Navigating Through Pride and Prejudice
Some of my gay friends and I see Pride month differently. Very differently. According to them, I get two months: February, for Black History month, and June, for Pride. I should feel honored, right? I have inherited the powerful but not as alluring legacy of both Hidden Figures and Stonewall.
While my less chubby friends rejoice this month in a cacophony of Britney Spears, vodka tonics and rainbow flags being flown in crowded gayborhoods across the nation, my own celebration in quitter and more sobering. As I “Yas Kween” the newly-designed gay flag, my dear, but oblivious friends, chant, “not my flag” to the same rhythm with which we defiantly chanted “not my president” a few months ago.
The inclusion of the black and brown stripes represents the existence of black and brown people in the gay community; which might be a shock. Except for RuPaul, gay people of color are discriminated against in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways in our very own community. How the f*ck does that work?
How many times have you heard at bars or dating apps, “not into blacks, white only, it’s just my preference.” Or my personal favorite, “Chocolate makes me break out!” Don’t get it twisted. We have these hurtful preferences for weight, height, etc. but my devotion to my thick and juicy bromos, runs deep. Because I’m not just a member of this bootlicious brotherhood; but I’m the Supreme. That was my first and last attempt in humor in this article. Enjoy that laugh.
So, while my ripped friends paint their 30-day Pride Month world in rainbows, unicorns and glitter, I sit in an entirely different reality that melds being gay and black into weird hues of social-political-cultural nuances. The colors that paint my world may fly in contrast to yours. My world is Bland, Brown and Gray. My world is not a celebration at times but a proclamation to resist, scream, shout, cry and get in formation. I also must do this while simultaneously gently stroking my comrade-in-arms’ “white frailty” and insisting that just because I’m pro-black doesn’t mean I’m not anti-white (come on, my boyfriend of five years is whiter than Jon Snow’s direwolf on Game of Thrones). Because I’m pro-gay doesn’t mean that I’m anti-straight (believe it or not, my mom and dad are straight). And because I’m pro-Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean I’m anti-cops (I have dated an assortment of law enforcement; which might be more fetish than anything else, but you get what I’m saying).
So before you get your Marco Marco underwear in a bunch, I love my gay community. I gayly grew up in the magical realm of Oaklawn Avenue in Dallas, my OG (original gayborhood). As a young gay boy, I was embraced by friends that showed me the way. Seriously, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. In the gay world, I learned that being an outsider was actually great. Even more than great, it was empowering. Why be everyone’s cup of tea when you could be couture? My unapologetically “me” aura came from my gay forefathers and drag mothers. I love being gay. I love my community.
So what about my black community? I have felt like an outsider in our traditional community because I was always different. Whether that was being bullied in elementary school and being called an “African Booty Scratcher” or for always knowing I was, in fact, different.
My mom is and has always been the definition of WOKE. I was surrounded by black authors, poets and inventors before I even knew who George Washington was. The black community experience wasn’t lost on me. It’s something I can’t hide or discount. But there have been many turns where I have been discounted or on the edge of losing my “black card” because of what I think, who I love and how I talk. This, ultimately, has been so suffocating that it’s so hard to co-exist. But I have no choice because my black community is my family.
Being gay in this world is difficult enough without your own community relegating you to the black section. Being black is hard enough without people challenging your “blackness.”
How black is my black community? Who are you to judge or validate? My black is being called a n*gger while walking my nephew across the street in Garland, TX at the age of 16. My black is my mom recalling stories of bricks being thrown through her window while she was one of the only black Masters in southern Champaign, IL. My black is learning at an early age what a sundown town was. My black is the innate fear of driving anywhere no matter how updated my license, insurance or car is.
But we have the ability to make gay America great again. (See what I did there?) We have to. Because, my black, like my gay, is unnegotiable.
If you would like to connect, talk or discuss RuPaul’s Drag Race, please follow me on Twitter @kwesirobertson. One love!