Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

REFLECTIONS: Racial Divide in Queer Communities on Marriage Debate
by Irene Monroe
2005-03-01

This article shared 4907 times since Tue Mar 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Tensions here in Massachusetts are mounting once again along the color line in LGBTQ communities over the issue of marriage for same-sex couples. With the state legislature soon to rev up again to debate the issue, and with very little time for white queer religious and political machines to colorize what has been since its inception a white movement, voices from African-American queer organizations and communities are speaking up.

And to the surprise of white LGBTQ organizations, both African-American LGBTQ people and heterosexuals have much to say about the white queer political machine's appropriation of the language of the Black civil-rights movement—to push their agenda with the absence of people of color.

'I don't ever want to see a white gay man stand before a camera again and equate his struggle to the Black civil-rights movement,' Jasmyne Cannick, board member of the National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) , a black LGBTQ civil-rights organization, wrote on ProudParenting.com .

I caught up with Cannick in Washington, D.C., at the annual board retreat for the NBJC, of which I am also a member. I asked her and other board members if they thought African Americans' perceived ownership of the term 'civil rights' ignores, if not violates, the civil rights of any and all disenfranchised groups in this country.

'White folks are always stealing our s*** without any accountability,' one board member, who did not want to be identified, told me.

Cannick, like many African-American LGBTQ people, does see the marriage equality struggle as a civil-rights issue. But she resents the unchecked white privilege of white queer organizations and activists using the term analogous to the Black civil-rights movement without a dialogue with the entire LGBTQ community about it—in order to ascertain how the marriage debate should be framed.

How the marriage debate should have been framed—in a way that speaks truth to various LGBTQ communities of color and classes—has not been given considerable concern.

With no language to adequately articulate the unique embodiment of LGBTQ communities of color and classes in the same-sex marriage debate, this has become contentious. The dominant white queer languaging of this debate, at best, muffles the voices of these communities, and, at worst, mutes them. In other words, in leaving out the voices of LGBTQ communities of color and classes, the same-sex marriage debate is being hijacked by a white upper class queer universality that not only renders these marginalized queer communities  invisible, but—as it is presently framed —also renders them speechless.

'You have to be strategic in how you message to different communities and I, as a Black lesbian, would never presume to know how to message to the Latino community. You would go to Latino activists and allow them to take the lead. They best know how to deal with their own community,' Cannick told Bay Windows.

The same-sex marriage debate has brought much consternation and polarization between Black and white LGBTQ communities. And much of the finger pointing of where the dissension began is aimed at Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders ( GLAD ) . Viewed by some as a lily-white organization, many people of color feel that GLAD replicates much of the same race and class divisions present in our federal judicial system.

While the marriage debate was strategically framed as an upper- to middle-class LGBTQ family issue, African-American lesbian activist Jacquie Bishop noted that the 'strategy won in court, but not in the court of public opinion.'

In criticizing GLAD for its approach, African-American lesbian scholar Dr. Marilyn Monteiro wrote to me in an e-mail: 'I've told GLAD this as well—asking me for money to assist them in 'their' struggle; expropriating ( and therefore exploiting Blacks in particular ) the civil-rights movement rhetoric; strategies in their interests while still excluding us from leadership positions other than token appointments. Please! It certainly is this way in Beantown, for sure. GLAD asked me to evaluate their Web pages. I did. Do you think there have been any changes of the kind I suggested? Hell, no!'

Attempts are now being made by white political and religious organizations to bridge this divide. A board member of a statewide gay organization, who did not want to be identified, wrote to me: 'The board is interested in looking at its own white privilege as it seeks to work with the African-American religious community. We have realized that most of our communities of faith ... are predominantly white communities. This concerns us. ... We [ have ] voted to begin a process of understanding white privilege and the ways in which we can seem to be anti-racist.'

While many of us LGBTQ African Americans will embrace those offers to be inclusive, others feel that the white queer community is coming a day late and a dollar short. And any effort now is seen as disingenuous.

Since the marriage debate is so narrowly framed in the white queer community, the NBJC marked Black History Month by adopting the motto 'Fairness for our Families,' choosing to focus on empowering Black families through education and mobilization. With this emphasis on family equality, a wider net is cast focusing not only on same-sex marriage as an issue of concern for African-American same-sex households, but also issues such as HIV/AIDS, gay adoption, unemployment, and homophobic clergy.

'I am very pleased that we will continue to be engaged in public policy and public advocacy on marriage and other issues this year. The board of directors decided that we would concentrate on fairness for our families this year. Family is not a one-dimensional concept,' Keith Boykin, the board's president, stated in an NBJC press release.

