makes my point a little more clear. I think that one of the reasons that homophobia is prevalent among people of color is that when they think “gay people” they mean “gay white people.” It is prevalent among straight white people, too, but because they generally lack compassion for minorities. I cannot change the perception that gay means white and white means trivial las well as gay people of color can. I have seen a lot of blaming of white gays for not reaching out to ethnic minorities. I’m not saying we should not or that we have done enough. I’m saying that the fact that ANY of that blame comes from gay people of color who have not taken their share of responsibility makes me so angry my head is in danger of exploding. I’m not even going to say I’m right to be that angry. I just am.

    And, obviously, a straight black ally is worth more to me than gold. You are the last person I want to offend, and I am grateful for your dialogue.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Landon, that is a whole other essay in itself. Take the sexual explotation of African Americans by slaveholding whites and add that to the “homosexual as sexual predator” meme.

    That’s way too simple but…there it is. And that would be true of Latinos too.

    Renee’s note about visibility though, is largely incorrect. Or rather, it works both ways.

  • Renee

    It seems someone needs to learn some Canadian history. Just because slavery ended sooner does not mean that it did not exist here, futhermore segregation was very much a part of Canadian law. Our first Prime Minister had no problem arguing that black men should be horse whipped for “corrupting” innocent white women.

    Racism is very much a part of Canadian society. Why is it do you think that the German concentration camps were mirrored on the Canadian reservation system? We have the reputation of being fair and equal but in fact they call it the great white north for a reason. I suggest you check out some critical anti racist work from black Canadians as well as lean some Canadian history before you declare racism not a problem here. As a black Canadian I find your commentary insulting.

  • sparkle obama

    this was a good story and i applaud the editor for getting outside his comfort zone & digging a little deeper for a change.
    it’s his responsibility & i’m glad he is starting to realize that.

  • Landon Bryce


    Yes, straight white men have used rape to enslave ethnic minorities almost as often as they have used it to silence sexual minorities. As someone who is a rape survivor, I promise I understand the power of sexual abuse.

    But Black churches also exploit the racism of their congregations to demonize gays.

  • sparkle obama

    landon, you sound like that b*tch wayne fro WOW blog!
    you are too overwrought.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    “Well, here’s my position. I’m not believe in marriage, straight or gay. I’m not married myself. I have an ‘unhusband’ and I use the term ‘unhusband’ to disturb patriarchal associations in our relationship. We’ve been happily unmarried for almost twenty years. So, I don’t necessarily see that marriage will bring the kind of benefits the gay and lesbian community thinks it will gain.”

    Well, here’s my position…and that of 40,000 other bi-national couples like myself who cannot bring the families into the US because we are not allowed to be married in the eyes of the law…

    How fucking cavalier, uncaring and rude of you! You throw millions of gay who do want to get married and enjoy the same benefits our straight brothers and sisters enjoy under the bus and in the next breath, tell how we are supposed to deal with you??? Who the fuck are you, anyway? What are your credentials?

    Over six long years, my Philippine partner and I have been separated all because of people like you who don’t need or want marriage, and feel that no one else should have it either.

    Vanila? Chocolate? Strawberry? Or, is supposed to be one flavor fits all according to the dictates of one Renee Martin, Queenof the Roost.

    Bad enough we have to take the shit the church and the Mormons dish out to us, but when one of our own kind do it to us, it’s one bitter, fucking pill to swallow, I gotta tell you.

    I hate to say this, lady, but you come across as a castrating man-hater who is just looking for an excuse to scream racist at anyone who disagrees with you.

    You would deny me my civil-rights while lecturing gays on how they should be building bridges and kissing the ass of an angry, divisive lady like you? (Your cue to scream racist at me too).

    You know what? I don’t really give a good shit what you think of the likes of me. And if you want to ue that racist sword you love to swing, then go for it.

    With friends like you, I sure don’t need enemies, thank you very much.

  • Landon Bryce


    If you not believe that black people were better than gay people, even though many people are both, you would never have have written that it is offensive to compare the struggles of these two oppressed groups. The only reason to find it offensive is your belief that gay people are worth less than black people.

    That’s why you should shut the fuck up.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Yes they do. And I can also look in black literature and find the gay=white meme. Eldridge Cleaver’s essay on James Badwin, for example…wow (but that’s an extraordinarily egregious example!).

    Now some would say that you can’t have “racism” without access and control of the power structures of domination. I understand and largely agree with that but I would maintain that “the family” and “the church” is a power structure in which power can be exercised. It’s all about what you do within whatever sphere you occupy.

    Take my word for it, black LGBTs catch HELL! I’ll leave it there.

  • Landon Bryce

    Sparkle Obama:

    Gee. Why would someone with the handle “Sparkle Obama” have a problem with someone who refuses to give Obama a total pass on gay issuess?


  • sparkle obama

    see how you are!
    true colors shining thruuu
    & i ain’t talkin about your damn skin, blanche.
    (it’s the texture, not the tone that’s the real problem entways, i trust!)

  • Chitown Kev

    “Millions of gays” that want to be married, Charles? That’s a bit much.

    But I get your point, even if I don’t agree with it (and I do) who am I to deny that civil right to someone who does.

  • sparkle obama

    @Die, Charles, DIE!:

    well gosh, i’m going to take people’s word that their relationships are real and important.
    you might want them to do the same for you someday(!)
    *ssholes need love too…

  • Landon Bryce


    I don’t care if you don’t want to call black bigotry against white people “racism.” I hate calling straight anti-gay bigotry “homophobia.” It’s still bigotry, and when it is used to attack the disenfranchized (sexual minorities) I think it is every bit as evil, if not as powerful, as genuine racism.

    I know black LGBTs catch hell, and I think ALL gay rights are trivial in comparison to our need to protect transgender youth of color. It is open season on them every day. But I am angry that Black gays direct their anger at white gays rather than at black straights. This is understandable because we come from more advantage and often fail to realize that it IS EASIER FOR WHITE GAYS THAN GAYS OF COLOR. I still think it is inexcusable to yell at me just because you are less afraid of me than of straight black people. And I think it needs to stop. Entirely. Now.

  • getreal

    @Landon Bryce: Thank you for taking the time to answer and I hope I did not offend you in any way. I understand everything you have written and as someone who lives in west hollywood and does outreach in other communities I have heard your statements of gay= white in some people’s mind first hand. What i think people are missing is that until some people hear and relate to you specifically you Landon they won’t see the parallels of the inequities sexual orientation and race in this country. We cannot reach people if they can’t identify that a white person being denied their rights based on sexual orientation is in it’s way the SAME thing as a black person being denied their rights based on race. The only way they can see that is if they talk to people like you and every other people in the gay community not just the people who look like them. Really not trying to be controversial just need to stress we have to as Kev says walk through our fear for the good of this movement.

  • sparkle obama

    landon, it sounds like you were perhaps not raised correctly.
    it’s entirely possible that “IT WAS EASIER” for me as a “GAY OF COLOR”, than it was for you as a “WHITE GAY”.
    because it sounds like you come from TRASH.
    i ain’t “mad” at you.
    i feel “sorry” for you.

  • getreal

    I saw Cleve Jones speak at a reception last month and his speech and it’s theme’s are apropos to the argument at hand I think. There are people who if they met you would change their mind because the average person responds to humanity as long as gays are “other” in certain communities they will continue to be marginalized in those communities and you won’t cease to be other until you interface.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Oh, I do call black people’s bigotry against whites racism. (You can ask Renee!)

    And I was exposed to it at a very young age due to the circumstances that I was in (as opposed to other of my family members) so my perspective is different from many.

    But I, personally, don’t direct my anger at you. But likewise Landon…

    You stop being afraid of white people in Orange County and in some very, very poor and redneck areas of California. Take your angry riots there and get out of West Hollywood and the Castro where you are preaching to the choir. It seems that many white gay people in California segregated themselves from everybody else. The map that shows where Yes on 8 mopped up shows that.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Die, Charles, DIE!:

    Nice, cultured people we’re getting on this site as of late.

    “Old nasty faggot with your Fillipino boytoy, acting as if whatever the fuck that relationship is should be recognized. DIE!”

    Why did you stop short of saying pedophile. You do know that was what you were thinking, weren’t you?

    Well, I hate to break the news to you, homophobic straight-boy, or whatever the fuck you identify as, my relationship, as well as the relationships of all LGBT people will soon be recognized whether you like it or not.

    So start getting used to it. Too bad your mom and dad failed so miserably in raising a decent, caring human being instead of a hateful piece of trash like you.

    Oh, btw, your heinous comment has been flagged. People with that kind of poisonous, hateful, vitriol spewing out of their mouths don’t belong on a site like this.

    Take it somewhere else, bub.

  • Landon Bryce


    Please notice that others who disagree with me enter into discussion, discuss my ideas, I argue– and I come to either dismiss or respect them. What is wrong with what I say? Where am I incorrect? Help me see why I make you so angry. I’m not upset about upsetting you– you seem like a complete and utter asshole- but I will engage with you if given the opportunity. I will try to see what you have right and what I have wrong. I will try to learn from you, if given the chance. Insulting me just gives me the fun of insulting you back, which is great, but I would rather discuss issues which are obviously of burning importance to both of us.

  • sparkle obama

    @Charles J. Mueller:
    chuck, you brought it on yourself.
    …that’s right, i’m gonna blame the victim!
    some of you queens need to quit being so fake up in this piece.

  • Renee

    @Charles J. Mueller:
    What are you illiterate? I said that I don’t believe that marriage will have an equal affect across board because not everyone wants to get married. HELLO, just because you are happy in your monogamy does not mean that it applies to everyone. What civil rights action do you propose for those that don’t want long term relationships? I furthermore made it more than clear that even though I personally believe more would benefit from ENDA if the GLB community chooses to rally around gay marriage then it is my job as an ally to support that. Stop cherry picking and deal with what I actually said.

  • Gabriel

    As you said, you’re a black Canadian, not an African American. It still isn’t your history to appropriate.

  • anderson cooper is my future husband

    @Die, Charles, DIE!: That guy never actually reads what people write he is a douchebage. He uses any excuse to argue with people and if you stand up to him he becomes the scared old man and actually will threaten to sue or call the police. He is on ever thread daily never adding to the conversation but making trouble. It is cool that more and more people are standing up to him when people stand up to him he goes to other places on the website and cries about it but at least he goes away. Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sparkle obama

    @Landon Bryce:

    i’m sorry, but you are just too transparent.
    i apologize for being combative, but other posters bend over backward to “respect” your ass and you can’t learn from them either.
    you personify passive aggression until you pop and then the shit rolls out.
    if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look @ yourself & make a change!

  • Anthony in Nashville

    I’m going to sit on the sidelines and watch the drama unfold. This thread is probably going to be a burning hot mess!!

  • Landon Bryce


    You are absolutely right about my cowardice. I own it. But I don’t blame you for it. Obviously, you do not blame me, either.

    But a lot of black gays seem to want to take out their anger on straight whites, not because we deserve it but because they disrespect the depth of our struggle in their belief that we all disrespect theirs. And because we are less intimidating than the people they should be angry with.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Anthony in Nashville:

    it already is Anthony, I see you everywhere!

  • james alexandr

    After reading all this I could not be more happier I am 22 and a part of the best community and that is GENERATION Y!!!!!!

    baby boomers didn’t exactly fail me but they inspired me to do better …

    AND WE ALL WILL (people right now roughly under 35)

    OUR ERA IS COMING!!!!!!!

  • sparkle obama

    @james alexandr:

    go james!
    we are depending on you.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    I believe…you are absolutely right.

    I mean, to some extent, gay whites do deserve it our anger, let’s NOT kid ourselves, but yes, we have the exact same fear that you have.

    That was why I loved the youtube video of that protest in the Castro with the Chrisitan group. That’s why I loved the protests against the Catholic and Mormon Churches and Saddleback. You are now taking on your institutions.

    Not only are many black LGBTs not doing that, they are right in the thick of them, especially the conservative churches. And that has to change.

  • Landon Bryce

    Sparkle Obama:

    Please notice that you are unable to find a single point on which my logic can be assailed, on which my facts can be critiqued, on which I am wrong in any way. I hurt your feelings. I don’t care. I might care about why if you could tell me. I am learning from the people I argue with, whether you can see that or not. You’re just being a crybaby. You have yet to offer any support for your invective. Please, keep dishing it out– it’s funny to have so infuriated you that think your childish tantrums add anything to the discussion– but, know that your inability to criticize me in any meaningful way means that I win before we even begin.

