There is nothing like being around your people. There is no greater feeling than being at a POC event surrounded by like-minded folks who get it. Folks who understand the struggle, the oppression that we face on a day to day basis, and have the guts to create spaces where the tough conversations can be had, constructive plans can be made, and actions towards healing can begin for our community. But within these spaces, exists a reality of strong homophobia that needs to be combated. It goes without saying that within the Black community, homosexuality has always been, and still is, a hot button issue despite the progress that has been made in the fight for Gay rights. But with more of us millennials making intentional efforts to bring POC together and make strides towards equality for all, there are those within the same circles who stand shoulder to shoulder with us all in the fight against oppression of people of color, but in the same breath, will use oppressive language when referring to gayness.
What is a Conscious Homophobe?
The brother who may not claim to be a Hotep, but shares their same barbaric, yet simplistic sentiments about homosexuality. Now for those who need a refresher in what “Hotep” is, here is an excerpt from a piece by Damon Young, of the online new source The Root:
“some signs that a person might be Hotep, look for the following:
1. a steadfast belief in illogical conspiracy theories
2. an arrogant adherence to respectability politics
3. sexism and homophobia that vacillate from “thinly veiled” to “If being gay is natural, how come there ain’t any gay elephants?”
4. unbowed and uncompromising support for any black man accused of any wrongdoing, even if said man’s guilt is clear
5. ashy ankles”
I was once at an event in Philly, it was a very nice, afrocentric, Black power, support black business, rebuild our community, we are all brothers and sisters in the struggle together type of arts event. I wholeheartedly appreciated the coming together of great minds, creatives, revolutionaries, spiritual beings, and supporters in one space bouncing ideas, dreams, and concepts off one another to a backdrop of poetry, music, painting, and vegan bites. Half way into the program, the host got on stage, and began thanking everyone for coming out and reiterating the importance of having such events to bring Black minds together for the betterment of our communities and our people. As I listened to this brother’s words, I could not agree more but then something changed. He began to talk about the reasons why he believed that the Black community was in desperate need of more leaders, and one of the reasons he mentioned was because “we have boys out here who want to be girls.” I began to look around the room at all the Black and Brown faces nodding in agreement and realized that I was the only one (other than my partner) who seemed to be thrown off by his comments. Then something inside me clicked and I had to remind myself that we were at a Black event, and not just any Black event, but an afro centric, Black power, support black business, rebuild our community, we are all brothers and sisters in the struggle together type of arts event and in these spaces, LGBTQ oppression is not the same as Black oppression.
The Conscious Homophobe may look just like you, they may even be a close friend of yours, they are the person who is all for the strengthening of the Black community, but against Gay marriage.
The Conscious Homophobe is the one who will pray all day for the lives of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, or Mike Brown, but roll their eyes at the reality that 2016 was one of the deadliest years for transgender people in America.
The Conscious Homophobe is the person who calls you “Sis,” then gives your partner the side eye when they walk through the door.
The Conscious Homophobe. They are as dangerous to the progression of Black society as Blue Lives Matter. Because the oppression of LGBT brethren of color is hardly even seen as oppression at all.