I have been asked by several white activists if it is too late now in trying to get Black LGBTQ people more ensconced in this movement. And I have been told by many African-American LGBTQ people that because of their exclusion in the struggle, they are tired and now suffering from 'marriage fatigue.'

With very little time before the Massachusetts state legislature takes up the marriage issue again, and with anti-gay activists gearing up for the next round in this debate, what a crying shame it would be if we lose this battle because of all the infighting. The issues raised by the African-American LGBTQ community, and other queer communities of color and classes, must be taken seriously and corrected in order to successfully move forward.

But a note of caution here: If we lose this battle, we will have missed an historic opportunity to effect change, not only here in the Bay State but across the country. Let us remember that the whole world is watching us. United we can stand as a prophetic movement, or divided we will fall as a petty people.

The Rev. Irene Monroe writes a regular online column, 'Queer Take,' for The Witness. She may be reached by email at revimonroe@earthlink.net .


This article shared 4907 times since Tue Mar 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Commission: Jamaica should repeal same-sex ban 2021-02-18
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the top rights body of the Americas, said in a symbolic landmark ruling on Feb. 17 that Jamaica should repeal its colonial-era gay sex ban, Reuters reported. Two Jamaicans ...


Gay News

Leading groups submit amicus briefs against discrimination against LGBT surviving spouses 2021-02-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON D.C.—AARP, AARP Foundation, SAGE and the American Society on Aging (ASA) filed amicus briefs today in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit arguing that the ...


Gay News

WORLD Honduran Congress, deportation, Canadian support, athlete comes out 2021-01-24
- On Jan. 21, members of the Honduran Congress voted to amend the constitution, making it much harder to reverse existing hard-line bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, as lawmakers double down on socially conservative priorities, Openly ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Marriage proposal, Creating Change, mural erased, 'Queer Santa' 2021-01-05
- A COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a Canton, South Dakota, hospital turned into a marriage proposal for one healthcare couple, CNN.com noted. Robbie Vargas-Cortes, 31, a paramedic and EMS supervisor, was scheduled to get his vaccination on ...


Gay News

WORLD Lithuania outlook, HIV/AIDS and COVID, lawyer arrested, trans youth 2020-12-27
- Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskevicius—the country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit t ...


Gay News

Switzerland's parliament okays marriage equality, residents to have final say 2020-12-18
- On Dec. 18, the Swiss parliament approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry, finally bringing the nation in line with much of Europe on LGBTQ rights, TheLocal.ch reported. However, the Swiss residents themselves will have ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-11-16
- "You can't say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that's what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it's considered bigotry."—Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. So much for ...


Gay News

WORLD Canada museum, gay NZ leader, marriage items, 'Drag Race' 2020-11-09
- The embattled Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) said it's planning sweeping changes to rebuild the organization more than four months after staff came forward with shocking allegations of racism and LGBT censorship, CBC.ca reported. The ...


Gay News

Jennifer N. Pritzker, Erin E. Solaro wed 2020-11-02
--From a press release - Jennifer N. Pritzker and Erin E. Solaro were married in a private ceremony in Chicago on Oct. 31, 2020. Ms. Pritzker is President & CEO of TAWANI Enterprises Inc., Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army, Retired, and Founder ...


Gay News

WORLD Taiwan marriages, Nigeria court, protests, GQ Awards 2020-11-02
- Two women became the first military officers to marry their same-sex civilian partners at a mass military wedding in Taiwan—marking another landmark for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia, CNN.com reported. The island's defense ministry called it an ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs bring resolution affirming court's marriage ruling 2020-10-30
--From a press release - Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Co-Chairs, Chris Pappas (NH-01), David Cicilline (RI-01), Angie Craig (MN-02), Sharice L. Davids (KS-03), Sean Patrick Maloney ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Marriage support, GLSEN, LGBTQ voting campaigns 2020-10-26
- Seventy percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, according to the 11th annual American Values Survey—the highest percentage recorded by a major national poll, NBC News reported. The results found just 28 percent of respondents oppose the ...


Gay News

Pope calls for same-sex civil unions in documentary (UPDATED) 2020-10-21
- In a departure from the position held by the Vatican's doctrinal office, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples in a documentary that aired in Rome, NBC News noted. "Homosexuals ...


Gay News

WORLD India couple, Japan items, pro-trans writers, Nigeria job fair 2020-10-12
- In India, a same-sex couple approached the Delhi High Court seeking legal recognition of their marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act, India.com reported. The petitioners, an Indian citizen and an overseas citizen, are two gay men ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Marriage equality, minister and trans journalist die, HRC 2020-10-12
- LGBTQ-rights advocates are warning of a renewed threat to marriage equality, NBC News reported. President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ignited fears of ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.