    Which is fun, but an actual challenge is more fun.

  • getreal

    I’ve heard it all the most vicious bully on this thread is asking people to be decent. This guy chases people off the site so much so people are in mass standing up to him and now he asks people to be decent to him. Trust me he is no victim here is an example of how he attacks for days anyone who he feels is unworthy to be here straights, gay christians, and anyone who disagrees with him. Read how increasing ugly his attacks get and go through the site this guy does this almost every day. He is no victim, he can dish it out but can’t take it.

    the fireworks start around 101

  • getreal

    @james alexandr: Oh good for you bringing the positivity back I should take your cue.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Anthony in Nashville:

    Probably more like a steaming hot pile. ;-)

  • Chitown Kev


    stay on topic getreal, LOL. As Anthony pointed out, it’s enough of a hot mess as it is.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @sparkle obama:

    Who asked you for your two-cents worth and when did I ever attack your sorry ass in the past?

    Got a problem with old honkeys, do you?

  • Chitown Kev

    @Anthony in Nashville:

    I don’t know what makes you think you’re so special, Miss Thang (no offense intended), we’re out here doing body blows while you’re filing your fingernails.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    @Chitown Kev:

    I get around lol. I usually lurk but lately I’ve been trying to put my two cents in.

    Normally I would have checked Queerty earlier in the day but I think the tone for the “discussion” has already been set so I’ll sit this one out.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Chitown Kev:

    Oh, let her stir the shit, Kev.

    You know she loves it. She had a fucking ball last night.

    Her life would be dullsville if she didn’t have me to liven it up for her. lol

  • getreal

    @Chitown Kev: You are right . I will stick to the topic

    @sparkle obama: I could tell your messages was meant to be witty not mean.

  • sparkle obama

    @Charles J. Mueller:

    come on now, “old honkies” are nice!
    my dad is an old honky.
    the only time we ever heard that word in our house was on “the jeffersons”.

    mother is going swimming now!
    please don’t play with my makeup, children!

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Anthony in Nashville:

    One thing’s for sure, Anthony, it’s never dull around here. ;-P

  • Chitown Kev

    Jeez, where are the Mormon trolls? No, let me not talk them up…

  • anderson cooper is my future husband

    Charles j. Mueller is a twit and a douchebage this is what being nice to him gets you a long diatribe where he bitches and moans. Were all sick of it and you. We are sick of you acting like you run this site. You are an old bully who constantly uses the race card or the hitler card. You are livein anyone life up but your own. Your just a bitter old queen with no life and hold these boards hostage with your long rambling stories and your tantrums.

    (charles being charles starting an argument out of nothing for no reason)
    “Well, here’s my position. I’m not believe in marriage, straight or gay. I’m not married myself. I have an ‘unhusband’ and I use the term ‘unhusband’ to disturb patriarchal associations in our relationship. We’ve been happily unmarried for almost twenty years. So, I don’t necessarily see that marriage will bring the kind of benefits the gay and lesbian community thinks it will gain.”
    Well, here’s my position…and that of 40,000 other bi-national couples like myself who cannot bring the families into the US because we are not allowed to be married in the eyes of the law…
    How fucking cavalier, uncaring and rude of you! You throw millions of gay who do want to get married and enjoy the same benefits our straight brothers and sisters enjoy under the bus and in the next breath, tell how we are supposed to deal with you??? Who the fuck are you, anyway? What are your credentials?
    Over six long years, my Philippine partner and I have been separated all because of people like you who don’t need or want marriage, and feel that no one else should have it either.
    Vanila? Chocolate? Strawberry? Or, is supposed to be one flavor fits all according to the dictates of one Renee Martin, Queenof the Roost.
    Bad enough we have to take the shit the church and the Mormons dish out to us, but when one of our own kind do it to us, it’s one bitter, fucking pill to swallow, I gotta tell you.
    I hate to say this, lady, but you come across as a castrating man-hater who is just looking for an excuse to scream racist at anyone who disagrees with you.
    You would deny me my civil-rights while lecturing gays on how they should be building bridges and kissing the ass of an angry, divisive lady like you? (Your cue to scream racist at me too).
    You know what? I don’t really give a good shit what you think of the likes of me. And if you want to ue that racist sword you love to swing, then go for it.
    With friends like you, I sure don’t need enemies, thank you very much.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Mention the word pedophile and old ACIMFH pops out of the woodwork like borsht through a doily.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    @Charles J. Mueller:

    That is true, but there are certain topics that are guaranteed to be “platinum posts”

    a. anything race-related
    b. Prop 8 blame game/hating on gay “leadership”
    c. butch vs femme gays

  • kevin (not that one)

    Some points I think Renee and others in her philosophical clique get wrong and have gotten wrong for some time now:

    1. “It’s racial appropriation”
    You mean like MLK Jr. and countless leaders in the civil rights struggle constantly referring to the AA community as “Israelites” and calling on the “pharoahs” to “let my people go” throughout the whole struggle? How do you think Jews felt when their history and identity was coopted by the AA civil rights struggle in the 1960s?

    But here’s my point: SO WHAT. Ever hear that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery? Did it really pick anyone’s pocket when MLK Jr. appropriated the story of Moses leading the Israelite people to the promised land? The LGBT community is simply following in the footsteps of every civil rights movement in the history of the US by taking up where the last movement left off. Most of us know the difference between relating the LGBT struggle to earlier ones and claiming that they are one and the same. And since some people think in literal terms, it needs to be said that “Gay is the New Black” is a METAPHOR…hello?! If you can’t see the meaning of the metaphor, then there’s something wrong with your logic.

    2. “Gayness is not just about a white identity”
    No it’s not, but you must admit that there are plenty of homophobic heterosexuals who absolutely want you to think it is. Many of these homophobes are/have ALWAYS been on the Left and belong to a variety of Left factions, such as “national liberation movements”. We have seen over and over Black Nationalists, like Khalid Mohammed of the NOI, make statements such as “There was no homosexuality in Africa. Homosexuality and other freakishness were introduced by the white European devil.” It’s homobigotry such as this that causes some black LGBTs refer to themselves as “same gender loving” or “down low” intentionally to separate themselves from those who are perceived as being the “white gay community”. This isn’t liberation, but capitulation to tribalism and fear. (And indeed, it’s the same identity politics that evangelical leaders promote to fill church pews and collection plates…and on the left it’s academics looking for tenure and grant monies.)

    Time and time again, whenever a reactionary movement needs to solidify its tribal politics, it often persecutes gays within their community by painting them as tools of the oppressors. Factions of the international Communist Party did this for decades, evangelical bigots in Uganda are doing it (see Box Turtle Bulletin coverage), and Palestinian Islamists are doing this to queer Arabs by saying they are Israeli collaborators.

    3. “Using white privilege as a weight to sling around, basically saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. You’re just like me!'”
    Wow. This reveals such a lack of understanding about the LGBT community and the marriage equality movement it is truly astonishing this person claims to be our ally. You know, who is white-washing now? How many people of color did Renee just white-wash out of the many rallies attended and organized by people of color, like Andrea Shorter, I’ve attended in the last 4 years? Renee touches on privilege, but completely misses the mark. In the LGBT community, issues concering privilege revolve more around class and gender then they do race. Wealthy LGBTs, like wealthy heterosexuals, still have more room to move than those of us who are middle or working class. And many men remain closeted and/or anti-“queen” because they are holding on to straight male privilege (i.e., “straight acting”).

    4. “Take a page from feminism and realize that the personal is political.”
    No Renee, the personal is not political and neither should it be. Gay people’s personal lives have been politicized for as long as we can remember. We want a non-politicized identity, JUST LIKE YOU STRAIGHTS ENJOY. The equality movement, as an ideal to work towards, for the LGBT community isn’t open ended. It has an expiration date: namely when our private lives are not longer politicized. Then, and only then, can we choose to be engaged in politics or not – not forced to in order to stop government-sanctioned queer bashing.

    I also question, in the age of Sarah Palin and “Feminists for Life”, what feminism even is anymore. What I do know is that feminists have never been huge supporters of the LGBT community (remember the “lavendar menace”?) If this wasn’t the case, then we would have no need for “Camp Trans” at the Michigan Womyns Fest. And whereas the gay male community has always been pro-sex, the traditional (1st, 2nd wave) feminist community has been as reactionary as the Christian Right – even working side by side with them to ban pornography and crack down on sex workers. And leave it to a feminist to rag on a drag queen for being “misogynistic”.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Chitown Kev:

    I know. All you have to do is think the word…

    and they appear, as if by magic.

    You saw what happened when I used the word pedophile, didn’t you” :-0

  • Renee

    @Gabriel: It is the history of the people of the African Diaspora. SO there.

  • Chitown Kev

    @kevin (not that one):

    Boy, that class issue is a doozy. Peterlis and Wockner are just too many things setting that one off against EQCA, for example. Even got Dan Savage piling on to that one.

    Damn good post, I need to take it apart a little.

  • d_m_s_r

    Funny how no one mentions that the Stonewall riots were largely carried out by young blacks and latinos… I almost shat when I read the “as it was in the past” thing, glad that didn’t go through.

  • Chitown Kev


    That’s pretty much acknowledged, though. The few pictures from that night were whitewashed, but who actually participated in the riots is not.

  • Chitown Kev

    @kevin (not that one):

    Yeah, we have co-opted a lot of Jewish history. The concept of diaspora, for example (not that ours was any less real then theirs). Ghettos (hell, everybody’s coopted that from the Jews).

  • Chitown Kev

    @kevin (not that one):

    But…only in metaphor and form and not in substance.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    @kevin (not that one):

    I told myself I was staying out of it, but I agree with your point about the tendency of nationalists or “conscious” blacks to want to act like there are no gay black people. Huey Newton is the obvious exception. I think it is because oppressed people always need someone to feel superior to and gays have always fit that bill.

    I feel your comment about appropriation is good also. My take in on it that too many black people want to win first prize in the Oppression Olympics and any comparison to our experience is sensitive because

    a. blacks have seen other groups “inspired” by the civil rights movement and they are perceived to have made greater progress in a shorter period of time. Examples being Latinos, gays, women, and Asians. Which goes to …..

    b. this country has not really dealt with slavery. I’m not saying conditions for black people haven’t improved but there are some serious scars that remain. I won’t go further except to say there is a great deal of resentment among some blacks and I doubt the necessary “healing” will take place in my lifetime.

  • Mike

    How can one doubt that racism exists in the Marriage Equality debate, when so few people of color are actively courted to participate in leadership roles? Moreover, over time the historical context of the Stonewall riots seems to have been whitewashed. The Stonewall riots of ’69, were started largely by working class Latino and African American cross dressing and transgendered individuals; yet, few faces of color are present in the photos taken late that June. I’m not denying the existence of homophobia and anti-gay bigotry, but among the many amazing GLBT black leaders, few have found a spot atop the Marriage Equality movement.

    Having said that, there has been an opportunity lost to actually weave the fight for Marriage equality into the larger tapestry of civil rights, including Employment and Housing non-discrimination acts.

    What is really interesting about this debate is that it distracts from another, possibly larger, truth. As far as 8 goes, it was a systemic breakdown by the government that got us here. If every civil rights struggle was put to a vote, was reduced to a question on a ballot, we would enjoy few that we have today, and we may not presently have the first African American man serving as president and living in the house built upon the backs of slaves.

    There are so many ways to reach through this, now that this particular bell has been wrung. What do we share in common as communities? One is the notion of what defines a family. While Churches and organizations like Focus on the family argues vehemently for the strict nucular family, both communities have done much to demonstrate that family is not necessarily defined by a father and a mother, but by an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, adoptive mothers and fathers. Both communities recognize that a family is bound not by traditional structures, but by multiple structures, and it is love that binds.

    By reframing the argument and recognizing that it is the government’s lack of interest to apply the 13th and 14th amendments of the constitution to protect a marginalized people, there is plenty of hope to build a bridge between communities.

