Wednesday, February 26, 2014

“I’m Openly Straight!”

Crickets.  Crickets.  Crickets.

I’m not rich and famous, so who cares?

Denzel Washington is openly straight!

Again, crickets.  Crickets.  Crickets.

I bet if he announced that he was a ‘gay American’, station managers would immediately cut into President Obama’s State of the Union Address with that breaking news.  And, we the public, would be bombarded with a litany of non-information following that one little statement.

There are some things I do not want to know about celebrities.  The other day, I saw a headline stating that an NBC producer may have proof that LeBron James cheated on his wife.  I like LeBron, but he is not my friend; and his wife is not my friend either.  If he indeed cheated on her, I would like to think that she would prefer that embarrassing piece of information remained very private.

In my head, I feel like the reason why the gay community is fighting so much for equality is so that they can be treated like everyone else, well, at least like the average White man.  Don’t think they want to be treated like Mexicans or Blacks!  And in my utopia, equality means that nobody obsesses about another’s sexual identity, sexual preference or sexual orientation.  I don’t see my neighbors announcing on a daily basis what kind of sex they engage in.  Yet, it seems like every week, another gay person has to let the world know that he or she is gay.  And the thing is, most of us do not even know, much less care about these people.  Before Jason Collins came out, I had no idea who he was; and from what I’ve heard, he is not that great a player.  So you know that he will forever be remembered as the first openly gay NBA player.  No one cares that he went to Stanford and Harvard.  No one cares that he will be one of the few twin brothers that played in the NBA.  All everyone knows is what kind of sex he practices.

Prior to a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea who Michael Sam was; and just last week, actress Ellen Page came out.  Before long, people are going to insist that Queen Latifah comes out.  And I can only imagine how many people are betting to see when Ryan Seacrest will follow suit.  Of course Queen Latifah and Ryan Seacrest have never said that they are gay, but according to everyone’s gaydar, they are.  Again, I don’t have to sleep with either of them; so it is a huge non-factor for me.  However, Queen Latifah’s potential coming out will not make me love her any more or any less, neither will Ryan Seacrest’s make me anymore or any less oblivious to him. 
Maybe I’m too naïve, but I still don’t get the big deal.  People have been gay since the beginning of times.  I know that many people think that this is a new trend, but with a name like Homo erectus, do you really need any more proof?  On one hand, many in society say that they don’t care what happens in another person’s bedroom, but on the other hand, when it is revealed that an individual is gay, that individual is looked at with a queer eye.  No pun intended.
And I am not making light of how gays are treated.  I have not walked a mile in a gay person’s shoes, but I’m a Black Caribbean woman.  Trust me; I know discrimination based on color, accent and gender.  I get it.  And maybe because I cannot feign my color, gender or accent that I know if I were gay, I would still be me.  I get that some people think that too many gays flaunt their gayness; but a lot of folks in various groups flaunt their identities also.  We see it all the time.  Young white males flaunt their privileged status.  Jocks flaunt their athleticism.  Pretty girls flaunt their beauty.  And we all know Jamaicans are known to flaunt their confidence.  I have never met an educated Jamaican who does not loudly and proudly speak in that strong Jamaican English accent, proving that she can be understood without speaking like an American. 
I guess what I’m really bitching about is the fact that I’m jealous.  Society has softened.  The media have softened.  Politicians have softened.  So now is a good time to be gay in America.   Presently, nobody can say anything remotely homophobic and get away with it.  Several months ago, Alec Baldwin lost his MSNBC gig after he hurled anti-gay comments to a photographer.  But let’s face it; MSNBC was probably looking for an excuse to cancel that show.  You know if Alec Baldwin’s show was bringing in ratings and profits to the tune of Duck Dynasty, a sad apology would have sufficed.  The patriarch in Duck Dynasty was slapped with a nine day suspension after his racial and homophobic tirade.
Z-List celebrities like Ted Nugent are always in the news for saying something vilely racist about Obama, and they constantly get away with it.  I still don’t know who he is or what he is famous for; he is probably like the Kim Kardashian of the South.  What society does not realize is that these comments are not isolated incidents from what is happening in the rest of the country.  This idiot disrespecting the President and getting away with it opens the floodgates for people to gun down Black youths, for police to assault Black men in their custody, and think that it is just another ordinary day.
But every time a civil rights activist speaks up, every time the Black man on the street speaks up, every time a Black mother speaks up, we are accused of pulling the race card.  Every time Black people remark that it feels like slavery all over again, we are shot down.  No pun intended.  Black people should forget about slavery as much Jews should forget about the Holocaust.  Black people should forget about slavery as much as the Ukrainians should forget about the Holodomor.  Black people should forget about slavery as much as the Chinese should forget about the Great Chinese Famine.  Black people should forget about slavery as much as the Armenians should forget about the Ottoman Empire massacres.  Black people should forget about slavery as much as the Vietnamese people should forget about Ho Chi Min and as much as Iranians should forget about Ayatollah Khomeini.  Black people should be like 9/11 survivors and let the world know that we will never forget.
I guess it’s easier to “tolerate” gays because just about everybody has one in his circle, but not every circle has a token Black.  And it’s easier to not bash them because one ever knows for sure who is in the closet, whereas too many Blacks can’t really hide in closets.  Although it would put a smile on Martin Luther King’s face to see children of all color hanging out together in school cafeterias, it would break his heart to hear and see many of the stories that still take place in 2014.   Every time we take one step forward, some crap happens that reminds me that America has taken two steps backwards, or in the case of Florida, 200.
People like to say that they are colorblind.  I can say I’m sexual-orientation blind.  But, let’s face it; that sounds just as ridiculous.  Don’t be colorblind towards me.  See me.  But see me for who I am, not for what you perceive me to be.  People look at someone like Chris Christie, and you will never hear them say that they are weight-blind.  We look at him, and we know he LOVES to eat.  We assume he is greedy; but he is never judged on the content of his lunch kit!
With so much sympathy being lathered on gays, it is quite understandable why they are coming out in droves.  And that is all Black people want – some of that love.  We want to be seen, not as a threat, but as who we are: doctors, lawyers, architects, postal workers, public employees, executives, stay-at-home mothers, unemployed, bus drivers, students.  We are tired of an Oprah here, and a Beyoncé there.  We want to be seen in droves too. 
Honestly, I don’t care who is gay and who isn’t.  I just know that if one more person comes out, I’m gonna pull my hair out (well, just the grey ones) because perspectively speaking, a whole bunch of us have been openly Black for a long time, and nobody gives a shit!


