BLACK & QUEER
James Baldwin said, “we can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of humanity and right to exist.” From my experience, growing up as a black gay man is a difficult battle because of biased beliefs.
Before I had the chance to find my identity, people were categorizing me based on stereotypes. People would point out every detail about me that was not identical to straight black guys—for example, playing with barbie dolls. When I was in third grade, my mother went to school and exposed my secret about playing with barbie dolls to my classmates. That experience was the first time I knew the definition of being laughed at.
My experience of being laughed at hurt as much as to being picked on. Throughout school, I would get picked on for my hyperpigmentation, big lips, full-bridge nose, and brown skin. Moreover, people would make me feel like I had to choose between pro-black or pro-LGBTQ. Often it is the straight men of color that would make me feel excluded. “You can’t be black and gay.” For example, according to USA Today, the country rapper Lil Nas X received a lot of homophobic comments after coming out as a black gay man.
Other times, people from the LGBTQ community would ignore my race problems. “The conversation is about LGBTQ rights. Don’t bring race in the conversation.” For example, a research article by Stonewall, an organization for the equality of LGBTQ people across Britain and abroad, discover that “black people: three in five (61 percent) have experienced discrimination from other LGBT people.”
I no longer use gay dating apps because of the racisms I experienced. Those experiences taught me that just because a person knows what it feels like to face discrimination, it does not mean they don’t have biases.
In this era when our society is screaming for equal rights for all and acceptance, people still like to pick and choose what is acceptable. If we want equal rights, we must keep the same energy across the board because, so far, it appears that we only wish to have equal rights when it is beneficial to us.
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