  • james alexandr




  • Quakerchica

    Didn’t Audre Lorde say that “you cannot be black and gay, and live in the black community?” Didn’t Bayard Rustin get written out of the narrative of the Black civil right’s movement because he was gay and the preachers didn’t want to acknowledge that a black GAY man is the SOLE reason Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil right’s movement was such a success? Also, didn’t the black community pretty much shun Baldwin so bad that he left the States for the second time? Martin, let’s be real here for just a second: the Black heterosexual community is homophobic for the same reason the White community is racist. Black community knows full well that GLBT marriages do not just benefit the White community, but their own community as well. As a black woman, you cannot have attended a Black church without least 10 Black GLBT members. Black people know about the Black GLBT community since everyone has a GLBT relative, friend, or church member. They know that we(GLBT) deserve the same rights but they are just bull shitting the same way the White community use to (though some still do) bull shit about the rights of Black people. I am just astounded that Martin could just pretend as though the GLBT civil right’s community is co-opting the Black civil rights movement when the movement’s greatest organizers were Black GLBT! Black GBLT have fought hard for the rights of the Black community and now all we ask is that you help us gain our equality.
    Black GLBT has done and continues to do MORE THEN THEIR FARE SHARE to uplift the Black community; we have written your greatest novels music, plays, and we taught you how to gain your civil rights (the famous bus boycott in Alabama? Rustin modeled it after the boycott he ran in Philadelphia some years before the Montegomery boycott). We only asked that we be treated with respect and given the same rights that all Americans enjoy. But all the we have received in return is violence (Martin, remember Sakia Gunn, Ronnie Perry, Kevin Aviance, Michael Sandy, and Steen Fenrich), condemnation from Black religious leaders, and lack of respect for Black GLBT families. The truth is that the Black community needs to stop lying and accept that they need to change their homophobic attitudes and practices. In this case, the GLBT community has done nothing to warrant all this condemnation from the Black community. As members of the Black community, Martin and I both know this to be true. The Black community owes it to the Black GLBT community to aid in GLBT marriage equality.

  • somethingawful


    lol you must have alot of patience to deal with all this.

    But anyway as a black gay person myself and as someone who’s usually around many others I agree with you and many others do too.

  • blake

    @Landon Bryce:

    Absolute [email protected] “No powerful gay people fight against the equality of black people.” That’s a crock. There are plenty of gay people on this site who regularly engage in anti-black dialogue. Similarly, there are plenty of powerful, openly and closeted gay people who work against the interests of people of color.

    Blaming black gays for the homophobia of straight African-Americans is nuts. Do white gays take ownership of white straight homophobes?

    It’s truly disgusting to that you would make black gays the fall guys for homophobia. From whence does homophobia in the African-American community come? The same place as it does in the white community.

    BTW, I’m sure that Lawrence King, who was black, feels a great deal of relief that his murder was a white teenage homophobic jerk. Landon, do you take personal responsibility for hte murderous homophobia of Lawrence King’s killer?

  • blake

    @Charles J. Mueller:

    It’s pretty obvious that you didn’t read Renee’s argument thoroughly. Ms. Martin was not opposing gay marriage. She stated that there are other areas where GLB people can collaborate effectively with other people. In particular, ENDA could gather more immediate support through a coalition of people.

    That’s called strategic thinking, help the majority of people who are oppressed then move to the next goal. In no way does that take away from a person’s right to fight for marriage rights. You are free to work on marriage rights while others fight for things that are of equal or more importance to them. Why is that so hard to believe?

    Marriage rights may be vitally important to you but for others equal employment rights take precedence. Don’t those people have a right to fight for what is important to them.


    Side note: Ms. Renee Martin may be Canadian but that does not separate her from the African-American experience, which actually reflects the experience of the African diaspora in the Americas.

    The majority of enslaved Africans were taken to Latin America. Many blacks escaped American slavery by emigrating to Canada. The vicious nature of African slavery in the U.S. was similar to the cruelty endured by Africans in other parts of the America from Mexico to Cuba to Brazil to Jamaica and on. Many Latin American countries play games with race, pretending to be racial democracies in stark contrast to the vicious reality of how race and color dominate acceptance, wealth, poverty, and social mobility.

    It’s not up to white people to tell black people how they should perceive their identity and selves any more than it is for straight people to tell gays how they should perceive their own identities. Don’t many straight people continue to tell gays that homosexuality is a choice?

  • D, C, D!

    “People with that kind of poisonous, hateful, vitriol spewing out of their mouths don’t belong on a site like this.”

    Oh, the IRONY is too thick here, Charlie.

    And for the record I wasn’t even thinking of calling you a “pedophile,” but you do seem a little defensive…

  • rick

    blacks were expected to accept the fact they were slaves and had no rights. blacks were then freed and had to fight for their rights. gays are still in the slave stage where they are expected to accept that they have no rights.

    interestingly both slavery and anti gay rights are both bible based.

  • anderson cooper is my future husband

    @D, C, D!: Whenever anyone mentions pedophiles even when the subject is pedophiles he jumps in and gets really defensive and accuses people of calling him a pedophile which seems strange… just saying. The irony was not lost on people hypocrites are getting called out.

  • James

    Although I don’t think Rick meant offense with his comment, it’s hyperbolic statements like his that make any comparisons between the gay rights movement and the black rights movement difficult.

  • Gabriel


    If we’re talking about appropriation it’s legitimate to bring up a foreigner making use of United States history to slam American queers. Canadians generally don’t like it when we butt our noses in their business. Let’s have a little reciprocity.

    “The majority of enslaved Africans were taken to Latin America.”

    It wasn’t just a majority, it was closer to 95%.

    “The vicious nature of African slavery in the U.S. was similar to the cruelty endured by Africans in other parts of the America from Mexico to Cuba to Brazil to Jamaica and on.”

    Slavery was indeed horrific in the US. It was even worse in Latin America and especially the Carribean. That is why African Americans now make up over a third of all people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere. Let’s be historically accurate, ok?

  • RainaWeather



  • somethingawful


    Oh wow. This is perfect. I would add on white gay people getting huffy in discussions about race to that list too.

  • Chitown Kev


    Question: What do you call a wealthy gay guy?
    Answer: A faggot.

    Basically I just appropriated Malcolm X’s line, “What do you call a black man with a PHD? A nigger.

    Form and essence is exactly the same. But the substance is our experience

  • somethingawful

    I didn’t want to get into this debate but….

    @Chitown Kev:

    That comparision doesn’t fit or make sense since glb people haven’t been oppressed economically the same way black people have and it’s actually a stereotype that all gay people are (white,) rich and control the media/fashion.

    So it’s not particularly helpful either.

  • Chitown Kev


    No, but a black man (or any man for that matter) with a PHD is a big fucking deal, just as a rich gay guy would be (I did not specify ethnicity of said gay guy). It doesn’t matter what type of pinnacle you reach in life. Any black person (use WEB DuBois) will always be a nigger in the context of the power structure. that was Malcolm’s point.

    Think of, say Rupert Everett or Greg Louganis or James Baldwin or (loathe as people are to talk about this one) Luther Vandross for that matter.

  • somethingawful

    @Chitown Kev:

    “No, but a black man (or any man for that matter) with a PHD is a big fucking deal, just as a rich gay guy would be”

    Not really. David Geffen is a gay billionaire (he’s richer than any black billionaire ever has been) and I don’t think any heads have exploded yet. There are a few others who are pretty up there but I don’t know them off the top of my head.

    I get what you’re trying to do but it just doesn’t work out the same way imo. Maybe if he was flamboyant?

  • getreal

    I think people of all races should feel they have something meaningful to contribute to discussions of race. I don’t feel that as a black person people of other ethnicities are some not supposed to have an opinion on race politics and we should all try to see the parallels between LGBT people and people of color in this country. Both populations have a history and a present of oppression and marginalization.

  • blake


    Uh, so you just made my point.

    1) The majority of kidnapped Africans were taken to Latin America. Ninety-five percent is a majority? Right?

    2) Where did I say that slavery in Latin America was easier than in the U.S.? That said, many Latin American countries didn’t develop Jim Crow or One Drop Rule laws. Also, slavery ended sooner in Mexico and other Caribbean countries before the U.S.

    You seem to want to pick a fight but have no real reason for it and can’t point to any real inaccuracies in what I’ve said.

  • Sebbe


  • Berry

    This is a great post and has made me fall in love with Queerty all over again. It’s also made me realize that I just need to stop reading the comments on this site. For every Blake there are simply too many sad creepy men pouring their racism and anger all over everything.

    Thank you Japh.

  • Chitown Kev


    Why do you describe the sad creepy men on this site in that way?
    Everyone else is letting their shit out (and it has to be let out) please do the same. Personally, I’d rather know than not know, then I know what I’m working with.

  • Chitown Kev

    “sad creepy men”-should have quotes around it.

  • rogue dandelion

    I think renee willfully misunderstands the slogan “gay is the new black” I agree, it isn’t the best slogan, but to say it is disgusting and racist- that is looking for offense. It just means that in an era where we have our first black president, and even covert racism spells the end of broadcast careers, it is still socially acceptable to say “I don’t approve of homosexuality.” The people saying this are not in fringes groups, these are religious and political leaders, senators and generals. It remains acceptable to openly discriminate against LGBT people.

    On another note, I just find it so offensive that someone would presume to say, as she did, well marriage sucks so why would you want to be able to get married? As if we don’t have the right to decide how successful our marriages would be, of what utility they would be in our community. Fighting for equal rights isn’t some scary homonormative agenda, it is simply a moral imperative.
    I agree ENDA should take centers focus, but congressional democrats our spineless cowards- it looks like a very difficult fight up ahead.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @D, C, D!:

    There is a word for people like you, who wish someone you have never met and know nothing about, to be dead.

    That word is “creep”.

    It fits you to a “T”

  • Charles J. Mueller


    “What civil rights action do you propose for those that don’t want long term relationships?”

    What a redundant, asinine question?

    An out and proud black woman comedian hit the nail on the head when she said…

    “If you don’t believe in same sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex.”

    Any problem here?

  • Charles J. Mueller


    “Ms. Martin was not opposing gay marriage”

    If she isn’t, that was a pretty long rant she went on against SSM. She devoted a whole, long paragraph to it.

  • getreal

    Let’s stick to the issues the same sad creepy people take every thread and make it about them and their baggage. Let’s stick to the issue of black vs gay civil rights.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    “Let’s stick to the issue of black vs gay civil rights.”

    Here come de judge! Here come de judge!

    Yes, indeed You should try take your own advice instead of constantly making innuendos about the “same sad creepy people”.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, your baggage is pretty copious and heavy too.

    No one said a fucking word to you today, but you just couldn’t resist stirring the shit pot with your snide asides and innuendos, even after ChitownKev asked you to stay on topic, could you?

    Even when people try to stay out of your way, that’s just not good enough for you, is it?

  • getreal

    Your days of bullying people on these threads is over. People are sick of reading your pathetic attacks. So far you have attacked today nick, anderson cooper, D,C,D, Renee, and Sparkle Obama. It’s enough. Talk about the issues or shut up!

  • Charles J. Mueller


    You are one twisted sister.

    Had you read the entire thread, instead of cherry-picking, as is your custom, you would have seen that D,C,D, is the same person as Die, Charles, Die, whose post was taken down by Queerty for wishing me dead, not once, but twice. and

    This post came from out of nowhere and without provocation. That person has never posted on these threads before, at least under that name, so perhaps you can explain to me, in your usual twisted fashion, just how it was that I attacked him, as you claim?

    When you sling shit at people, you must expect to get some shit slung back at you.

    And if you support and back people who make those kind of comments on this thread, then you are a very sick person who needs help badly.

    As to my responses to Nick, Anderson Cooper, Renee and Sparkle Obama, I am as free to make rebuttals to any comments on these threads as you are. It’s a free country, which seem to keep forgetting, so get over yourself. *snap*

    You don’t own this site. So, how about you STFU for a change?

  • HM

    I have no problem with the gay rights movement comparing themselves to the black civil rights movement. The problem? There are so many gay people of color (especially blacks and asians) who have a problem with race relations in the gay community. I doubt ignoring gay people of color is the intention of many white gay people but they need to remember that when they’re comparing the two movements that there are black LGBTQ people out there. Statements like “gay is the new black” comes off as disrespectful for many black lgbtq people especially when many of them feel invisible to the rest of the gay community. That statement seems to seal the deal of invisibility.

    Whether or not you think people should have a problem with the slogan, its not the banter from black straights you should worry about but the anger from many black lgbtqs. The gay rights movement does NOT have room and time to handle such infighting. Best to either deal with why the slogan would be offensive or just drop it altogether.

    For many blacks out there, included black lgbtq people, the black civil rights movement hasn’t ended. More than a hundred black people have recently been stripped of their properties for driving while black in a town not even three hours away from me for godsakes. And don’t even let me get started on the drug war (the War Against Blacks, Latinos, and the Underclass).

