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A Response To Sierra Mannie, From A White Gay

I am not a black woman, and I do not claim either blackness or womanhood.

I am not a black woman, and I do not claim either blackness or womanhood. There is a clear line between appreciation and appropriation.

Listen. I get it. You were offended by some white gay trying to assimilate to you by calling you Quita or Keisha. Totally not cute. That is damn right offensive. I don’t think however, that it establishes grounds for writing an article generalizing the entire white gay community. I realize in the first sentence of your piece you say “some of you” which would make it seem as if you are in fact speaking to a select few, except the title addresses all white gays and here I am at my desk trolling the internet when I see this headline and am like OMG, that’s me. Except that is the only part of the article that I align with. I do not attempt to use black colloquialisms, have an enthusiasm for weaves, and hell, I don’t even think Drunk In Love is that good. It’s a little slow and doesn’t really climax, but that’s just me. None of that is mine. It is not for me.

Let me explain.

Let me also separate the previous sentence with a space below and above for dramatic effect. Hell, this one too.

I understand the everyday struggles of being black in our white-male dominated society, and imagine it’s even harder for a black woman. Every minority group has it’s own struggles. Some more than others, and I in no way intend to deny that blatant fact. Do I understand what it’s like to be a black woman to the fullest extent? No. Because I am a white gay male. And I can’t even begin to pretend to know what it’s like to be a black woman in today’s society anymore than you can begin to know what it’s like being gay in today’s society. My personal opinion is that we stop generalizing minority groups as a whole and stick to our own goddamn business but you’ve gone ahead and written a piece addressing my minority group so here we are.

I am firstly confused as to why you think you can claim certain things and designate them to your minority group, and use language that insinuates that we took something of yours and put our name on it, saying we made it. Last I checked, Miley has not submitted a patent on twerking, and gays have not claimed they were the ones with the innovative idea of calling people “gurl”. We use it. We all use it. Miley’s twerking is not a sight I ever want to see, but this is America where people can do whatever the hell they want. I also hope you realize how hypocritical your article is asking white gays to “cut it the hell out” from stealing black female culture by using expressions that have originated solely from gay culture. To explain your point about stealing culture. I mean WTF.

I am quite fond of your point that basically states that all we have to do is hide our gay and we’re ok. OH. Is that all we have to do? I seriously wish I’d read this like 10 years ago because my life would have been so much easier. Just hop back in the closet! Listen, sure, some people might not be as explicitly “out” as other people with their sexuality and I have no idea what your exposure to gay people has been thus far (although I’m guessing it hasn’t been very extensive from your article) but there are thousands and thousands of people who cannot just “hide their gay”. It is not some golden, spray-painted rainbow hat with unicorns screwing on top that we can just take off and put in a backpack when we walk down a street alone at night to ensure our safety. But it’s not like gays ever get attacked, beaten, treated unfairly, or have rights taken away from them on a daily basis or anything. So we’re good. I have many friends whom I love dearly, but are seriously the gayest thing you’ve ever seen. And that’s ok. To even HINT at telling someone to hide their homosexuality to be treated equally is extremely offensive why we are fighting so hard to ward off such ignorance.

To even HINT at telling someone to hide their homosexuality to be treated equal is extremely offensive.

To even HINT at telling someone to hide their homosexuality to be treated equal is extremely offensive.

I had to repeat that sentence again and give it extra spacing because I do not trust readers to have the intelligence to grasp the concept on the first read.

“We have no place to hide, or means to do it even if we desired them.”

You are right on one front. America is a country that operates on systems of racism in which we all participate, purposefully or not. It’s fairer to say that we operate on multiple systems of discrimination, homophobia being one of them. These systems create barriers so that minorities, such as gay people, have a much harder time being able to do things like get married, see each other in the hospital, have basic human rights to which straight black women are already legally entitled, and not have to deal with violent bigots and stuff. You know. Casual.

My goal here is not to say any one minority group has it worse than the other. I’m not exactly sure what the point of your article was if not that, but you do you. I’m sure being a black woman in this world is tough as hell. But I don’t think it’s fair for one person to hop on a pedestal and proverbially decree how much harder it is for their minority when they have not walked a mile in the others’ shoes. And those shoes are probably 6” stiletto heels, no less. If you’d taken three seconds to familiarize yourself with the entirety of gay culture you might see that we are all walking down a similar runway.

There is no need to delegate which minority group gets to say this and do that and which group cannot. The great thing about this country is that it is a melting pot of many cultures and we are all learning and growing together, exchanging and adopting new mannerisms and colloquialisms along the way.

Yes, if some random gay’s comedic attempts at trying to crack a joke by calling you a historically black name, that’s offensive. You should probably sit him down right there and let him have a piece of your mind. The same could even pertain to overhearing a gay man say he’s a proud black woman. Again, y’all should talk. You should not however, bottle those feelings up and write an offensive opinion piece online addressing all gay white males. Noted? Noted.

All of this being said, we shouldn’t have to stop liking the things we like. And we won’t. You have not sucked any of the fun out of our lives, but you have pissed a few of us off. Appreciating a culture and appropriating are very different things. Again, I do not recall the last time a white gay male said they were the ones who created weaves or Beyoncé. But we do have the right to talk about them, adore them, and appreciate them all we want. We are not trying to claim any sweet identities without the sourness because the gay minority is working through their own shit and it’s like a goddamn bag of Sour Patch Kids up in here. Perhaps if you were concerned about breathing fire behind ugly stereotypes you should have written an article directed straight at the group of black women from which they originated. Stereotypes do not pop up and propagate for no reason. The perpetuation of them isn’t cute either however, and I acknowledge that.

We are all working towards fair treatment and equality. I don’t know why we have to separate things like this into categories that only people belonging to certain cultures can touch. If your article was written with the intention of telling white gays how offensive it is to call you Madea, I feel that could have been summed up in about a paragraph. Instead, you wrote something that is incredibly ignorant, hypocritical and offensive. But the beauty of this country is that you can. Just as I have the same freedom to write this response.

So, no, we are not strong black women. It is offensive to say that we are. We don’t have to be, no one asked us to be. We weren’t meant to be. We are working through our own struggles for equality and fair treatment. But our cultures are overlapping and blending. Deal with it. And you too, can be part of the solution.

Check your facts. Strengthen your arguments. Try to empower everyone around you.

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