One of the arguments that I’ve heard about homophobia in communities of color could be boiled down to:

We’re the victims!

Now, I don’t play too many games with this stuff…if someone hates you on account of you being queer, I’m not going to ask if you’ve been following your Emily Post. It’s probably safe to say that they may be a homophobe. Especially if violence, threatened or otherwise is involved. A individual queer gets attacked for being queer, that is not their fault. I don’t blame the victim.

But don’t get it twisted. Communities are not individuals. But on a macro level, we don’t get that kind of consideration. Why? Because we do have power. Maybe not enough, maybe at a high cost, but we’ve got power. In many regards, we have institutional level backing. Conflicted support, sure, but watching the dems dodge the questions last night about gay marriage should remind us that we’re in the room to ask the question, and they at least think they can’t outwardly gay bait us. Did you watch the republican debate?

I’m not celebrating, i’m still fighting. And i won’t stop until queer love has the same legal considerations as straight love. But incomplete power is still power. And that means accountability.

Journey Woman is in Trinidad these days, and finding herself torn. Go read the whole thing, but i’ll post this as a teaser.

At this point I had to fight back the urge to scream, cry and just run away from this all. This is all too much to handle at sometimes.

I want to hold on to my people and this country so tight, but I can only do this if I deny who I am. I find myself now in a bind, do I continue to blend? Or do I make a stand? Do I even have the agency and authority to make such a bold stand? Where is my safe place?

You see, it’s a question we have to ask. Why is homophobia taking such strong root in certain places and culturess? We, as a community, can ask that without violating our own dignity because as a whole we’re not the victims. This is an externality.

Mainstream advocacy, movements, and cultures directed at and created by us are responsible for the choices we make. And some of those choices, such as unchallenged racism and complicity with traditional power structures, may be part of the fuel that feeds this fire. And even when it’s not our doing, but the cynical manipulations of others that pits communities of color against us…

We can do better than playing the victim. To the extent that we’re safe, protected by whiteness, class, or situation…we have to do better. Because we’re not bearing the cost of our actions and rhetoric. It’s become an externality, where queers of color, our alleged siblings in the struggle are taking the hit, and feeling a double alienation and a painful disconnection.

I’m a white queer, and this is the question I can be asking and the work I can be doing. I cheer on and give any (appropriate) support to movements within communities racked by homophobia that seek to challenge that. And I’m honored by the friendship of folk who are doing just that. There’s no reason for delay, no accounting to be made if we’re still the disadvantaged party who ought to wait for the other to do right. As if our open arms and healed relationships will not give those allies more strength for their work?

The bottom line is that some of us are being asked to choose between parts of themselves, made to cut their identities apart.

We have to treat our family better than that.

-sly

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