    I think marriage is important but we’re skipping too many steps here. Lets get the ENDA passed. Get our racial-class issues at least half straight so we can move on to strike down DADT. Prop up a civil unions system were we can then strike down DOMA.

  • getreal

    @Charles J. Mueller: No I but more and more readers of this site are taking issue with the fact that you constantly make personal attacks that is why. I could post about 10 links of you getting unnecessarily personal with people attacking them without even properly reading their posts. I’m not going to waste my time on you anymore. You are obviously are just an angry old man with an impulse control problem who has to fabricate these vendettas as a way of feeling important and smart so much so that people on the site en-masse are starting to take issue with you. I’m done you can’t get blood from a stone. Keep attacking and picking on people and more and more people will continue to take issue with it.

    Now back to the discussion.

  • Jeffrey

    @Renee- I kind of figured if I disagreed with you that you would react this way. If you had a good rebuttal to what I wrote you wouldn’t have to resort to name calling. So I am a racist? Be careful while you try to take the splinter out of my eye that you don’t ignore the log in your own. It is a very serious thing to charge someone with being a racist and you have no call to hurl that at me over what I said. You seem to be very angry at white people in general, while it might be better to just be angry at the specific ones who have done you wrong.
    But I know how this game goes. You call me a racist and then I try to defend myself and that just proves that I am unaware of what a huge racist I am.
    So let’s just get it over with:
    Bringing up the fact that my friends, some of whom are black, disagree with your misguided thinking does not make me a racist. We have discussed this very subject at length and none of them feels as you do. They understand why some blacks feel that way but they don’t think it is valid and they don’t agree. I don’t either. You sound as if you are trying to be a spokesperson for the black community and I was trying to point out that I think you are a minority within a minority.
    If I had instead said something like “all of my black friends agree with you completely”, I am certain that you would not call me a racist for bringing my friends into the discussion. It is only because we disagree that you call me names. Nice.

    Despite the ‘white privilege’ that allows me to skip blissfully through life while whistling a happy tune, I do happen to be gay. And that means I have been physically assaulted, verbally abused, denied jobs and denigrated behind my back by people who appear to be my friends when I am in the room. Because I have experienced these things, I have a tiny window into what life must be like for someone of color. No, I don’t begin to profess to know everything about what it is really like, but I know something about it. And, while I have been taught that everyone is equal and it makes perfect sense to me, this identification with other oppressed people makes it incomprehensible for me to treat others as inferior because of some immutable characteristic. I would NEVER walk into a voting booth and mark a box to take away any person’s civil rights. All I expect from others is that they treat me the same way. This feeling of empathy seems to be lost on an awful lot of people who belong to one minority group or another. Does church teaching necessarily supercede that lesson or is religion just an excuse that bigots use to justify their bigotry?

    Reading your responses in the interview and especially your responses to the comments reminds me of a guy I used to work with. He was black, he was angry, he had an enormous sense of entitlement and he saw racism wherever he went. If he got bad service in a restaurant, the server was a racist. If a doorman didn’t open a door fast enough, the doorman was a racist. If our boss didn’t give him a big enough raise or didn’t praise him constantly, the boss was a racist. He never got any respect! He created lots of drama and he loved casting himself as the victim. What he never noticed is that there were other black people who worked with us and they weren’t seeing the same things. We often ate together and we all, black and white, got the same service as him. The doorman was slow to open the door for all of us because the doorman was slow and wasn’t paying attention. What everyone around him knew, the white folks and the black folks, was that he was an assh*le and he got treated exactly as he deserved to be treated, the way he treated everyone else.
    Now, I’m not calling you an assh*le. I don’t know you well enough to call you names and besides, that would make me a racist. I was just reminded of that guy as I read your posts.

  • getreal

    @HM: It is a complicated issue. I think it is admirable that have posted about the need to end infighting. There is so much animosity on this site and it seems like it would be better to channel it not towards each other but towards inequality.

  • strumpetwindsock

    Sorry… I know this is a bit off-topic, but I have to laugh every time I hear an American complaining about the rest of the world interfering in their business.

    Does your country have copyright on the entire world’s LGBT and civil rights movements? Somebody had better inform Linton Kwesi Johnson. Ms Martin didn’t say a damn thing about the United States at all. How is it that when someone from another country comments on the LGBT movement her opinion is not valid because she is a foreigner?

    Frankly the criticism of Ms. Martin is a bit of a Mexican standoff, IMO.

    As for the actual issue… I don’t think there is one answer because it is something some people are going to take offense at, and others are not. I can see the parallels, but I can also see how some might think it insensitive to reduce someone else’s social struggle to a quick sound byte for and appropriate it as our own. Personally, it’s a slogan I feel awkward about, but that’s just me.

    If the strength, suffering and legacy of the LGBT movements are as rock solid as many of the posters here say (and I believe there is great strength there) why do we have to validate ourselves by appropriating someone else’s movement in the first place.

    Of course, this is not the first time this has been done:

  • strumpetwindsock

    I should add… drawing parallels between the two movements in what some may consider a trite manner (as sound bytes and slogans are) actually undercuts things when people need to do real analysis and cooperate on issues of common concern to the LGB, anti-racism, labour, poor and other social movements.

  • Sapphocrat

    Here’s the meat of it, Renee, whether you like it or not:

    “I’m not believe [sic] in marriage, straight or gay. I’m not married myself. I have an ‘unhusband’ and I use the term ‘unhusband’ to disturb patriarchal associations in our relationship. We’ve been happily unmarried for almost twenty years. So, I don’t necessarily see that marriage will bring the kind of benefits the gay and lesbian community thinks it will gain.”

    Black, white, Canadian, what-the-hell-ever, doesn’t matter a whit. That you don’t “believe in marriage” makes your agenda crystal clear, and your position — on MARRIAGE — irrelevant. You are working AGAINST those of us who cherish our marriages (and marriages-to-be), which you have tossed to the curb via some arcane, circa-1970s, pseudo-feminist, anti-marriage philosophy which basically takes a big, steaming dump over an institution I hold dear.

    The black-white divide — with exists in EVERY community — has nothing to do with *your* narrow, anti-marriage views.

    Now, if you want to talk about bridging the black-white divide, I’m all ears, and more than willing to learn. As long as you keep YOUR views on MY marriage — and what “benefits” it will bring ME — out of it.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Lady, your modus operandi is so transparent that it is pathetic and downright laughable.

    Like all the christers and Mormons who parade their hatred for LGBT people cloaked under the mantle of religion, you profess yourself to be a political activist for LGBT rights while wrapping yourself in the flag of self-righteousness and condemnation for anyone who disagrees with you or your rather hilarious ideas and carryings-on.

    You have come onto these threads preaching your christer message of love, patience, tolerance and turning the other cheek on everyone on these threads like some noble convent nun, yet have failed, miserably, to meet any one of those virtues you advocate for others to follow, but some strange reason that escapes me, you seem to feel exempted from following yourself.

    “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” seems to be your mantra, judging by your actions and speech on these threads.

    Self-righteously, you have lashed out at others on these threads that do not accept your sky-daddy and fairy tale stories of pixies, ghosts and hobgoblins. You fiercely defend your right to do so, while violently trashing anyone else’s right to be a non-believer, using all of the familiar insults, slurs and epithets on people’s character and good name to support your own bias and blindness to the rights of others. No believer in live and let live, you.

    You have called others liars, while your own nose continues to grow longer with each and every posting you make. The lie you told about me attacking “Die, Charles, Die” who wished me dead earlier today, is a perfect example.

    Your unwillingness to allow me to defend myself from those who attack me for wanting same-sex marriage, which comes under the heading of civil-rights, would indicate that you only support the right of some people to marry, but not those you deem inferior to yourself.

    It’s apparently okay for you to attack, but it not ok for me to make a rebuttal. Kind of a double standard, wouldn’t you say? Even a man standing on trial, has the right to defend himself. Why do you seem to have such a problem with that? Only the Prosecuting Attorney (you) gets to speak?

    Your repeated references to my being an old are ageist.

    Your constant references to my being an old man, are sexist.

    Your many, many charges of racism against others on these threads suggest that you, yourself, are guilty of reverse-racism. Of all the derogatory things you have said to me over the past few months, I am surprise that you haven’t yet slung the term “honkey” at me. Perhaps this writing will be just the justification you require in order to do so with impunity.

    You talk the good talk about freedom of speech for all, while telling me to shut up and make stupid, child-like comments like this one…”Your days of bullying people on these threads is over.”

    Oh, yeah? And just how do you plan on implementing and carrying out that edict (threat), Mother Superior? Gonna take away my prayer beads, are ya?

    You keep telling me, over and over, “I’m not going to waste my time on you anymore.”

    Oh, Lord, if only you would keep your promises? Notice your nose getting any longer?

    From your post No 139, “You are obviously are just an angry old man with an impulse control problem.”

    We have already established that the term “angry old man” is ageist and sexist. And now that Renee has clarified for us that the meaning of the word angry = racist, like you kind clarification for us that christer = racist, I will now inquire of you if that was a racist remark?

    Perhaps you would be so good as to provide the rest of us paeans whose command of the English language seems to be languishing, a list of synonyms for the word racist so that we will be more informed and politically correct in our future posts?

    And “impulse control problem”? How quaint? Where did you dig that one up? And when may I expect you to inquire if I have a “continence control problem”, as well?

    I submit, that you are a charlatan, a cheat and a fraud. You are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    And now we return you to your regularly scheduled program.

  • Mister C

    WOW……This has been one emotional rollercoaster reading these comments. But I must say this is sad because it’s not a discussion. It’s just what Queerty titled the post”Your Rights -vs-Mines and look at most responses a back and forth of radical gay racial madness. This is not real dialogue nor is the piece I’ve learned the tricks on this when we were in the Democratic primary for President and all Queerty would do is draft post after post about Blacks being Homophobic and OMG the responses would go in the 100’s just to read some of the worst comments ever coming from Gay people i.e. (Churchill-Y,etc). And honestly it doesn’t serve any purpose at all.

    Bottom line Marriage, or Union equality should be for all PLAIN AND SIMPLE. And alot of us with our prejudices need to leave them at home and fight on a UNITED front because all this about Blacks is the reason Prop 8 failed is BULLSHIT plain and simple. You know why? It’s not about percentage it’s all about non-compassion and a Horrific belief of IDEOLOGY.

    If 1 Caucasian voted for Prop 8, Then there are Caucasian Homophobes
    If 1 African American voted for Prop 8, Then there are African American Homophobes
    If 1 Hispanic American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Hispanic American Homophobes
    If 1 Asian American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Asian American Homophobes
    If 1 Native American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Native American Homophobes


    And do you really think with all of us trying to drive a bus in many different directions we can get anything achieved? HELL NO! In order to do this we must come together as one and put aside personal BULLSHIT…..Until then Queerty will always be inclined to pull the prejudices out of us with such post and Here we go again with no solution but to only repeat it all again……..Your Rights vs. Mines and guess what we still will not have the opportunity to be civilly attached to the one we love. Then where are we????

    NOWHERE! But back in the wilderness

    Think About it Peoples!

  • strumpetwindsock


    I am with you on the right to marry, but I don’t think Ms. Martin’s position on marriage is any more narrow than my own – she seems to have a strong conviction on the issue, as I do, and would hope that people don’t think my position is narrow.

    I know plenty of people opposed to marriage for various reasons – religious, legal and anti-patriarchal. I am even willing to listen to someone’s argument that the marriage fight is the “wrong fight” for our movement (though I disagree with her on that point). Why? because there is very likely something there for me to learn and broaden my own position.

    As you say, you are all ears on the racism issue. I agree, and would only add that it is sometimes more important to listen and learn from those opinions we disagree with. After all, despite her position I wouldn’t assume she is actively fighting our committment to secure it for ourselves.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @anderson cooper is my future husband:

    And now that you have mastered the art of copy and paste, we can move on to your next lesson in Corel Word Perfect X4.


    PAGE 59


  • danny

    I’m sorry but this whole post and comment thread shows our complete inability of discussing race and sexuality in a complex and productive way.

    Renee’s comments are simply bombastic “critical studies” giberish…buzzwords from an “ethnic studies” course. Totally un-productive. The sad thing is that she has good’s just that they are lost amidst reactionary anger. S.A.D.

  • Buffy

    Oh FFS. Another person who has all their rights and chooses not to use them preaching to us about how silly we are to want them, and telling us how we’re going about things all wrong. Then she has the nerve to turn around and pretend she’s been somehow injured by us and our struggle. The fucking nerve!

