As I think about how far we as SGL men and women have come in my life time I am over joyed. I think about our ability to legally marry in 17 states and the District of Columbia. This was accomplished in just the past eleven years and several other states on the horizon. Even more astounding is that on June 26 2013, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was repealed. Not to mention the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell". We have come a long way in such a short time.
Even with all of the accomplishments we have made as a community there still seems to be this very harsh reality that we have not progressed as much as we think. I say this because I continue to read some very disturbing things as it relates to dating someone that is Caucasian.
I would never say that we are color blind or should be in a country where color of one’s skin is clearly an issue. However, just the other day Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams and was televised receiving a congratulatory kiss from his boyfriend who is white. When I saw it I could hear the screams and criticisms within the African American SGL community “awww nawl not a white boy…damn”.
This was also the case when Derrick Gordon, the UMASS basketball player, recently appeared on the red carpet at the GLADD Media Awards with his white boyfriend, Gerald McCullouch. McCullouch is much older than the 22 year old Gordon as well as an actor/director. The comments after this public appearance were both of race and age.
I think back to the mid to late 70’s when African American women were turned off by seeing a brotha with a white woman. They would get very upset and feel personally offended by the fact that he would date a white woman. White women were assumed to be the trophy to one's success. So it is interesting to see similar attitudes within the black SGL community now.
Many would think that with all the oppression and discrimination we have endure that we would be the last to do the same to others. However as humans, the oppressed always wants to become the oppressor. It would be beautiful if we had become different from others and not allowed race to become a deciding factor in how we view someone's worthiness. What is sad is that by focusing on those who love people that don’t look like us we miss the beauty in their story. Living and loving who you want to is what it should be about and not about the fact that he chose someone that does not look like me. Let’s be honest 99.9% of those who made those comments would NEVER be in the running if Michael or Derrick were to only dating within their race. It is not as if you lost anything in the process or was cheated out of your possibility to catch a good man. What ever happened to the thought that love and companionship is the goal of most us within the SGL community? Finding a compatible mate is not easy to attain due of some of the other ills within the community.
Once slavery was abolished back in 1865 our ancestors were allowed to move forward to make a life as free individuals. However, we carried some of the slave owner’s characteristics where we judged each other on superficial things. Reading some of the negative comments I could only make the parallel distinction between these two instances because today we have begun to be discriminatory or bigoted based on that persons choice to love outside of his/her race. Not much has changed in these 149 years.
I think I understand the disappointment in not seeing Michael or Derrick with an African American partner. Having two men of African heritage stand before the world and display their love is revolutionary as well as validating to the world that what I (regular Africa American SGL man/woman) have and aspire to have has worth. I don’t condone the negativity and disparaging comments but I understand that place from which they come. Just like I did not see the passage of marriage equality coming in 17 states only eleven years ago. I know we will soon see an African American SGL individual with his/her African American partner publicly allowing the world to see their love for one another. It is my hope that when that does happen we rally around them with much love and support. Michael and Derrick deserve our full support as well. Let's not allow who they love as a barrier but embrace the fact that they have chosen to love.