Being a Black queer person puts you in a precarious spot at times. In Black spaces, you’re the spokesperson for LGBTQ everything and in queer/trans spaces, it’s the opposite. LGBTQ spaces have the tendency to be overwhelmingly white from Pride parades to powwows in someone’s house. Despite this, white queer and trans people love to place themselves as the epitome of progressiveness and wrath falls upon anyone that says otherwise. To them, not being heterosexual (or cisgender) means they know what all oppression feels like as if white privilege isn’t a thing or at least, they think their glitter and rainbows cancels out some of that privilege.
It doesn’t and this causes them to show their entire, or lack of, ass and when they show it, they don’t expect anyone to say anything especially colored folks. There have been many examples of white LGBTQ folks showing their asses that I could point to but this post is dedicated to Mary Cheney, daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney. Last week, Cheney likened drag to blackface saying:
“Why is it socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) — but it is not socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans?”
Cheney is a lesbian but that apple clearly didn’t fall too far from the GOP tree. That comment isn’t just racist, it’s idiotic. As a member of the LGBTQ community, she should know better. A lot of white queer and trans people should know better because equality, right? The LGBTQ community practically foams at the mouth when it’s time to call the Black community out on its homophobia but when white LGBTQ folk behave badly, there’s silence which is ironic considering silence is deadly in queer/trans spaces. That double standard is so prevalent and even though Cheney’s comments have sparked some outrage, I haven’t seen very many people truly call this for what it is: one example of white queer racism out of thousands. Sure, we’re mad at Cheney this week but it’ll blow over like it always does and white queers will go back to their shenanigans. But, while white queer and trans folk are definitely responsible for their actions, queer and trans folks of color let them get away with A LOT of shit.
We’ll complain about them behind closed doors in POC (ugh, need another term) spaces but we’ll grin in their faces and even make excuses for their behavior or worse, emulate it. Those that do call them on their mess risk being ostracized. RuPaul is arguably the most famous Black queer person out but he regularly allows his drag race contestants wear racist costumes and some of the challenges themselves have been racially insensitive. I’ve been on online dating sites and the amount of color struck lesbians out here freak me out and it isn’t much better for the gays especially if the dude they’re eying has “no fats, fems or Blacks/Asians/insert race” on their Grindr page.
The examples I’ve listed seem trivial but they’re indicative of a bigger problem. Not talking about race in the LGBTQ community allows the community’s narrative to be created by certain groups of people. Marriage equality is an overwhelmingly white and middle class issue and although jumping the broom is cute, it should have never been prioritized by a movement that was started by women like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. The interests of white gays and people of color’s unwillingness is dangerous. How can we celebrate marriage when Black trans women are being exterminated and that extermination is excused in 49 states because of “trans panic?” Queer people of color are more likely to be poor, homeless and sick but at least states are slowly but surely letting twinks march to the courthouse. The Brittney Griner episode of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ is saved to my DVR but I remain ambivalent about the mainstream gay rights movement because these white queer and trans folk don’t give a shit about anyone but each other.
Think I’m tripping? Look at how many people reacted to Leelah Alcorn’s suicide verses the murders of 12 trans women in 2014 and the four that have already been killed barely two months into 2015. It’s disgraceful and until the LGBTQ community can get its shit together, I need them to hush about the Black community. Collect your other white siblings, white queers. Colored queers, call your white friends and baes on their shit. Get it together.