  • Landon Bryce


    Dear Blake:

    Please find me anyplace where a white gay person has written that black people should not be entitled to the same legal rights as whites.

    Please find me an example of a time when a gay white person has, in this century, donated their time and money to try to take away the legal rights of black people.

    You will find many racist comments here, but no attempts to legally disenfranchise African American people.

    I can find you many examples of African American leaders, like Donna Brazile (oddly enough) and Leah Daughtry working hard to make sure that gays are not afforded the same rights as black people. Are black church leaders as odious as Mormons and Catholics when it comes to their anti-gay rhetoric? Of course not. Do all black church leaders fight against gays having the same legal rights that they do? Of course not. Do many of them? Of course.

    Denying people equal dignity, as Obama does to gays and many white gays do to blacks, is bigotry. It is awful. But it is not the same as seeking to deny people equal legal rights. If you cannot make this distinction, you have not thought seriously enough about this topic in engage in intelligent discussion.

    I do not blame black gays for black homophobia, although I can understand how a deliberately unsympathetic reading that ignored much of what I said would allow for that claim. I have read dozens of screeds from black gays blaming white gays for inadequate outreach to communities of color without recognizing that that outreach ultimately needs to come from them.

    I feel no responsibility for the murder of Larry King (who was biracial, actually– talk about appropriation) because I fought for years to protect queer youth. I would give my life to bring back him, Simmie Williams, or any of the queer kids of color who are murdered. As I wrote earlier, I think gay rights are trivial when compared to the needs of transgendered youth, who are openly despised and subject to violence in a way that today’s gays really are not anymore.

  • strumpetwindsock

    Well, as I said, I can see why some people might think it’s a bit insensitive to slap the struggle to end human slavery together with a throwaway pop-culture reference:

    Maybe it’s the white guy in me, but I don’t feel too comfortable equating myself with that movement that a lot of people gave their lives for. Personally, I think it’s wrong.

    But assuming I am just being squeamish (and I do recognise that some people have no problem with this at all) the fact remains that using this slogan has opened some wounds and created some new ones needlessly.

    Read this thread. Is this the best way to spend our energy when there are fires that need to be fought everywhere? For that reason alone it is a bad idea.

  • The Gay Numbers

    Use whatever will help you win. End of story.

  • The Gay Numbers

    Small follow up: Run over whoever gets in your way. Done.

  • BombasticMo

    I’m steering clear of the comments because they make me a little sad, but great article. I’m really glad you did the interview. It’s also really great to see that you’re willing to listen when people say you’re wrong.

    That’s a really admirable quality.

  • HM

    @Landon Bryce:

    I’d like to first note that I’m not one of those angry, overly politically correct colored people (aka, not stupid and touchy) :)


    I can’t help but to take serious offense with this. I’ve been openly gay since I was 14. I’ve been reading gay lit, columns, internet forums, etc, since then too and not once, not once have I heard or read about a group of black lgbtq people chastising white gays for the white homophobes who infringe on their lives because it IS mostly white homophobes who pull the strings when it comes to disinfranchising lgbt people.

    Now your reply may be “hey! we’re fighting against the mormon church aren’t we?!”

    My reply would be “I guess you aren’t fighting hard enough.”

    C’mon. Lets be honest here. I don’t know one white gay person who’s fighting the homophobic evengelical/mormon/republican machine because they’re “owning up and fighting against their white brethren”. They’re doing so because these white homophobes happen to be (racially and otherwise) every lgbt person’s greatest threat. Don’t blame me if trying to fry smaller fish (minority homophobes) is a waste of time and resources because they don’t have the political and social power, like whites do, to fuck everybody up.

    I’m not saying black homophobia or any minority homophobia is worse…in principle. But when it comes to reality, politics, overal social sciences, etc, black homophobia is child’s play compared to white homophobia. I get it. Inroads have been made with caucasians in America. Yet telling by the amazing power white homophobes hold over this country I believe we can conclude that white homophobes are a greater threat to lgbt people of all races then any one minority’s homophobes is a threat to any one elses. But how many minority gay people do you see shoving that up white gay people’s butts?

    Now if you’re angry that black lgbtq people could have done more to inflence the black vote for prop 8, then be angry. Why should you not be? But if No On Prop 8 is supposed to represent all lgbt people, in other words, all races within LGBTQ, then REPRESENT ALL LGBTQ PEOPLE. That means also reaching out to those “mean negros” and not just the safe secular liberal white people.

    And lastly, I don’t want to paint all black lgbtq people in one brush. I know there happens to be many black lgbtq people who are well off but a nice amount of us, perhaps even a majority, are born into broken homes whether financially or in a broken family. If you haven’t noticed by the hundreds (maybe thousands) of young black lgbtq kids and teens in homeless shelters and the tons of ads of black rentboys throughtout the internet, for many there comes a price for being black and gay. Something tells me a great many of black lgbtq people are putting more effort in trying to survive than march through Atlanta, Chicago, Comptom or wherever trying to teach black homophobes how to be nice.

  • HM


    Hey Jeff. I think my post 138 shines some light on the problem. Read it and think about it. Before you reply (I imagine you’ll give me your first post redux typing something like “it shouldn’t matter, the comparison is just right” and yadda yadda yadda, black lgbtq people hold the keys to the comparison and if a nice majority of them decide they want to withold the comparison for personal reasons, then you’ll have to comply or get a fight. Why? They are the “bridge”. Yeah I know, there a different kinds of black people. No borgish opinion. Nevertheless most black lgbt people I know from L.A. to Chicago, to Houston, to Atlanta, to NYC happen to have a problem with non-black lgbt people using the phrase “gay is the new black” and constantly appropriating the black civil rights stuggle. It derives from baggage that comes from race relations in the lgbt community. Now you may find this utterly stupid. Perhaps you see this as political correctness, infringing on your right to compare whatever struggle with the gay rights movement but fuck, its a problem. A BIG ONE. And it’ll cause trouble. And no matter how unfair you think it is it’ll keep causing infighting trouble. Needless trouble. And we’ll all be wasting our time while those sly sons of bitches pull nasty ones on us.

    So instead of dismissing Renee outright, lend an ear if only for a moment. Fuck what she has to say about marriage and try not to be so offended about the black womynist rants against the white oppressors. She gives excellent advice in her first four paragraphs.

  • Wayne

    Hatred is Hatred. Homophobia is Homophobia. It doesn’t matter if it’s Blacks or Whites who perpetrate it. It’s still wrong.

    And Coretta Scott King herself on several occassions spoke of the similarities of the Gay Rights Movement with that of the Civil Rights Movement. In fact Coretta said the Gay Rights Movement was a continuation of her Husbands’ legacy of Civil Rights.

    I guess Renee hates the views of Coretta Scott King just as much as she does white gay men?

  • Gabriel


    “Does your country have copyright on the entire world’s LGBT and civil rights movements? Somebody had better inform Linton Kwesi Johnson. Ms Martin didn’t say a damn thing about the United States at all. How is it that when someone from another country comments on the LGBT movement her opinion is not valid because she is a foreigner?”

    How about you actually read my posts, not to mention the original conversation between Japhy and Ms. Martin. Ms Martin says quite a bit about the Civil Rights movement in the United States: Bayard Rustin, the march on Washington, Jim Crow laws, those might have been clues for you. My point is that if the queer community drawing parallels to the Civil Rights movement is considered appropriation then it’s also appropriation if someone living outside of the US claims US history as their own. Nowhere did I say we have a copyright on LGBT or civil rights movements; that’s you twisting my words. Ms. Martin’s comments on the gay marriage debate in the US are not valid because, as others have pointed out, Ms. Martin is anti-marriage in general.

  • Wayne

    Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union,” she said. “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.
    • I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
    • I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.
    • We have to launch a national campaign against homophobia in the black community.
    • Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.
    • Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.

    Coretta Scott King

    (seems Renee’s views differ greatly from that of MLK and Coretta)

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Black people deserve our pity. Gay people are expendable.

    Since when were civil rights the sole domain of blacks? Why do so many black people – and especially terrified white people – jump into Brown v. Board of Education mode whenever the phrase civil rights comes up?

    Are you Asian? Too bad. Pregnant? You own fault. Hindu? Good luck. Handicapped? Loser! If you ain’t black, bitch, you don’t get jack shit from the government or the media or little old white women with 40-year old guilt.

    Did anybody notice that civil rights have been hijacked?

    A few definitions floating around the internet:

    * rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and certain Congressional acts, esp. as applied to an individual or a minority group.
    * the nonpolitical rights of a citizen ; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to United States citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress

    * The rights belonging to an individual by virtue of citizenship, especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination.

    And what of these two Amendments? Let’s take a gander, shall we?

    Amendment 13
    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
    Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Okay. Slavery bad (1). People with power will stop it(2).

    Amendment 14
    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    (Sections 3 through 5 just refer to traitors, insurrections, debt, and Congress passing laws to enforce this Amendment.)

    Were the 13th and 14th Amendments passed in response to the end of slavery? Yes. Were they later used for other farther reaching civil rights actions including other groups? Many many times. In fact, that second sentence of Section One of the Amendment, referred to as the Equal Protection Clause, has been the determining factor is numerous Supreme Court case that have protected what we today would see as civil rights, equal protections and access to citizens. After all, aren’t all men created equal? The “incorporation doctrine” is the view that the Bill of Rights (that’s the first ten Amendments of the US Constitution for those of you without the History channel…. or a high school diploma) regulating the federal government was pulled into the domain of State power restrictions by this Amendment.

    Although, Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not prevent segregation, so long as equal facilities were provided. The ever famous Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 struck finally down that separate but equal doctrine. Too bad Brown v. Board of Education is just a cardboard poster in the fight against civil unions in lieu of marriage equality.

    But I digress.

    There have been eight “Civil Rights Acts” in the federal government since these Amendments. 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991. Only a few of these directly specified race. None of them was about race alone.

    Let’s look at this another way. Martin Luther King, Jr., never spoke directly about gay rights. But his wife did (after his death). Coretta Scott King said “I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.” And “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.” And also “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Civil rights simply means equal application of rights granted by the civil government. Simple. The GAO has counted over 1000 rights automatically granted to person’s once they marry. In 1967, the US Supreme Court wrote in its response in Loving v. Virginia “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival….”.

    I’m a citizen.

    I’m not black.

    I still have rights, though.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Is it not interesting that those whose rights have been secured (Ms. Renee Martin comes to mind), are usually the very first to throw cold water on those not so fortunate to have those very same rights?

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Gabriel: Sorry man, that is nonsense.
    She said nothing about the integrity or jurisdiction of your country. She was talking about the movement and history, and as I said, you guys have no copyright to prevent others from talking about that at all.

    Given all the ACTUAL interfering your country in ours does it is laughable, really.

    Furthermore, as others here have already said, part of the black community here in Canada came to Canada fleeing slavery – they have just as much if not more right to speak about it than you may have – and Canadians have been involved in the civil rights movement from the underground railroad to Selma.

    Sorry.. your history IS our history. part of my family came up here during the revolutionary war. The father fought for the vermont militia while his sons were United Empire Loyalists. The war of 1812, The Indian Wars, the Cold War. Everything you do down there affects us, and even if it didn’t you have no call to dismiss her comments on such a shabby pretext.

    BTW, there is a great new book on the black story in Canada. The underground railroad notwithstanding, we don’t have a lot to be proud of either:

  • strumpetwindsock

    Oh, and did I forget your sub-prime fiasco, and pirate capitalist looting spree that trashed the entire world economy? I personally lost money on that one and it is still affecting my business.

    Do I not have the right to talk about that either?

  • Mister C

    WOW……This has been one emotional rollercoaster reading these comments. But I must say this is sad because it’s not a discussion. It’s just what Queerty titled the post”Your Rights -vs-Mines and look at most responses a back and forth of radical gay racial madness. This is not real dialogue nor is the piece I’ve learned the tricks on this when we were in the Democratic primary for President and all Queerty would do is draft post after post about Blacks being Homophobic and OMG the responses would go in the 100’s just to read some of the worst comments ever coming from Gay people i.e. (Churchill-Y,etc). And honestly it doesn’t serve any purpose at all.

    Bottom line Marriage, or Union equality should be for all PLAIN AND SIMPLE. And alot of us with our prejudices need to leave them at home and fight on a UNITED front because all this about Blacks is the reason Prop 8 failed is BULLSHIT plain and simple. You know why? It’s not about percentage it’s all about non-compassion and a Horrific belief of IDEOLOGY.

