The Lack of Color in the Queer Community

by Tiffanie Loiello on September 10, 2015 - 7:52pm

Ernest Owens published an article May 13th, 2015, titled ‘Now Is the Time to Start Talking About Racism in the LGBT Community’, which discusses the inherent lack of people of color in the queer community. At this moment, the United States are determining whether or not the population will be able to marry the opposite gender in all states, but the next issue should be the representation of people of color in the queer community. The media tends to portray cisgender white males as the stereotypical gay man leaving this author feeling excluded; not only within the racial community but also the queer community. He would like to raise awareness for all the black people in the community because although 5 transgender black people were killed, no one made a big fuss. He even wrote an article in a local newspaper raising the issue of the lack of black representation which only received negative comments; mostly from white males. This has become a constant struggle and the author would like to be equal in his community where people are already viewed as outcasts.

Black people are definitely underrepresented in the queer community and more efforts should be made to make them equals within their own community. Being openly gay already puts you at a disadvantage, therefore using races to distinguish these people further only weakens them as a community. Sexuality is actually a legitimate way to divide a population but race is an arbitrary system that was created to label and categorize people with no significant scientific or cultural evidence, as mentioned in Jared Diamond’s article ‘Race Without Color’. This has no place in the gay community. According to Owens, life as a gay man is difficult enough, being a gay black man is worse because you don’t feel like you belong in any group, which he shows through personal experience.

 

Owens, E. (2015, May 13). Now Is the Time to Start Talking About Racism in the LGBT Community. Retrieved September 6, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ernest-owens/now-is-the-time-to-start-_b_7...

 

Comments

This topic of racial classification, specifically the under-represented colored minority inside the LGBT community, caught my attention because in most forms of media, the traditional white male couple is shown. I do, in fact, agree with your reasoning and point of view. One's sexual orientation is a classification label (straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, etc) whereas classifying "races", inside the LGBT community for instance, is not. At this point, there is no way of classifying "races". We are all from the same species, with little genetic diversity, as Diamond states.
Don't get me wrong; equality in different "races" is important, and each individual should be viewed as equal. However, being colored does not influence how one is perceived in the queer community. Remember, one's race will never determine who you are. A "race" does not define us. What does define us is our values and morals, how we were raised etc because after all, a trait like skin color is very subjective, and should not be used as a means to racially classify an individual.

In terms of the murder of those five colored transgender men, I do not agree with the author's statement. I do not believe that the color of their skin influenced how represented they were in the media. One's "race", or specifically a trait such as the color of their skin, does not determine what is considered right or wrong. Any murder, besides a case of self defence for instance, is considered wrong. The color of someone will not change how others perceive them. If I would take, hypothetically speaking, 4 lesbian woman who were found murdered, their "race" is the least of the issue here.

Going back to your main point, the media tends to under represent colored people, or any "visible minority". However, do you believe that minorities from different sexual orientations are under represented? I have personally seen, on Social Media such as twitter, for instance, colored homosexual men in pictures or tweets. They may not appear as often in social media, but nonetheless, present in our society.

I couldn't help but comment on your comment because I think you have all the right intentions as you see all people as people and that color shouldn't matter. However, it is not at all true that the color of someone's skin does not influence how they are represented in the media. You should remark that all the CEOs and people in high positions who have control over the media are mostly white men. These white men are the cause to the fact that there are a very few number female protagonists that are self-affirming and not objectified and that there are so very few complex roles for people of color. You should see the documentary "Miss Representation" by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that talks about this. There is an extremely small proportion of women and even smaller proportion of non white people who are in control of what we see on television shows and in the news. Next time you hear the news or read news articles, pay attention to the way they describe criminals of different color. When a white man is guilty of murder or violence, we try to pity the criminal by saying things like he was bullied, lonely, and depressed. We would talk about how he had a fine relationship with his parents and have testimonies of people saying that he was a nice, good boy and that they didn't expect this from him. Meanwhile, people of color, especially black people, are described as violent and talk about how they smoked. Even Michael Browne, who was actually the victim, not the criminal, was said on the news to have been, violent to have smoked and to have rapped. You might wonder how rapping is something that is relevant in this kind of situation but it is because it associates him with the stereotypical black man who raps , is violent and does drugs. A even more flagrant example: In France when the Charlie Hebdo incident happened, there were 12 french people who were killed, and at the same time in Nigeria, there was a mass killing lead by Boko Haram that killed up to 2000 people. However, there was no "I am Nigeria" international movement but a world-wide "I am Charlie" movement. How is it that the lives of 17 french people have had significantly more attention than the 2000 Nigerian lives. Can you still tell me that our media perceives all lives as having the same worth?

