Truth be told, I have no personal investment in the struggle for lgbtq marriage rights. I'm not all that interested in a patriarchal institution historically used to oppress women. I'd rather explore more creative and liberating expressions of queer love, than conform to such a tired old convention as marriage. Yet I do recognize that there are certain privileges associated with marriage, that everyone should have a right to access. Still, this struggle is not on my list of priorities.
Despite this I was yet another of the many people who voted against prop 8, who were terribly distraught when it passed, and who joined in street protest to express outrage. This is because I was so moved by the obvious and profound level of hate which motivated and fueled the "yes on 8" campaign. These people only sought to further poison people throughout our state with hate against our LGBTQ community. They did so in the face of all the work many people have done and continue to do on the daily to make this place safe for LGBTQ people. So that we can one day walk down streets without any fear of suffering attack because of who we are. So when I saw "yes on 8" rallies with large groups of kids and children shouting out derogatory slurs and wielding those terrible signs, I could not be but totally overwhelmed by the hate.
So this past saturday night, I assumed I was attending an anti-hate rally. But that could not have been further from the truth. On stage was some white, dinosaur, les-biatch completely berating and tearing down the entire "african-american community". Blaming us for the passing of prop 8, she all but outrightly called Black people ignorant and foolish. She continuously used "us" in reference to gay people and "they/you" meaning black people. And to my surprise, all the folks around me were cheering and hollering at her every indictment of the black community. I learned that night that the racist rhetoric at this rally was in response to the divisive reporting propagated by mainstream media that Blacks voted in proposition 8.
There are two dangerous underlying assumptions insinuated by this woman speaker and all the news reports. Firstly is that homosexuality is White. And secondly, that communities of color are absolutely homophobic. The reason these assumptions are so dangerous, is that they make me and all queer people of color invisible, as if we don't exist. These assumptions render my perspective and my own life experiences invisible, and they leave no space for qpoc within the lgbtq rights movement. Just like there was no space for me at that rally. If "us" is the queer community and "they" are black people, then where am I? I wonder if you white gays and lesbians could not see the queer black woman beside you, when you rallied that black people had stolen queer rights.
And just to get this out the way, Black people did NOT make the proposition 8 vote. The media has hyped the exit poll that "2 to 1 black voters supported prop 8." Even if that were 100% true, there's no way Black people made the election. Anyone who bothered to think for themselves, or maybe even look at ALL the facts of the situation, would immediately see the fallacy of that conclusion. While the Black vote may have favored prop 8, the black vote still represents a minority percentage of the total voting population (Less than 7%!).The majority population in this state is still WHITE, and the majority of the voting population is WHITE. Therefore, even more white people voted for prop 8 than anybody else. The total number of black votes for prop 8 alone could NOT have made or broke the election, but 8 would not have passed without white people. DUH.
That this focus on misinformation is an obvious ploy to distract, divide and conquer the lgbtq rights movement, was totally lost on you all. Instead you white gays and lesbians just gobbled up this bullshit and swallowed hard. While I'm tempted to write you all off as ignoramus maximus, I think the fact that white gays and lesbians were so ready to point the finger of blame at Black people, further exposes the racist assumptions harbored within that community, as well as the lack of space for recognition of intersectional identities.
Last I checked the "yes on 8" people were leading a very successful campaign of lies and misinformation, confusing prop 8 as an issue of child education. Given all the people who voted in fear based on these lies, how is it that the Black community so unanimously voted in hate and bigotry?
And here's a question, why is it that the most immediate response of the white gay rights movement in this situation, was to start pointing the finger of blame? Are you all in second grade, is this really the most productive thing that could be happening now? Even I know, with my short few years of organizing, that when you come to the end of an unsuccessful campaign, you come together as an organization/movement/etc. and ask yourselves "what did we do well, what could we have done better, and where do we go from here within a larger strategy?" You don't go pouting in the streets about whose fault it is you didn't win!?
But this response isn't all that surprising given that the average gay/lesbian within your movement experiences a great deal of privilige on account of race&class. And typically it is the people with the most privilige that have the most difficulty holding THEMSELVES accountable to anything, and not just blaming everybody else. In fact, the closest any of you have probably ever come to accountability is your white guilt, and Lord knows that's not even close!
Fox 11 news happened to catch and feature the rally's ignoramus supreme on the ten o' clock news. "We (gay/white) people made Obama president, and they (Black people) left us behind! That's it, we're the last minority left now!"
This guy (like many of you I'm sure) voted away his white guilt at the polls last week. And he clearly thinks that the country purged itself of white supremacy in a single vote last week. Now you poor, poor, white gays and lesbians- you are the last of the oppressed! Alas the tables have turned, and it is us Black people barring you from your constitutional rights. We funded the $20 million "yes on 8" campaign of lies and misinformation- oh wait, that was other white people? Well, we contributed the largest percentage of total "yes" votes- no? that was white people too!? Well darn, now none of this making sense..
I realize this letter has gotten pretty long, so I'll finish by saying this. If you white gaze and lesbiannes are so ready to leave Black people out of your gay rights movement, so be it. Who wants to be where they're not wanted anyway. We'll take our beautiful brown selves elsewhere, and start a real rainbow movement. And we'll take all references to our civil rights movement with us. No more appropriating that legacy. Nope, not allowed. Because how you gonna hate on us, and then allude to our struggles in your commercials. I don't think so.