    If 1 Caucasian voted for Prop 8, Then there are Caucasian Homophobes
    If 1 African American voted for Prop 8, Then there are African American Homophobes
    If 1 Hispanic American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Hispanic American Homophobes
    If 1 Asian American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Asian American Homophobes
    If 1 Native American voted for Prop 8, Then there are Native American Homophobes


    And do you really think with all of us trying to drive a bus in many different directions we can get anything achieved? HELL NO! In order to do this we must come together as one and put aside personal BULLSHIT…..Until then Queerty will always be inclined to pull the prejudices out of us with such post and Here we go again with no solution but to only repeat it all again……..Your Rights vs. Mines and guess what we still will not have the opportunity to be civilly attached to the one we love. Then where are we????

    NOWHERE! But back in the wilderness

    Think About it Peoples!

  • WestCanuck

    Timmeeeyyy wrote:

    “The fight for marriage equality has nothing to do with heteronormative behavior, adoption of patriarchal systems, or the government certifying love.

    “It has to do with property rights, advocacy rights, parental rights, and access to legal privileges and responsibilities.”

    Uh-huh. See:

    EQCA has hired Andrea Shorter, co-founder and director of “And Marriage For All,” a public-education campaign that engages communities of color in dialogue about the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, and the co-founder and chair of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, the largest African-American LGBT political organization in the Bay Area.

    From Congressman John Lewis:

    “It is unfortunate that a segment of our society fails to see that we all should be treated like human beings, that we all are citizens of the United States of America. I’ve taken the position and I’ve long held this position that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination base on race and color not to stand up and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter if someone is gay or straight or whether someone believes in a different philosophy or different religion. We’re one people, we’re one family, and we’re one house. There is not any room in American society for discrimination based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter whether someone is gay or happens to be lesbian or transsexual. We’re one people; we’re one family, the American family.

    You call it what you want, discrimination is discrimination and we have to speak up and speak out against discrimination. You have too many people in this society saying they’re against same-sex marriage. If people fall in love and want to get married, it is their business. Martin Luther King Jr. used to say races don’t fall in love in love and get married; individuals fall in love and get married. So if two men or two women want to fall in love and get married it’s their business. Some people say it is a threat to the institution of marriage, and some of these people who go around saying that same sex marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage, which marriage or what marriage are they talking about? Some of these same individuals have had several marriages and I don’t think individuals that happen to be gay are a threat to anybody’s marriage. Love is love. It is better to love than to hate, it is better to be together than to be divided.”

  • Gabriel

    @strumpetwindsock: Considering this isn’t an economic forum, post 165 is irrelevant and more importantly not truthful. Blaming it on the US is typically Canadian and might make you feel better but it isn’t actually true. Try to stay on topic.

    “they have just as much if not more right to speak about it than you may have”

    Not really. This question is about gays in the US using language of and drawing parallels to the US Civil Rights movement. It’s fundamentally, an American conversation. Personally, I think it would have been more constructive for Japhy to discuss this with an actual African American.

    “Sorry.. your history IS our history. part of my family came up here during the revolutionary war… blah, blah, blah”

    And both my grandmothers were Canadian. That doesn’t entitle me to appropriate Canadian history for my own purposes.

  • boarderthom

    Compare and contrast; one of my high school english teachers drilled that into my head.?Compare and contrast: Slave rights and gay rights; the contrasts are easy, the comparisons are profound. Slaves could not get legally married either. They could not create and sign contracts, and what is marriage mostly (legally speaking) but a huge contract with thousands of rights and responsibilities.?Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke there last year saying, “That just like apartheid laws that criminalized sexual relations between different races, laws against homosexuality are increasingly becoming recognized as anachronistic and inconsistent both with international law and with traditional values of dignity, inclusion, and respect for all.”?Apartheid: A system of laws applied to one category of citizens in order to isolate them and keep them from having privileges and opportunities given to all others.?Stop gay apartheid.

  • strumpetwindsock

    Jeez, I guess it’s like in Fawlty Towers. We can’t talk about the war now either.

    I think you have every right to speak about Canada. Whenever people down there notice us they have no problem doing it ad nauseum. I’m just exercising my own right.

    And my post is perfectly relevent; you are the one who brought up the issue of what is an “american” issue or not. Am I supposed to not defend my position?

    Frankly I think we should just agree to disagree on this, because you have no power to prevent us from expressing our opinions, and those who wish to pay attention to them will do so.

  • Landon Bryce


    “I’ve been reading gay lit, columns, internet forums, etc, since then too and not once, not once have I heard or read about a group of black lgbtq people chastising white gays for the white homophobes who infringe on their lives because it IS mostly white homophobes who pull the strings when it comes to disinfranchising lgbt people.”

    Then you didn’t read any articles written in response by African American gays to the racist rants which followed the passage of Proposition 8. I’m not saying that it’s not a valid point or a legitimate criticism. I own that. But to claim it’s not been said over and over again? Please.

    And my point is that I’m fucking furious that black gays have blamed white gays for inadequate outreach into nonwhite communities. I’m not saying that white gays have done enough. I’m saying that I have not seen one fucking African American commentator make the obvious point that it is insane to blame white leaders because people of color failed to step up to the plate. I’m not saying that none have, or that that is the only legitimate point of view to have. I expect to accused of racism for suggesting that white gays are not to blame for every thing that has ever gone wrong in the gay rights struggle. I expect people to ignore 90% of what I say and then attack me as though I had not already thrown the steak in with the sizzle.

    Your anger at me is legitimate. I see that.

    But so is my anger at you.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Understood, Landon but here is the point.

    I could deal with you holding me (as a gay black man) responsible for the vote in Watts and Compton. But do I get to hold you responsible for the vote in Orange County and Fresno solely becuase those had huge white majorities? After all, it’s places like that where most of the votes and the money for Yes On 8 came from.

    Or…tell you what, I’ll canvass in Orange County and Fresno and you canvass in Compton and Watts.

  • Bill Perdue

    From the title and many of the comments this discussion is simply framed wrong and gets in the way of solving the real discussion, which should be how to combat homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, misogyny and immigrant bashing at once. This discussion is not aimed at educating and unifying but at emphasizing divisiveness.

    Some facts.

    The GLBT communities are broadly representative of US society and are not composed solely of male Euroamericans. If I had to guess I’d say the majority of GLBT folks in LA, Miami and similar cities were Latino/a, even if extreme disparities in income and opportunity keep them and others from developing venues and institutions to match their numbers.

    In fact no movement organization comes close to representing all of us much less uniting us. None. Not one. Zero. Nada.

    The US is a cesspool of prejudices which do not come from out of the blue. Each of them was created at a specific stage in US history to oppress a particular group or like misogyny and homophobia were carryovers from English christian colonialism. The last of these to be supressed will be the ones most deeply interwoven in the economic functioning of US society, racism and sexism.

    Now all these different bigotries are used to divide and rule. Who’s going to notice the next $700 trillion dollar giveaway to the looter rich or the next racist war against a muslim people if they busy comparing levels of oppression instead of fighting oppression.

    This kind of discussion needs to be replaced by one aimed at building an authentic GLBT fighting organization, a left wing to lead our discussions and our battles. That left wing has to be nationwide, GLBT exclusive, democratically run, secular and combative. We’ve had quite enough of Quisling groups like HRC and other fronts for Democrats. All they can offer, now and in the future are more defeats on ENDA, same sex marriage, hate crimes and hate speech.

  • Bill Perdue

    In terms of appropriation, I think Euroamericans have been appropriating key aspects of African American culture since at least the time of Scott Joplin and they’re not all musical, but langauge and much more. Cultural crossovers are common in US culture. For instance Euroamericans have appropriated our indigenous American culture since the day, diseased, filthy and carrying a kind of garbage thought called christianism, they decided to grace us with their presence and first set fool on American soil.

    If Little Richard had gotten the royalties that Boone and Presley stole from him he could have bought Portland as a summer home and Miami as a winter home and rented out what he didn’t need.

    It’s instructive to compare struggles but it’s not just wrong to equate them, it’s divisive.

  • Bill Perdue

    Queerty has recently attracted a lonely pair of straight christer trolls who remind me of the late, unlamented CHURCHILLY. Their stock in trade is the same as Pat Robertson and Dobson: they make wild accusations that gay men are child abusers or members of NAMBLA. Then, when we call them on it they send a great whine heavenward that they’re being victimized. They ought to try to get jobs with CBN or FOF, where they’d have a more appreciative audience.

  • Landon Bryce


    Yes! I am every bit as responsible for Orange County as you are for Watts. In fact, I am more responsible, because going to Orange County is easier and safer than going to Watts. Actually, thanks for kicking my butt on that score. I can speak “white upper middle class protestant” fluently. I should use that to engage with powerful enemies in helpful ways, rather than screaming at those fucking bastards because I hate them so much.

    And I never mean to deny that white gays are guilty. I never meant to deny that we must take MORE responsibility because we have more advantage. I am perfectly willing to take responsibility for my share of the blame, and my primary reason for engaging on this issue is because I want to do a better job with it.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

    But why would you assume that Orange County be safer (or easier) for you to canvas than Watts (given, Watts wouldn’t be safe for either one of us)?

    Because I can speak a damn good “white upper middle class protestant” myself. At least, if you were to go into Watts, they’re going to be suspicious off jump street but if you engage them you might be in for a surprise.

    Now, yeah, I could go into Watts and I look like I belong, I suppose. But I don’t speak their language, I speak yours. (And my attempts at speaking “bi-lingually” do not work (and my family tells me this!) I get called on it and viewed very suspiciously, it happens within minutes, it never fails. The walls go up and nothing else I say matters.

    I got so exhausted with the “you talk and act white” comment I’ve stopped going to Black Pride events for the time being. Sad but true.

  • Landon Bryce


    I may be being simply racist here in the belief that I am being the opposite. This is what I think, and I want to know where you think I’m wrong. Orange County is a safer place than Watts. The people there are richer. They are less angry. There are fewer violent crimes there. Many more people in Watts have been victims of violence and of bigotry. Many more people in Orange County have the resources and education to learn to disguise their bigotry.

    Because I believe those things, rightly or wrongly, I think it is safer for gay people of any color to engage with people in Watts than in Orange County. But the class dichotomy there is not one that I brought in or one that I care to focus on. I know nothing about either Orange County or Watts that goes beyond ridiculous stereotype. I have very rich friends and friends who live on and off the streets, but that doesn’t mean I really understand where either is coming from.

    Here’s something I can say. I live in a lower middle class neighborhood in San Jose, CA. Most of my neighbors are Latino. Not one of them had a Yes on 8 sign in front of their houses. Not one of them commented negatively on the No on 8 sign on my lawn. I know for a fact that the Yes on 8 signs that two of my white neighbors had on their lawns were stolen by straight
    Latina teenagers. Nobody touched my sign.

    In other words, I don’t always feel safest with people who share my race. I am always shocked by white friends who don’t recognize that they are being racist when they mention, with discomfort, that we are the only white people in a restaurant or at a concert. Then I remember how uncomfortable I was to be in that situation a few years ago. People can change. I am becoming less racist.

    Thanks for helping me along.

  • Landon Bryce

    And, Kev, I’m sure you would be much more effective than me in engaging people in Orange County or anywhere else. You must have noticed that I’m sort of an asshole.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    Thanks for the honesty.

    Hell, I can be sort of an asshole too that I might not be successful in Orange County or Watts. And, yeah, I remember as a kid with my stepdad and bro being the only black people at a hockey game. I can relate.

    And I’ve actually canvassed in places like Orange County for other causes in previous jobs.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Landon Bryce:

    In passing (as this episode of the gays vs. the blacks fades away, tune in next time)…

    Because this society is the way it is, everyone (and I mean everyone!) has all sorts of racist, sexist, homophobic, and classist modes of thought. (I know I have tones of issues related to classist and sexist assumptions, for example). It’s difficult as all out hell to unlearn all of this shit. And some of us may be so invested in these assumptions that we don’t want to unlearn it.

  • getreal

    Clearly people have strong emotions about this subject i think the important thing is that all of us regardless of our views or backgrounds in our own way are moving things forward and listen to other points of view. As long as we are working in our communities to improve things and keeping a relatively open mind to different perspectives things will slowly improve.

  • Lamar

    @Chitown Kev:

    I have read your post up until this point and I see something interesting here. You cannot seem to stand the fact that gays and lesbians are using “slightly similar” history to equate their struggles.

