Gay is NOT the new Black

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Gay is NOT not the new Black.

The term "black" is now trivialized in popular culture, and all are influenced by it. In 20th century marketing, The New Black and the Old One are all synonymous with “The Cool”. One could assume, therefore, that all black people are cool or that we have some inherent rhythm that compels the non-black community to adopt us as a trend. It’s not true. Fads come and go, but "minorities" (or minority status) tends to remain. Historically, there has always been a recognizable minority, but the cool will always come from the majority’s interpretation of the minority’s current events.

Small things are cute. Ironically, The Cool is not. It’s contrarian and controversial and cultish. It's like turning the word bad into a good concept or using instruments from the structure of a symphony to create an improvisational music genre. Minorities (black folks) are ironically The Cool because of our inability to pervade a society even in their best Pop effort. Those in the demographic majority are keen to differentiate themselves via a minority, so much so that pieces of the minority can be identified as the poplar majority...for a short time.


Gay is NOT the new Black.

Still, I’m reminded of America: the low cut leather shirt, the pants, men's high heels, silk, jerry-curls, and the prominence of closeted style homophobia of the 1980s. Twas the age after Blaxploitation, and satire like Im Gonna Get You Sucka poked fun at what we used to be. Words like sucka were bad words in my house hold, and “nigger” was the worst word anyone could speak; although when my uncles came around I heard “niggas” and “motherfuckers” thrown around frequently. The most fascinating thing about the curses that I’ve written over the past 282 words is that none of them have a red-underline as misspellings in my 2013 Microsoft Word. At some point clichés and things once considered taboo dilute into the broader culture and are no longer The Cool.  They morph into the standard. Black, however, will likely be the new black for a long time to come, because it’s an economic minority.


Gay is NOT the new Black.

I’ve never been shocked at how my identity plays into the emotional and rational responses of my derogatory culture. My race was given to me before a time that I remember, so to hear the word nigger from someone who doesn’t identify as black has always been offensive.  On the other hand, my sexuality is much more interesting (to me).  It hasn't been a fixed point like my race. It evolves. I grew into my current sexuality, as we all have to. In the 1980's per my memory, gay people didn't exist, and fag wasn't a slang or curse that was used by my parents and uncles (like motherfucker and nigga). Although I was the type of guy whose parents had no clue about his sexuality until I told them, I’ve never identified as a faggot, and still don’t. But prior to my living OUT, the word didn’t bother me much either. Today, as a sexual minority, I'm beyond offended. Time creates all wounds.

Gay is NOT the new Black.

Because its not necessary for a member of a majority to ever identify as “other” I spent about 18 years before considering identifying as straight or gay or bi or eventually pansexual. Without any identity, I didn’t have to own the negative connotations of any broad sexual group as I did with my broad ethnic group. Consistently, with that understanding, I used to think Eddie Murphy’s Delirious was the funniest stand up of all-time. It aligned with who my generation (another group I fit into) looked up to and the brand of vulgarity with which we align. Some 30 years later as Eddie says that he has no problem with Gay people at the end of his faggot skit, it leaves me with a straight face, pun intended.

I've internalized the queer cause; whereas, I hadn't years ago. At the same time, Chris Rock’s portrayal of black people vs niggers is not at all offensive. The difference is that Chris identifies as Black, but Eddie doesn’t identify as Gay or Bi, regardless of his rumors.

Gay is NOT the new Black.

Because minorities are defamed by their majority counterpart, each subcategory is further degraded. This manifests as ironic, because the conservative group seeking to slander its minority is also fighting a relatively progressive cause against its majority; reference African-Americans against progressive LGBT issues.

As individuals discover and develop their identity, they also discover and begin to own all of the flattering and defamatory connotations that come along with that identity. Pride is a trait of the activist. Activism stems from a place of anger. After confronting the ugly reality of being a socio-economic outcast, progressive, black, gay, etc. we can accept how ugly we actually are in order to find the beauty of our reality. Jokes help, but our growth will never stem from alignment with our broadest demographic groups; it will only come from acknowledging our actual identity in all of its ugly niche splendor.

writer, cultural critic, special contributor to 50 Shades of Black


Posted on December 3, 2013 and filed under sexuality, personal stories, race, Identity.