09 December 2007

Black Homophobia and an Old Time Religion

A black relative of mine ran a boarding house a few years ago and one young 'respectable looking' young man rented a room from her. One day she arrived home and found this man sobbing loudly on the stairs and when asked why he was distressed, explained that his boyfriend didn't love him anymore. She said, trying her best to be understanding, 'Can't you stop?' He wiped his eyes, trying to understand her question and realised the real question was 'can't you stop being a homosexual?'
Most black people have been raised within an environment that respects the truth of the Christian bible. The leaders of the various denominations have provided many gruesome stories of the fate of those who 'lie down' with other men. It would not be fair to say that all churches and Christians are anti-gay but it was my experience that being gay was frowned upon and seen as in the top five things that were sure to get you a banishment from 'god'.

I know many black people who are either lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transexual and some who refuse to be categorised by their choice of partner at a particular time - things and people change. They all have horror stories of how they have been verbally and sometimes physically attacked (my ex's brother was so badly beaten whilst they were both attending a gay pride march, that he was hospitalised for several weeks), all sad reflections on a world where we criminalise people only because someone or some text has told us it is okay. Naturally the messages are confused because the text is confusing and contradictory. Love your neighbour as yourself, but moralise and stone to death those who don't conform to this other rule over here in this section. God loves you, but if you don't do this then you will burn in eternal fire.

I don't think someone should be victimised because of their 'choice' of who to have a relationship with or who they are attracted to. In fact, just like heterosexuals, gay people are not out having sex all the time. I think it is part of the fear factor that used to infect the tabloid press and silly afternoon soaps but which has seeped like poisoned gas under the noses of the majority without hardly being noticed. It's called dumbing down - the lowest common denominator. I see it when I watch the talk shows like Oprah, Dr Phil, Montel (what's with the Sylvia Browne thing?) and the rest. No-brainers. How-to-fill-your-brain-with-utter-nonsense-for-an-hour. Pap. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they help people, but in the long run I don't think they help people to THINK! To really think. Buy this book; lose weight and you will be happier; here's a celebrity you should admire who is also selling a book and I will mention the title 45 times in the next ten minutes; the worst mother in the world is here...next...; here's a celebrity who is a complete prat but I have to say really nice things about cos s/he has a new film coming out which is as boring as hell...; do you know which brand of lipstick Paris Hilton is wearing this week...
I could go on but you get my drift??!!! It's funny but more than sad.

So how does this connect with black homophobia? It is part of the bigger problem, people making money from ignorance. People becoming famous for spouting pseudo-science as hard cold facts. Which leads us back to the same tactics of some of those sending people memes of the visions of hell, the devil and the words written in the 'good book'. The pastors, the self-appointed leaders, the Al Sharptons, the Jesse Jacksons and the other rent-a-quotes seem to always pop up when there is a high profile case with a television crew in tow.
If you fill your head with candyfloss then you won't be interested in educating yourself, freeing your mind, making decisions for you and your family based on facts and your own experience. Live vicariously and all will be well. We'll tell you what to think.

It's like another form of self-medication - just like religion.


blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hi there! {waves}

Nod to the hostess! (smiles)

Thank you for discussing this issue!

I too have very strong feelings about this topic.

I wrote about this a week ago on my blog about black women and their feelings about black lesbians, "SISTERHOOD AND THE LESBIAN FACTOR".

I received a lot of email asking WHY a minister would write about this topic!

Thanks for blowing your trumpet about this!



Blanca DeBree said...

I'm assuming that because you put the word "choice" in quotes that you understand that there is no such thing as choice. Some will have us believe that sexuality is like religion, something you choose. Sexuality is more like eye color. Yes, you can put in contacts to turn your eyes blue, but you will always have brown eyes.