    However I come from Detroit and my hometown was quite accepting compared to the suburbs that surround it. I am sure you know that the gay rights movement worked with and even before the time of the civil rights movement. Before Lawrence V. Texas gay people were often denied services at any store or restaurant in religious cities and towns if it was known that they were gay. Why? Because the bigots considered them unconvinced felons and therefore could refuse service to them. Some stores in towns have even placed signs that said “No fagots allowed.”

    LGBT have been fighting for rights with not just the white but all communities. We have been segregated, brutalized, lynched, tormented, forced from our homes, prosecuted, and abandoned since the inquisition. So tell me how I cannot equate my heritage and our communities fight and freedom from injustice.

    When I saw that sign, “Gay is the New Black.” My grandma, a fighter during the times of anti-miscegenation stood up and clapped her hands raw. She was also a fighter for LGBT rights back then as well. She saw the symbol behind the poster that I, as a generation that didn’t struggle with the civil rights movement,could not see. That gays are still being treated with the same disrespect and intolerance that people like my grandma had to deal with in their time, and LGBT people were finally seeing our struggle as equal and similar to theirs.

    I however, believe this poster is a little late in the party line. This poster would be more appropriate during the late seventies and early eighties when police happily brutalized gays and swooned lesbians with derogatory remarks. However it’s better to see it now than never. But I would change one thing. Gay is not new black, but gay is the old black. We as the African American community have to stop seeing ourselves as the only victim during the 1850-1980 civil rights movement who fought for our freedoms and faced the hardships we have. LGBT people have faced just as much oppression as we have. The history of the Inquisition only constitutes the brutality they faced back then. Its time we stop being offended by others who are struggling just like we have and start embracing them.

    Gay is the old, ridiculed, tormented, and oppressed black. Peace

    -Lamar Jonson

  • Chitown Kev


    Homie, where did you grow up? I graduated in the mid-80s but didn’t sick around long ’cause, well, it’s Detroit.

    That’s why everytime I post, I always bring up the Michigan numbers when Propposal 2 was passed. It passed 59-41 (Based on election returns). Polling showed the same percentages for black and white. And Proposal 2 only won by 54-45% in Wayne County. If it weren’t for that hole of a city called Detroit and a few of the suburbs surrounding it, Proposal 2 would have passed by even a wider margin.

    It’s absolutely fascinating because my suspicion would be that large portions of Detroit are not unlike Watts or Compton, in fact, Detroit looks like post-Katrina New Orleans and has for 20 or so years. But the percentages of those who voted to ban gay marriage in Wayne County (Detroit), based on election returns, are noticeably lower than the lowest figures coming out of California and Prop H8 (and may I add the percentages of black communities that voted for Prop 22 are lower than the percentages for Prop 8)

    Folks really need to dig into a lot of tha data there instead of casting blame, there’s a lot in the data that can tell us how to turn the tide around in minority communities.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Bill Perdue:
    Wow, Bill. I agree with you on that post.
    Compare (and find parallels and common ground) but don’t equate.

    Well said.

  • getreal

    @strumpetwindsock: I agree finding common ground and parallels between the two movements without equating one struggle to the other in my experience makes LGBT equality a more accessible issue to straight people and people of faith. Analogizing one injustice to another helps people see the inherent injustice of anti-gay legislation. I will say for the record that as a black person I have never been offended by LGBT people comparing LGBT civil rights with black civil rights struggles but as this thread illustrates there are a lot of people who feel differently and their feelings have to be respected.

  • Mike

    Having canvassed black communities in Los Angeles, as wells as Orange County (where I live) for the No on 8 campaign, I find the impressions written here really informative. Frankly, the worst abuse I faced was in Orange County, and the amount of abuse was greater here as well. One glimmer of silver lining was what we saw as we held a rally in Tustin across the street from a high school. We heard far greater support by passersby than we did prior to the election, and school buses of teens rolled down their windows to scream out calls of unity with us–boys and girls alike.

    As they enter the voting age, we should find a far greater number of allies who, even in their relative youth, have a better sense of justice than many of their parents.

  • Chitown Kev


    Far from that. I simply say that the content of our struggle has to be of us. Comparison and contrast can and should happen.

    Gay folks in Massachuseets have googles of right, including marriage. Gay people in Tennessee, on the other hand, have none. Gay people in California have all but marriage (fuck that nomenclature shit!)

    Just like in Jim Crow when blacks in the North had more rights (voting, etc.) than the South. They had more economic opportunities. Not to say that blacks in the North were all fine and dandy, but they were better off.

    Federal guarentees of protection will soon be needed, because pretty soon we will have separate but equal that exist in the gay community, for real.

  • Chitown Kev

    I just read this. Dude, your post is way too defensive.

    One note on the gay rights movement, they wanted to work with the black civil rights movement because they thought it was the right thing to do. Many gays and lesbians did. But the highest profile homophile movement, The Mattachine Society, did not and for good reasons.

    They were already subject to arrest just under those and under heavy surveillance by the FBI for suspected Communist sympathies. I believe Hay decided that their participation would place both movements in jeapordy and decided not to do it. Which was the right thing to do, IMO.

    Like Perdue said, the comparisons and analogies are not perfect, but do them. Don’t equate. Tell your own story.

    And the histories are more than “slightly similar.”

  • HM


    Lamar, this is what I’m talking about. Gay Rights mean more than just “Gay Rights for gay whites and coloreds by proxy”. There are tons of examples of gay persecution that happens outside of Europe for fucksakes. You do understand many black lgbtq (aka, THEY ARE AS QUEER AS ANY WHITE QUEER PERSON AND HAVE AS MUCH INPUT IN THE GAY COMMUNITY AS WHITE LGBTQ PEOPLE HAVE) people have a problem with slogan? You need to understand that although Kev, and I and others are black that were are also openly queer and that when you talk to us, treating us only as black instead of black gay, you purposely leaving out our queer side to focus on our race.

    Gays continue to be killed in many countries in Africa. No disrespect to the European queers who died in the past but why not use the plight of present day African queers to make a point about gay oppression?

  • Anony

    ^ HM, I agree with your overall point, but Eastern Europe and Russia are pits for gays today, too. So focusing on one particular place might not be helpful. All in all American queers have it “ok.”

  • Chitown Kev


    Lamar didn’t focus on the but gay blogs, generally, have done a pretty good job been covering homophobia in Africa and the Caribbean. Sadly, it seems as if many black communities could care less.

    But that may be because I read mostly gay blogs?

  • Sapphocrat

    @strumpetwindsock: I hear you. And I’ll freely admit that I’m more than little edgy these days about 1) people, gay or straight (but especially straight), who have all the right in the world to marry anyone they want thanks to the luxury (or accident) of living in a more progressive country (or state), expressing opinions about SSM in the most casual way without a thought as to how insensitive, condescending, patronizing, and downright hurtful they may sound; and 2) the whole “Stop appropriating OUR civil rights movement!” argument.

    As to the last (which I know is supposed to be the point of the interview), I don’t understand it, and I’ve tried. God knows, I’ve tried. Maybe I’m just simple, but to me civil rights are civil rights, and I thought anyone who understands oppression in any form would understand that. I’ve never thought of “us” having “our” rights, that group over there having “their” rights, and another group somewhere else having “their” rights. They’re just civil rights, human rights — *our* rights. And if there’s a distinction made between “our” rights and “their” rights, then we’re not talking about equality anymore; we’re holding a competition. A very stupid, pointless competition that’s self-defeating for everyone involved.

    In the meantime, I’ve never heard a Jew rail against comparisons between anti-gay legislation and the Nuremberg laws. Why is that? Because gay men went to the gas chambers, too? Does that mean I, as a lesbian, don’t have the right to make those comparisons, because lesbians were not imprisoned and slaughtered the way gay men were? Of course I do — and I’m neither Jewish nor a gay man (nor Roma). I readily acknowledge that I don’t share “the Jewish experience” — and yet I didn’t have to *be* there, or have a grandparent survive the camps, to see the blinding similarities. And nobody jumps on me for making that observation.

    So why is it so *verboten* to point out the blinding similarities to the AA civil rights movement? Nobody’s saying LGBTs were enslaved and bought and sold as property — but the similarities between the *movements* to gain full equality are just too stark to ignore, and take so many of the same paths, those paths are not only parallel, but often intersect. Why is that so offensive? We’re not trying to rewrite history, nor “diminish” the AA fight for human rights.

    Maybe I just answered my own question. I hear that a lot: that citing the AA civil rights struggle somehow “diminishes” its importance. Ironically, that’s the same argument I hear most often against marriage equality: that our marriages somehow “diminish” the value of “traditional” marriage.

    I’ll never understand that line of thinking. Nothing we do will ever “diminish” anyone else’s marriage — and no comparisons we make could ever possibly “diminish” the importance, or the uniqueness, of the AA civil rights movement.

    Maybe it’s territorialism — or maybe it’s just good old-fashioned homophobia; *nobody* wants to be associated with us in any way, shape or form because they just plain hate queers — and use the flimsy excuse that we’re somehow devaluing their existence as a mask for that homophobia. I honestly don’t know what it is, because I’ve never felt that way. (I do know some G/L’s feel that way toward T’s — but I honestly don’t. It’s *our* fight, not one fight for gay men, another for lesbians, and another for transgender.)

    I also find it highly ironic that while we’re not supposed to draw parallels between the gay & AA movements, the two most oft-cited Supreme Court cases working in our favor are Brown v. Board and Loving v. Virginia. Obviously, somebody — in fact, a whole lot of somebodys — realizes there’s a lot more to these parallels than some pointless, academic exercise in “appropriation.”

    Sign me: Perpetually Confused and Frustrated

  • Jeffrey

    @HM 158 Hey! Thanks for your thoughtful and rational post. I appreciate it. I read your post at 138 and you make great points in a well reasoned way. YAY!
    Let’s get a grip, though. “Gay is the new Black” is a slogan that a very few INDIVIDUALS have used. Look at the picture: there is ONE sign that says that. Lots of other signs that were mass produced. One sign that says the offensive words. Nobody has taken it on as any kind of official slogan as far as I know.

    I agree completely that we don’t need any infighting–we need to work together. I also believe that the vast majority of us realize that the black civil rights struggle is not over and I don’t see that the slogan implies that. It is referring to state sanctioned discrimination and gay has in fact replaced black in that specific regard. More on this later…
    Yes, ENDA, Repealing DOMA and DADT are all vital to our cause.
    It is just that we have legal protections for most things in California, and then full marriage equality was granted to us and we finally felt like we were being recognized as equal citizens in my state. Then it was ripped away. Our full attention was riveted to this particular aspect of equal rights so that is where the focus went. A wonderful result of that was that we all, in every state, kind of realized at once that we need to demand equal rights in all areas NATIONALLY. NOW.
    So I ask you not to denigrate the marriage rights movement. It inadvertantly has inspired us to get fired up about all the other things you mentioned, and more. And we are gonna win all of those things sooner rather than later. YAY!

    Look, I can see that saying “gay is the new black” might be construed as insulting to blacks, especially if one is looking to play the victim wherever possible and especially if one sees the same-sex marriage rights struggle as a white’s only cause, which Ms. Martin certainly does.
    But let’s take a breath and look at the facts here. That slogan is something that a few Individuals have printed up and carried at protests. NO ORGANIZATIONS, that I know of, (and very few copy-cat indviduals) have taken it up. It is in no way any kind of official slogan for the cause.

    The folks that carried the signs were trying to make a statement, wake people up, and be clever at the same time. Isn’t it a play on a headline in a fashion mag? “Beige Is The New Black!” It means that (insert latest color here) has replaced the color black as the fashionable color to wear at this moment in time. When used by GLBT protesters I take it to mean:
    “It used to be fashionable (i.e. acceptable/legal)to discriminate against blacks. Now that blacks have legal protections and the country generally agrees that discrimination based on skin color is wrong, it is fashionable (acceptable/legal) to discriminate against GLBT citizens. It was wrong before and it’s wrong again.” Rather than erasing Black oppression from our consciousness, it REMINDS us of how ugly our country has been (and continues to be) to people of color and how wrong that is.

