This month has seen two striking developments for American society: the first (on the 1st), was the “Call Me Caitlyn” Vanity Fair cover. It was a great moment for the American mainstream (and most importantly, the trans community), which brought into focus trans issues like never before. While the dialogue wasn’t always pleasant, there was, at least, a great deal of discussion. From what I saw, much of it was genuine curiosity. Before this, most of America knew of the trans community only peripherally. That type of national discussion is to be embraced.
The second was the crucial step toward equality taken by the Supreme Court on Friday, effectively making same-sex marriage legal nationwide. This was another great moment for the country and celebrations were deserved and had. (I’m a little upset I couldn’t make it to West Hollywood last night, everyone tells me that shit was HYPE.)
From exposure to inclusion, these groups have struggled and will continue to struggle. Caitlyn’s public declaration of self is a personal legacy in American culture, and the SCOTUS decision is a political and legal landmark. However, as has been shared with me in recent weeks and as I’ve seen in news articles, the gay and trans community still face legal discrimination in many states. These discriminations center largely around employment, housing, loans, medical, and many others I probably don’t know about.
For the black community these issues are very familiar. They touch many of our friends, families, and neighbors. So, imagine my surprise, confusion, and disgust twice over when I saw tweets coming out of Black Twitter (and from many black celebrities), Facebook statuses, and idle conversations in restaurants/bars where black people were dismissive of Caitlyn’s identity. Continuing to refer to her as “Bruce” and “him,” with statements like, “His momma named him Bruce, so I’ma call him Bruce.” What? The fuck? Do you think Mrs. Carter called him Jay Z when he came out of the womb? Not to mention the flat statements of homosexuality being “unnatural” and “not right.” Blacks referring to same-sex marriage as a “dark day” for America, urging prayer for sinners, and some — claiming to be secularists — saying it simply doesn’t make sense.
Homophobic and transphobic arguments make no sense logically or religiously. By this point we all know that Jesus Christ said nothing about either of them. If you’re a Christian, you follow Christ and not the vengeful old testament God. It’s also psychotic to assume that someone would choose to be gay considering that they’re literally beaten to death in the streets.
However, there’s a significant number of blacks who condemn these groups in one way or another. Many blacks call for an end to mass incarceration and systemic racial violence in this country, a critical goal to be sure. But gays shouldn’t marry? Transgender people shouldn’t be recognized and protected? This is a powerful hypocrisy that does nothing but arrest the civil liberties of all disenfranchised groups. Further, we mustn’t forget (and many haven’t) that there still exists a terrible amount of sexism in the black community. This does nothing but fracture the community, in which there are a number of homosexuals, trans folk, and — shocker — women.
I’m adding my voice to those of many others in calling this bullshit what it is: a damaging black hypocrisy. You don’t want to be executed in the street by police based on the color of your skin? Great. You should also be working and speaking out against rape culture, homophobia, transphobia, and the anti-immigration movement. There is literally no moral difference between the subjugation of these groups. The fight for one group is the fight for all. The methods may be different depending on the cause, but the goal is exactly the same: liberty. Freedom to be who you are.
The only thing that black hypocrisy doesn’t hurt is the status quo. Fuck the status quo.