  1. As usual Myra, spot on. Sadly, however, nobody gives a shit because let's face it the majority of us as BLACKS don't give a shit. We are the only race with different shades of 'BLACK' and believe me some of us feel that we are more privileged, better than and entitled. We ridicule, degrade and openly spite each other because of those very differences in skin tone. If we can do that to our own who the hell is going to take us seriously. Each and everyone one of us need to start with ourselves and let it spread from there.

    Look closely. Gays range from Asian to European, African to Caribbean...they do not discriminate amongst themselves. They embrace their cultural differences and ethnicities. In the end they are all champions for one cause....Gay Rights!!!

    Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks started championing our rights as a people and a race, WE have let them down. All those other vocal Black activists still fighting for Blacks to be properly recognized for who we are as opposed to being stereotyped, DO NOT have the support of the ordinary Black on the street. We are caught up with subliminal messages on TV and radio and refuse to work hard to put OUR RACE in a better position than the days of slavery.

    We as BLACKS, are enslaving ourselves, and often get accused of pulling the race card. The question is what are we actively doing to make our situation different? We need to come together no matter the different color of our black skin, and unite, stand up and let OUR united voices be heard. We need to start giving a shit when we see a brother/sister going down the wrong road. We need to be able to differentiate wrong from right and not make excuses for our own. We need to refocus and emancipate ourselves from the shackles of mental slavery. We need to step up, look deep within and give our brother/sister a helping hand all in the name of bettering our position as a race.

    Bottom line, we have been openly Black for a long time, but if we don't try and give a shit about ourselves, nobody else is going to!!

  2. Great job as usual Myra. I agree with Sandi's comments as well. I just don't know when we will just stop the crap and start to really give a shit!

  3. Sandi I am upset now cause I just commented on your post and I lost it. I hate when people make valid points and people reply by saying Blacks don't give a shit about themselves so why do other have to. I don't know where you live neither do I care, but I live in the South and they do not give a shit about us even when we give all the shit about ourselves. I would love to see people stop replying that way. If you want to add to a comment add, don't take away.