Okay, so after sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting, it’s now time to point out the silence of the LGBT leadership on MSNBC commentator Don Imus’ "nappy-headed hos" statement.
The last time I checked, the lesbian community was full of Black women. Black women who at this very moment are upset and outraged over the comments of Imus regarding the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. I know because I am one of them.
But when we speak about being at the edge of each other’s battles, are we really?
I often get criticized by the white gay community for being too pro-Black, as if there is such a thing. I was one of the few who didn’t jump the train for the marriage movement leaving my race and the issues attached to it behind. Why? Because the issues that affect Blacks in general are just as important to me those gay issues.
Last week I was a guest on Rosanne Barr’s radio show.
During our conversation about family and it’s important to LGBT people, Rosanne made in my opinion, a very profound statement.
She said, “Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who’s politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don’t care about minimum wage, they don’t care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder.”
Shortly thereafter, as could be expected,, the criticisms began to fly.
But was Rosanne right?
One of my big criticisms about the marriage fight in California has been that it’s all about marriage. That’s it. It’s not about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who are living in poverty, homeless, incarcerated, unemployed, on welfare, or are less better off than their politically active counterparts.
When there is legislation guaranteeing universal healthcare coverage (that isn’t being carried by one of their own), extending welfare assistance, raising the minimum wage, reforming the three strikes law, or equalizing the penalties for crack cocaine with that of powder cocaine, I don’t get emails urging me to support it, even though it’s passing will improve the quality of life for many Californians, including gays who like I said, are less better off and often are minorities.
But I do get emails about marriage bills passing through committees with nice politically correct statements and shiny happy headshots of well paid executives.
When we’re protesting police brutality in Los Angeles, I don’t see many of the gay activists out on the corner with us either. Even though when gay brothers gets pulled over for “driving while Black,” just as often as heterosexual brothers do.
The marriage movement continues to be very narrowly focused, creating a bigger divide between the have’s and the have not’s.
So it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me when the statements of Don Imus went without comment from gay leadership. Black lesbians are still relatively invisible in the gay community and who speaks up for us?
Don Imus didn’t say “nappy-headed straight hos.” No, he said “nappy-headed ho’s,” a slur that offended Black women who are heterosexual, lesbian, and bisexual.
But imagine, if for just one moment the gay leadership had offered a comment. A simple comment condemning Imus’ statement and referencing America’s large African-American lesbian community who was also offended. Imagine if all of the highly paid communication’s directors had taken the five or so minutes it would have taken to hammer out a couple of sentences and click send.
Maybe then, the gay community wouldn’t be viewed so much as “narcissistic.” Maybe if the gay leadership took more time to speak on those relevant and timely issues that maybe weren’t as important to their donor bases but nonetheless showed that they cared about something more than marriage, more bridges could be built in this movement.
I was having a conversation with a friend last night and was asked a question about my relationship with the Black leadership in Los Angeles.
I explained to him that it was because I was willing to take on issues that were equally important to Blacks that the doors really opened up for real conversations on a variety of issues, include gay issues. Why? Because I was no longer viewed as “the lesbian.” I was no longer seen as only caring about gay issues. While they can always count on me to bring gay issues to the table, much like I bring Black issues to the “gay table,” they know they can also count on me to be there on other issues that are important to Blacks.
I wish the gay leadership could get that. I wish they could understand that Black same-gender loving people care about more things than just marriage and that if they showed that they did too, the doors for real conversations could be opened. I’m not saying that you have to go on CNN and condemn Imus, but showing that you realize that his comments were hurtful and affected millions of Black lesbian and bisexual women could have been seen as an olive branch to a community that feels largely invisible and unimportant.
Just a thought…