Monica Roberts

What's 'SGL' Mean?

Filed By Monica Roberts | February 05, 2008 4:43 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Black History Month, LGBT history, Monica Roberts, SGL community

If you read my blog or the posts I have done on Bilerico so far, you'll note that when I'm describing the African-American GLBT community, I will sometimes use the term 'SGL' or 'SGL community''

What's SGL and what does it mean? I'll tell 'ya after the jump.

SGL stands for Same Gender Loving:

Many African-American GLBT peeps hate the term 'queer' that some peeps use to describe this community, and the 2000 Black Pride Survey confirms that .

The term "Same Gender Loving" (SGL) was created by activist Cleo Manago in the early 1990's The intent was not only creating an alternative to the 'Q' word, but create a term which spoke more directly to the realities of Black women who love women and Black men who love men and connect us with our culture.

While it's not in widespread use yet, there's a sizable enough portion of our community that embraces it in order for me to interchangably use it when I'm writing specifically about African-American GLBT people.


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Wow, that is interesting. I never knew what it stood for. I like it. Way better then some of the phrases/names we have for each other...white or black. (GLBT)

I like it because it is more descriptive of what at core unites us. On the other hand, I'm a bit put off by it because it's very similar to the ex-gay movement's dismissive acronym "SSA", which they see as a pathology and which they use to deny cultural and communal bonds that gay men and lesbians form with each other.

Although I understand why we are constantly arguing with each other over what to call ourselves (and we've been doing it publicly at least since the mid 1950s in the U.S); there's a part of me that is weary of the discussion. In some ways, arguing over the name we call ourselves or each other seems distracting from real human interaction and tied up in high-school-like concerns about which group we want to be associated with and which group we don't.

I've seen it around for a while, usually in relation to Black gay writing. I always wondered where it came from and why the need. Thanks for posting this.

Does SGL include T-folk who love the opposite sex?

Ye Olde Fart | February 5, 2008 5:38 PM

Well, thank you.
I never knew this.
I may have the opportunity to use at some time.

Is there a reason why AA folk, in particular, hate the word 'queer'? Or is it a sort of reaction to the way that the word sounds.

beergoggles | February 5, 2008 6:56 PM

bittergradstudent, it's a way for GLBT AAs to actually create a 'gay' conversation within the AA community without being told that 'gay' and 'queer' was something that only affected white people.

I'm glad you posted this, Monica. For your other posts I've gone in and changed your first SGL to "same gender loving (SGL)" It's funny though - I figured it out on my own. Maybe that makes me part black.

Right on.

Josh Altemoos | February 6, 2008 1:24 AM

Thank you for clarifying! I can understand why the term SGL was coined as well. Many others have not known and explaining it is quite difficult coming from me (A white gay male). Now I can just refer them here, to to the wiki article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_gender_loving

I originally learned what SGL meant from books published in the library I used to work at.

Thank you again!