Also, for your question on the main point, I am not the writer of the post, but I think the whole message of her post was that media should have a more diverse representation of individuals and not just the stereotypical "white gay couple," because like you said, there are a lot of other people that are present in our society. The fact that the world is filled of different diverse people is the reason why minorities should not be underrepresented because not only white people exist in this world.

I couldn't help but comment on your comment because I think you have all the right intentions as you see all people as people and that color shouldn't matter. However, it is not at all true that the color of someone's skin does not influence how they are represented in the media. You should remark that all the CEOs and people in high positions who have control over the media are mostly white men. These white men are the cause to the fact that there are a very few number female protagonists that are self-affirming and not objectified and that there are so very few complex roles for people of color. You should see the documentary "Miss Representation" by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that talks about this. There is an extremely small proportion of women and even smaller proportion of non white people who are in control of what we see on television shows and in the news. Next time you hear the news or read news articles, pay attention to the way they describe criminals of different color. When a white man is guilty of murder or violence, we try to pity the criminal by saying things like he was bullied, lonely, and depressed. We would talk about how he had a fine relationship with his parents and have testimonies of people saying that he was a nice, good boy and that they didn't expect this from him. Meanwhile, people of color, especially black people, are described as violent and talk about how they smoked. Even Michael Browne, who was actually the victim, not the criminal, was said on the news to have been, violent to have smoked and to have rapped. You might wonder how rapping is something that is relevant in this kind of situation but it is because it associates him with the stereotypical black man who raps , is violent and does drugs. A even more flagrant example: In France when the Charlie Hebdo incident happened, there were 12 french people who were killed, and at the same time in Nigeria, there was a mass killing lead by Boko Haram that killed up to 2000 people. However, there was no "I am Nigeria" international movement but a world-wide "I am Charlie" movement. How is it that the lives of 17 french people have had significantly more attention than the 2000 Nigerian lives. Can you still tell me that our media perceives all lives as having the same worth?

Also, for your question on the main point, I am not the writer of the post, but I think the whole message of her post was that media should have a more diverse representation of individuals and not just the stereotypical "white gay couple," because like you said, there are a lot of other people that are present in our society. The fact that the world is filled of different diverse people is the reason why minorities should not be underrepresented because not only white people exist in this world.

I choose this article because I found that this topic should not even be address as an issue because it should be seen as normal in our society. Since we are more open minded than before, the color and sexual orientation should not matter we are all human. This is saddening that we live in a generation in which we pay more attention to minor details that destroy people’s lives from their physical appearance; for example these five black men were killed because they were black and gay. Not a tiny finger was raised to stop this racism. This goes beyond any acceptable human behaviors because you cannot kill other human being due to their skin color or sexual orientation or what they desire to wear. Although there is a margin between both, the actions and results that occur from these judgements are quite similar. The main goal is to live in an anti-racist and anti-bully society, and we must first cease our judgements and increase our understanding in order to do so. It may never be perfectly solved, but it will definitely increase over time if people begin taking a stand and allowing themselves to be heard as individuals with voices. This could be an opportunity for children to push changes further than they are already occurring. As Winkler mentions, children are not colorblind. There are therefore not oblivious to these types of behaviors, and they may tend to pick up on them very quickly. If they are educated properly, and grow up in an adequate social structure, they will soon realize how important it is to make a change. In conclusion, people should not base themselves on what it seen on the outside. Instead, they should get to know the person better, and base their judgements on what they see on the inside, because a person’s character defines them more than their personal appearance. Do you agree?