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Reader comments: Gay vs. black oppression


These comments were left on an article called “The Myth of Gay Being the New Black” by Wylliam Smith.

Do we really have to play the oppression Olympics game and rank minorities on who has it worse?

Yes, gay people can hide their orientation (as if that isn’t an utterly soul-destroying experience). But I’m amazed that a bisexual man doesn’t recognize that gay people often experience their worst oppression from their own families, friends, communities, and churches — overtly if they are out or covertly if they aren’t out yet. Every LGBT child has their self-esteem and sense of worth crushed by the very people who are supposed to love them unconditionally — usually long before they are even aware of who they are.

Then there are gender nonconforming people, whether LGBT or not, who cannot hide the way they are and are tortured by family, peers, and community.

Many (not all) black people can at least find refuge from a hostile world among their own loved ones. For many LGBT people, that is the most tragically dangerous place.

LGBT children are systematically destroyed from the moment the world recognizes their queerness. That’s why they kill or harm themselves in such large numbers. In fact, the program is very clever — they start teaching you to hate yourself from the moment you are born, so that the day you recognize who you are, the self-hatred has been programmed in, and it’s too late to do anything about it.

The comment about gay people not having to code switch made me laugh. Generations of effeminate boys and butch girls have taught themselves the art of code switching so that their voices, walk, or mannerisms wouldn’t get them beaten up or abused.

Yes, black is still the new black, and it’s stupid to think anything needs to replace that. But there is no need for a competition where we denigrate other people’s experience of oppression.

  Preman Tilson

In response to Tilson

There is validity to some of your concerns, and as a gay man, I can agree. However, people of color, specifically black individuals, are killed by our society and the systems and institutions in it, and nothing has been done. For the LGBTQ+ community, there have been times where the justice has been overturned. I agree it should not be a competition, but you are not a black person. Your sphere of knowledge is limited because you have not faced oppression as a black individual. You have faced oppression as an LGBTQ+ individual. This leads back to intersectionality that says no form of oppression is greater. The problem is that there is oppression. Also within the LGBTQ+ community, individuals of color face racism, discrimination, and racist homophobia. Also, yes, coming out is a difficult process, but the language you use suggests that coming out is always going to be a bad turnout. It is not, some families (like my own) embraced my identity and advocate for me. Race, on the other hand, is not an invisible identity. Also, it is an opinion piece coming from Wylliam’s sphere of knowledge and you are coming from your own.

— Tristan Schmidt

RELATED: Smith: The myth of gay being the new black



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