Dear Black America, Here’s Why It’s Imperative You Embrace Your Queer Truth
The beautiful truth of Black gender and sexualities history, straight outta Africa!
This piece was submitted from a member of our enthusiastic community of readers. If you’re interested in sharing your opinion on any cultural, political or personal topic, create an account here and check out our how-to post to learn more.
As Black Americans, we’ve been force-fed this notion that any sexuality or gender incongruous with the mass-represented, heteronormative narrative is invalid, deceptive and non-Black. This portraiture is erroneous and amplifies the immanent, anti-Black, European dogmas that still permeate our community and our culture. Suchlike, this credo aims to efface the intersections of many Black lives and the likeness thereof, annihilating the faculties of inclusion, empowerment and license within our populace. Unfortunately, many of us, Black folk, grow awfully excited when given the opportunity to bolster our colonizers pedagogy through our utter destruction, oppression and extermination of fellow Black, Queer bodies.
Black people who are complicit in anti-queer killings, rhetoric and oppression whilst reciting Afrocentric discourses, that dismiss the validity of Black, LGBTQ+ experience(s) and life, are foremen in the erasure of Black stories and Black being. They facilitate the preparation of nullification scaffolding for queer bodies, in support of the continued reign of European pedagogies that were inherited through colonization and enslavement. These disciplines were principally myopic, ill-conceived, constructed through confirmation bias lens and served as an illegitimate deduction of the European disposition on Africa. They preserved and propagated the bastard beliefs that Africans were fundamentally inclined to savagery, inhumanity, obscenity and inherent hypersexuality via commonwealth practices.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
These ideologies subverted the boundless, African traditions of spectrum sexuality and gender fluidity throughout localities across the continent. Through dissemination of sociopolitical expositions, flanked by mammoth economic gains from salvery, Europeans were able to manufacture the proliferation of a homophobic sentiment, that was veritably anti-African. Such supposititious dispositions, cultivated credence for the oppression of African, Black bodies. Thereupon, a brutal framework for the African, diasporic, slave tutelage was founded.
According to Murray and Roscoe’s 1998 book, Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities, “the [gargantuan] demands for Black slave labor fostered a discourse on Black masculinity that excluded evidence of nonmasculinity and homosexuality or made such behavior less visible to Europeans.” To introduce or entertain a disquisition, amongst Europeans and/or slave owners, on African gender and sexuality, pertaining to homosexuality and gender fluidity would unquestionably invite revenue loss, in their purview. Pursuant to Cartlon Cummings’, 2015 Thesis Reclaiming Blackness: The African Roots of African American Homosexuality and Gender, “African bodies were no longer deemed human, but human capital. Within a capitalist economy, one’s goods must be competitive, and meet or exceed normative standards. In European pedagogies the perception of homosexuality insinuated weakness and femininity, qualities that would deem a tool for labor unattractive, therefore stunting the owner’s profit. Consequently, the instances of African homosexuality observed and documented by European spectators elicit a repulsion that exudes the inherent homophobia that already flowed throughout [imbecilic] European societies.”
Ergo, to continue to uphold such ideologies is to be a proponent of tenacious, indignant oppression, seeing that the severance of the Black gender dyad serves as a mechanism of oppression. Additionally, it is intrinsically, anti-Black to dismiss or disregard the historical and cultural contributions of Queer, Agender and Trans, African Americans in creating and solidifying African American culture. Black, LGBTQ+ people have made generous contributions to the development, evolution and maintenance of Black culture and subsequently American culture. However, the remorseless and unrelenting miscontextualization of Queer, Agender and Trans experiences in the Black community mirrors the colonial practice of omitting African truths from the cultural understandings and images of Africa and the African, as well as colonial tendencies to shape the image of the African in a fashion that supported colonial goals.
In this case, LGBTQ+ cultural adornments and offerings to our shared Black history have been misappropriated, omitted and expunged by our hetero counterparts. The continual neglection of queer entities within the Black community would run congruent with treason committed against the culture, our history and the ancestors. It is incumbent upon us, to get intimate with the wealth of our narrative(s), ensuring that no gradation in our Blackness is left unspoken for and uncelebrated. There has been a plethora of gruesome, Black, Trans killings over the last several years, yet, many Black movement builders and the Black community remain visibly and intentionally silent. This must change, now!
As Cummings poignantly stated, “In the era of Black Lives Mattering, it is [manifestly] pivotal to expose the connection between Black culture and Black, LGBTQ+ culture.” Acquiescing to a reconceptualization of community, inclusive of all Black genders and sexualities, a door to collective enlightenment would be navigable and indubitably, propelling the momentum of the culture forward.