Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Female & Lesbian: A Triple Minority

When I first started this blog my sole purpose was to chronicle my life, frustrations, goals, short-comings, trials, tribulations, anger and fears. I didn't intend for it to become a hub for black lesbians who share my experiences, fears, dreams etc. So, it's always surprising when I receive an email from a black lesbian whose life has been changed after reading my blog. Honestly, I'm always blown away when I read these emails because I never intended to be a role model. In fact, I rejected the title when a young woman who reads this blog called me a role model. No matter how I feel about the label I am a role model...whether I want to be one or not. 

By starting this blog, I unknowingly began writing a diary of my life and apparently the lives of other black lesbians. For example, I knew I was gay from an early age (age 5 to be exact). Many of you said the exact same thing on the survey I conducted about the mating habits of black lesbians (I will post those surveys sometime this weekend). Most of you said you find it hard to meet other black lesbians. Most of you said you want to start a family with a woman. These are things that I have thought about, dreamed about and shared on this blog. These are things that we share as black women who happen to be lesbians.

Today, I received a touching email from a woman. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing part of it. This particular portion of her email gave me pause and blew me away...
Since I have come to the realization that I am a lesbian, I have been struggling to find my place somewhere. In an attempt to do so I haven't really seen much positivity when it comes to homosexuality in regards to women of color. By this I mean, it seems that when a women of color identifies herself as a lesbian, it seems like she is adding to the list of strikes against her. Things that make her more of an open target for abuse and dehumanization. In fact the things I have learned and seen really have made me question whether my happiness was as important or more important than my safety. However, seeing your blog has really made me really want to try to find some sort of happiness whether it cost me my life or not. Because you have shown me that it's possible to thrive and do things as a black woman and a lesbian despite the challenges that come with that identification. Thanks
A friend once told me that I am the perfect black lesbian. She said, "You almost have it all. You're pretty, smart, educated, successful and driven, which is something we don't see too often with straight black women...least of all black lesbians." 

At the time I didn't put too much thought into her statement, but after reading the lady's email, I couldn't help but think about my privileged position. As much as I bitch and moan on this blog my issues are trivial compared to others in this world. I need to do a better job of counting my blessings.

I have never felt or seen my sexuality as a burden, handicap or "strike" against me. It's just part of who I am...just like my race. It hasn't stopped me from loving myself. It hasn't stopped me from pursuing a career. It hasn't stopped me from establishing and achieving my goals. It hasn't stopped me from doing the things that I love. It hasn't stopped me from finding love. It's one of the few things in my life that has been constant. 

Just like my race, my sexuality, is something I cannot change nor is it something I want to change. I'm black and I'm proud to be black. I'm a lesbian and I'm proud to be a lesbian. I'm a woman and I'm proud to be a woman. I'm a black woman, who happens to be a lesbian, and I'm proud to hold such a unique position in this world (and honestly, we black lesbian women are in a very unique position. We experience racism, sexism, and homphobia like no others. Our story is unique). 

I embrace my triple minority status. I don't run from it. I don't shy away from it. I don't treat it like a disease or an impingement to my personal happiness. I don't see it as a strike against me. I see it as something that makes me different from all others and I like it! I'm unique. I'm not common. I like it! While I cannot control what others think about me, I can control how I think about myself and my position in this world.

Part of my attitude about my sexuality comes from the reality that I truly don't give a damn what people think about me. It hasn't always been this way. When I was younger, I looked for my parents approval, but their approval didn't mean as much to me as my grandmother's approval. My family was so broken and dysfunctional that I reached a point where I stopped giving a damn whether my mother and father approved of me or my lifestyle. 

I've never cared what strangers thought about me. So, their issues with my homosexuality never mattered to me. The way I see it people are going to talk about you regardless. There is no point living your life worried about them and what they think.

I have lived in the south my entire life. My race has impacted me more than my gender. My race and my gender have impacted me more than my sexuality. This might be because I don't exactly wear my sexuality. I'm openly gay. If you ask me, I will tell you I am gay. If you are a man and you hit on me, I will tell you I am gay. However, because I'm not physically a stereotypical black lesbian, people don't automatically assume I'm gay. Whereas they can look at me and see I'm a black woman. So, it's easy to see why my race and my gender have had a greater impact on my life than my sexuality.

Black women have it hard in this world. We're constantly battling the odds and carrying the burden of being black and female. If you're a black lesbian chances are you're also carrying the stigma of being gay. While this may be a burden in a society that is not welcoming of black people period (gay or straight), in your own community, the black community, it's a kiss of death. I understand...believe me I do. However, the black community is the VERY last community you should look to for approval. 

Let's keep it all the way real. Heterosexual black men and black women are FUCKED up BEYOND repair. Their condemnation of black homosexuals is the pot condemning the kettle. When they get their shit together (which probably won't happen) then maybe they can talk that talk. Otherwise, black lesbians and gays need to let their criticism fall on deaf ears. 

Bigotry should never be a reason to avoid personal happiness. 

We cannot change people's attitudes and minds about us. This is why I feel black people should STOP fighting for a place at white people's table. Even if we gain a seat at their table that doesn't mean their racist views of us will change or disappear. We cannot change people's ideologies, attitudes, feelings and thoughts about us. If someone hates you they are going to find a reason to dehumanize/abuse you. Again, there is nothing we can do to change people's attitudes. You cannot force someone to like you. The only thing you can do is live your life and be happy.

As a black lesbian I can tell you this: There is no feeling greater than love. When you find that woman who makes your heart skip a beat nothing else will matter. Bigots will be forgotten. Being a triple minority will be forgotten. Hatred of homosexuals will be forgotten. Fear of dehumanization and abuse will be forgotten. The only thing that will matter is holding on to the feeling that will take over your mind, body and soul whenever you think about HER. Nothing is stronger than that feeling.
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