Thursday, June 26, 2008
Denying the Chosen History
The Black homosexual is hard pressed to gain audience among his heterosexual brothers; even if he is more talented, he is inhibited by his silence or his admissions. This is what the race has depended on in being able to erase homosexuality from our recorded history. The "chosen" history. But these sacred constructions of silence are futile exercises in denial. We will not go away with our issues of sexuality. We are coming home.
Across the nation, the month of June is celebrated as gay pride month. In honor of this national celebration, I too sing myself and celebrate myself.
Throughout the course of history, a number of well known black people have embraced their sexuality, bravely and openly. Many of us know about Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. We proudly recognize the voice they gave to so many of us. But how many of us know that Barbara Jordon, the first southern black female to be elected to the house of representatives was gay or that white house architect Benjamin Banneker was gay? It is rumored that singer and dancer Josephine Baker had numerous same-sex lovers and that Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen left his wife two weeks after marriage for his best man.
Today, numerous black celebrities are rumored to be gay. What impact would it have on the black community if, finally, a celebrity at the height of their career as either a professional athlete or entertainer came out of the closet and proudly embraced their homosexuality? What if Terrell Owens or Alicia Keys came out? What would that do for the black community?