Michael Crawford

Is Gay the New Black?

Filed By Michael Crawford | March 29, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement
Tags: gay rights, GLAAD Media Awards, Is Gay the New Black?, race and gay community

Last December I was featured in a series looking at the LGBT after the passage of Prop 8 on www.newsweek.com. The series, which includes this video, called Is Gay the New Black? received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism.

Congratulations to Jessica Bennett and Jennifer Molina who wrote and produced the series for www.newsweek.com.

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Tom Miller | March 29, 2009 6:26 PM

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." [from the New York Times]
My dictionary defines apartheid as "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 other."
If Navanethem can speak about gay apartheid, why can't I?

Not the same as "black" but worse. To be a slave was not a death sentence but to be homosexual was.

Tom, you are free to express your views on any subject in any manner you see fit. The question at hand is, do you want to be right or do you want to be successful? Charles, I can't imagine you not knowing better than to drop that in the middle of the room.

Some African Americans think we've co-opted their movement and their message. I don't pretend to have all the answers, so I take them at their word. If someone tells you that what you're doing hurts or offends them - and you actually care - you listen to what they have to say. More of us have to (1) actually care and (2) behave like we do.

The Black civil rights movement can teach us a great deal, but before we can learn any of its lessons, we have to honor and respect it.

I was referring to historical Biblical scripture and cruel actions throughout civilization. Two men being stoned to death in Leviticus and the words in the Bible not condemning slavery. Both are wrong under current law but it took fights to make constitutional law rather than "gods law".
Our early Puritan founders hung gay men up until the 18th Century. Those words are still in the Bible. Why ?

XXX is the new YYY. Nothing drives me wilder than hearing glib cliches like this masquerading as thought out consideration of an issue. Nothing is the same as something else. It's all different. There might be parallels, but please don't be lazy when pondering and discussing issues like this.


Comments like this are exactly why African Americans get resentful when the “gay is the new black” meme is pulled out. Not only do some white gays and lesbians want affirmation of their lived experience, they want to posit that it is somehow worse than the experience of another. This is oppression Olympics at its finest and it is infuriating. I wonder how he would feel if he could look at the bottom of the Atlantic and see the skulls of the millions that died on the middle passage alone; would he then be content to still declare that being a slave was not a death sentence? Statements like above unfortunately are expressed quite boldly and without any recognition of their inflammatory and racist nature.

How many times can one stand outside of a movement and continue to argue for their equality and be subject to such assaults? Denying and or appropriating our experiences will not gain allies, in fact it will serve to alienate those that are willing to publicly advocate for gay and lesbian rights. While I would agree that blacks definitely need to affirm the rights of all peoples, using a strategy that deliberately eliminates same gender loving blacks and denigrating our history, and our struggles, will not encourage the kind of solidarity that is desired by the white LGBT community. Gay can never be the new black because we continue to exist and our struggles have not ended.

I'd be interested in your commenting on Julian Bond's recent statements on this subject.

This fashonista phrase has had the effect of promoting a dialogue about how racial minorities are affected by the LGBT struggle. I would hope that this agitprop would help to address some of the religious based discrimination that is so stigmatizing within Black churches and how the LGBT Civil Rights Movement can help.

XXX is the new YYY. ... Nothing is the same as something else. It's all different. There might be parallels, but please don't be lazy when pondering and discussing issues like this.

I could not agree more with Mr. Cabral.

Gay is gay. Black is black.

Gay is a sexual orientation category. Black is a racial category.

An orange is not the New Apple. Calling an orange an apple does not turn the orange into an apple. An orange can not be turned into an apple (unless you run it through an apple tree).

Gay is not the New Black, never was, and never can be.

I have never heard an articulate explanation of what meaning the saying "Gay is the New Black" actually is trying to convey?

"Gay" is the new civil rights movement? It isn't --- it's been around for at least one hundred years.

Blacks are now equal, so gays are next? Don't look now, but blacks still suffer massive social inequalities.

Is it now chic to stand up for gay rights just as it was once chic to stand up for blacks? What's right is right, and being chic is not the proper criterion.

What does the saying "Gay is the New Black" mean? If I don't get an answer, then it is apparently a phrase so ambiguous that it means different things to different people, and is largely meaningless in itself.

"Gay is the New Black" is just a phrase that is good for causing people to fight over what it means.

Having seen that, now let's not.