    I don’t believe the people who carry the signs mean anything like Renee says they mean: “Blacks are now invisible! No one cares about racism anymore!” or “by Gay I mean only white people!”
    “Gay is the new Black” includes Black GLBTs (and believe me, I know they get shite from both sides of the fence) who are a protected class as far as their skin color is concerned but can still be legally abused because of their sexual orientation.
    These are protests for GAY (read GLBT) rights, after all, so that is what the signs are dealing with. No more and no less. Contrary to Renee’s thinking, the word Gay in that slogan means people of color as well as whites just as it means lesbians, bisexuals and trans even thought it just says gay. In trying to write a witty slogan on a small sign, one has to use shorthand to convey the message. You have to admit that “GLBT People of All Colors Is The New Black” just doesn’t have the same impact and wouldn’t fit.
    I find it odd and kind of sad that Renee somehow doesn’t find GLBT people of color included in this civil rights struggle. I have news for her. EVERYBODY is included and all of the many protests that I have participated in had a healthy mix of all kinds of people and everybody got along real good.
    I think because she is Black and is against marriage herself, she projects that it is just a white issue, but she is mistaken. Anyone who wishes to participate in a legal marriage agreement in this country gets all kinds of financial perks that can make a huge difference to ANYONE, whatever color. Maybe it’s different where she lives. We are out there fighting for EVERYONE who is GLBT.

    She says:
    “What about those of us who are still Black? It furthermore frames the issue as saying, ‘Oh, look- things are bad. White people are suffering because they are being treated like blacks and they deserve better than that.’ And that’s really how it comes across to the black community.”

    I find that to be just plain offensive. Again, she re-writes the slogan to her own liking and tries to make it mean only WHITE PEOPLE are suffering. But the slogan says GAY people are suffering– it is telling that she reads GAY to be whites only.
    It means GAY people are being treated like BLACKS and they deserve better than that. Well, that is true! Blacks deserve better treatment AND gays deserve better treatment. And Black GLBTs REALLY deserve better treatment. There is no competition here!
    And she says:
    “That this is suffering because someone is being treated like a black person– as though, we don’t deserve to be treated any better ourselves.”

    AGAIN she makes stuff up–no one said anything like you ‘don’t deserve to be treated any better yourselves’. The point is that NO ONE deserves to be treated that way.
    And it is NOT considered suffering just “because someone is being treated like a black person” it is considered suffering because it is unequal treatment! It’s wrong for blacks and it’s wrong for gays! We’re all in this together, Renee.

    Then she says:
    “How dare we uppity blacks demand that we have control over our history and how it is used when white gays and lesbians have a point to make?”
    Well, first of all, the photgraph of separate drinking fountains is part of our COUNTRY’S (very ugly) history. It is not the exclusive property of blacks. Why should it be? Whitey needs to drag that one out more often and think long and hard about it.
    And NEVER repeat it. Does she really think that blacks have some sort of ownership over images from our past that deal with blacks? That really sounds divisive to me. Does she think whites were not present in that era? Hell, whites were the reason that blacks were fighting for their rights for Pete’s sake! Whites were participants on both sides of the black civil rights struggle and I think we get to (need to) include that, for better and for worse, in our collective history. I think it is imperative that we do.

    And then she gives away her agenda again when she says ” The world needs to know that they are being treated like niggers and all is wrong with the universe if whites are being reduced to status of blacks…”
    The protesters are saying all is wrong with the universe if GLBTs
    are being reduced to the status of blacks. SHE is the one who keeps trying to make it a white vs. black thing.

    See, the problem I have is that she has to spin the meaning and make stuff up to prove her point. She keeps replacing GAY with WHITE, setting up a straw man so she can tear it down. She lacks credibility and sounds shrill and like she has a big chip on her shoulder. And, yes, I’ll say it, she sounds racist.

    If someone else can make the same argument rationally, using the facts, I’m all ears. But she fails.

    I’m sorry this is so long, but I never really wrote much before just recently and it keeps pouring out.

  • Greg M

    Not that this really changes anything, but Sylvia Rivera was a Latino transgender activist, not African-American as was reported in the post.

    If you want to read more about the leaders involved in the the 60s LGBT rights movement, check out Martin Duberman’s “Stonewall”. Not the most inspiring read, but certainly informative.

    It also speaks to some early efforts to integrate the LGBT movement across racial, gender, and economic lines. As you might have guess, they didn’t get very far.

  • Chitown Kev

    See Japhy, here it is too:

    It began with the now thoroughly debunked notion that African-Americans [in California] voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposition 8 (initially estimates were put at 70%– later analysis showed that number to be around 58%) and media outlets like The Advocate asking ‘Is Gay The New Black?’ on their covers.

    Please, change this.

    I mean, the polls in Florida showed African-Americans voting at an even higher rate than California but Prop 8 was not a national referendum, as this sentence might lead people to believe.

  • Mister C


  • strumpetwindsock

    Very insightful post. Thank you. (likewise Jeffrey, Kev and everyone. This may be a maddening exercise, but I think we do learn things from it).

    I don’t even wonder or question why some people get offended or territorial about things, and in most cases I am kind of beyond being frustrated by it. I just know that some do, and some do not – which is why I maintain I don’t think there is one answer to this question.

    Forget finding a “grand unified front” to define our common oppression – you’re not going to find one definitive black, gay, feminist, or anything position because we are all way too complex for that.

    I think the best we can hope for is to talk things out like this (hopefully productively) so we can actually learn about others and find the common ground of our respective struggles have.

  • Chitown Kev

    Here’s a solution:

    Maybe we should just put a big bubble around the state of California.

    It’s amazing to me all of a sudden how whatever the fuck is going on in that state is the national referdum on how black people think everywhere, how gay people think everywhere, how funamentalists think everywhere, etc.

    Maybe the GLBT movement at large should just yank the gay civil rights movement out of California. Let New York handle. Let Jersey handle it (and they are doing a damn good job). Hell, give it to the Chicago gay community to be the face of the movement. Because y’all shit is sick out and it’s in the national conservation in a way that’s not applicable to many of us in the rest of the 49.

  • Kevin (not that one)

    @Chitown Kev: C.K. – LOL!

    I think the attention California and New York gets is more an indication of how most people of the world think as being the United States, nevermind that there’s a huge land mass in between.

    But that said, California has been for a long time a leading indicator of how all of those places in the middle might eventually go. 1 out of 8 Americans live in California and we have a larger economy than any state in the Union. And much of the pop culture is broadcast out of CA to the rest of the world, which doesn’t help convince people that there’s plenty of vibrant cultural things coming out of the US. For example, where would House music be without Chicago?

    California is very important to how things go in the US, which is why so much money was spent on preventing same-sex marriage. Even our enemies understand this. Not to offend, but who really cares that Arkansas continues to regress into the dark ages? The San Francisco Bay Area, which overwhelmingly voted against Prop 8, has a population much greater than the whole state of Arkansas. And I think numbers eventually do make a difference when one asks “what does the majority of the American people believe?”

    I’m certainly NOT California centric (although I’ve lived here for the past 16 years). I’m so grateful for what’s happening in New England and Illinois, as well as the struggles we face in other states. But I do have to agree with others that CA is kind of like the American laboratory where things are tested and then potentially undertaken by other states. CA is very much a trendsetter.

  • Kevin (not that one)

    @Kevin (not that one): Edit: “which doesn’t help convince people that there’s plenty of vibrant cultural things coming out of the REST OF THE UNITED STATES.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Kevin (not that one):

    Good point, but I wish the media would do a much better job of explaining the pecuilar things that make California California and not, say, Illinois, or Florida, or New Jersey.

    Because the battle on the East Coast for same-sex marriage looks and has a much different feel than California’s does.

    Maybe that’s becuase of the initiative process (which we don’t have either in Illinois), for one. The republicans there seem far more to the right (Ahnold notwithstanding) than here in some parts of the Midwest in New England. The black communities, on my read, seem somewhat different (more of a new from the South feel out there). Noting those differences are important.

  • Jeffrey

    @Kev: You’re right. California is a lot more peculiar than Illinois. I lived in Chicago for a long time as an adult before moving to LA and I grew up in rural Illinois. When I moved here and experianced my first California election I was completely aghast at the ballot initiative thing. Back in Illinois we let the elected legislators take care of that stuff, since that was their job. I thought it was crazy 11 years ago when I saw relatively simple laws crafted by these propositions, but to amend the freaking constitution this way…. just insane. Don’t ever let Illinois copy this system of government. You guys may not be able to elect a Governor who doesn’t eventually end up in jail (wouldn’t it be more efficient to just install permanant iron bars and razor wire around the Governor’s mansion?) but your government still works better. Although I have to give California legislators their due- they passed bills TWICE to allow same-sex marriage but The Terminator lived up to his name both times. He really deserves a lot of the blame for this mess.
    If he had signed the first marriage equality bill we would have had same-sex marriage on the books for a quite a long time before our enemies managed to put it up for a popular vote and I think more people would have realized it was not such a big deal and become accustomed to it-similar to Massachusetts. Instead, we can be embarrassed for California and how backwards we are.
    Great. I am thankful that I was able to be married last June and that it looks like I am going to get to stay married. And I am thankful that this prop 8 foolishness is inspiring a lot of people to get busy and demand equal rights NOW. Have to try to find some goodness in all of this or my head will explode. While I dearly love Chicago, I really thought when I moved here that I was moving to a more evolved society. I’m devastated to be so wrong.

  • Tommyz

    Well- I for one am appreciative of Renee’s thoughts. While its clear she cannot remove herself from her perspective (I’m an oppressed black woman)… its also clear that she has pointed out a path to gain common ground. Gay is the new black does point to a high level commonality – oppressed minorities are after all – oppressed minorities. So rather than degrade into “blacks are homophobic” (ok, so are whites, so are many gays)… it might be more constructive to turn the conversation around – I love her idea of elevating Black LBGT individuals status and promoting their participation in the black civil rights movement. Bravo!

  • Tim

    With advance apologies for what turned into a denser post than I had imagined – but here are my 2 cents:

    One way to resolve the argument might be to look at it from the perspective of wanting to successfully market an idea. Generally speaking, it’s very hard to successfully market a genuinely new thing as being like something else. And that’s because nobody is all that interested in a brand new way of accomplishing something that already appears to have been accomplished. It is, in other words, very, very hard for me to get you to do something new if it just looks like what’s already happened.

    But trying for analogies is always very tempting as we tend look to reframe things in ways that are compatible with our prior experiences. I might argue that we are, in a sense, biased toward wanting to establish continuity.

    Now gay marriage, I think one can argue, is such a new thing. The notion that society would formally grant same sex couples the rights and responsibilities of marriage is unprecedented. Now looking at this from a technical perspective (wanting access to property rights, immigration rights etc. etc.) this makes gay marriage look like other civil rights struggles. But, it’s also fairly clearly that it is not like those struggles. For one thing, you could argue that most previous civil rights battles have been vertical challenges; i.e. they were mostly about expanding existing franchises by permitting access to entire categories of people. The gay rights movement though is more of a horizontal challenge; it cuts across every class and ethnicity.

    Thus, I’m with Renee; not primarily because of the ethics of appropriating somebody else’s narrative and stories, or even because such an appropriation is obviously also a pretty effective way of antagonizing some of our best allies, but also because this kind of lazy appropriation makes for lousy marketing. As a movement, we have little choice but to construct a new narrative – one that isn’t like something else – and to try and sell everybody who isn’t yet an ally on what they will gain from allowing the definition of what’s normative and generally acceptable.

  • Chitown Kev


    “As a movement, we have little choice but to construct a new narrative.”


    Of course, the form and the essence of the narrative is fair game; after all there are only 4 or 5 different types of stories when you break a story down to it’s basic elements.

  • bb

    I pretty much despise the “gay is the new black” meme, for a whole host of reasons. I don’t like memes and over-simplifications, especially those propagated onto us by the media. I don’t like flashy headlines as platforms. I don’t like cultural appropriations. I don’t like making things equivalent or identical when they are more likely analogous. I don’t like unnecessarily divisive rhetoric. I don’t like that it excludes LBTQI people. I don’t like the lack of diversity in the LGBT leadership that propagates it.

    HOWEVER, I feel that the struggle against inequality is a universal prerogative, which means that I also don’t like failure of people like Ms. Martin (who recognizes the overlap between the queer community and that of color) to extend their understanding to realize that these images use people of color to help further free people of color. I don’t like that, despite her insults in the name of queer people of color, she clearly conceives of queerness as a white phenomenon, otherwise she wouldn’t even view the use of comparisons as cultural appropriation. I don’t like that a straight person gets to fight against the queer community and say she’s doing it because she doesn’t like it when one community thinks it knows how the other one thinks and feels.

    So, as far as I can tell, both communities (if Grant and Martin are to be seen as representative, which I hope and don’t think that they necessarily are) have a lot to get over.

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