March 22, 2009

Ah, gay history erasure: Black Edition

So, for what's probably going to amount to be a pretty short post, I've thought about this a lot. What to say?

First off, I'm having a blog memory fail because I wanted to show you all a particular & interesting article I saw a few days ago that made me think of this...but now I can't find it *sad* goddamnit Xands.

AHAHAHAHAHA I FOUND IT. It's was Kai Wright's essay called "Queering Hansberry" here. The full essay is included with that link. Thank you very much Google.

That may turn out to be okay though because what I'm about to say isn't exactly new *shrug* as you may tell by the title. By damn I might just have to switch my major to history 'fore too long. It is a great interest of mine, by the way, even if I wouldn't call myself a buff. Is it so wrong to want to see all the facets of history represented equally?

History just focuses on the winners, no, and we are not the winners, that's for sure. If I had that blog entry on hand I wanted to show *sigh* this would make sense, but for the past couple of days I've been wondering about the black community and it's erasure of LGBT history. Specifically the black community because in this case, I mean we're doing it to ourselves.

When my history class last semester snuck (yeah I said snuck, do something about it) homosexuality into our lessons I was amazed and excited. Holy shit he just acknowledged the history of gays in the military. No shit! Too bad that professor gave such drama and is now gone. Then, as you know, I'm in African American history class now...

Part of our grade in that class is our ability to do oral1 and we all more or less chose a topic in the beginning of the year--a person to give a report on. We ran a little late even for being a small class but I think everyone that needed to has performed, we've gone from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance so we're about in the 50s now.

Now...the reports don't have to be terribly thorough, just THOROUGH ENOUGH for about 5 minutes. Fine. One person gave a report on Langston Hughes and I was...disturbed at a lot of info that was missing (again, thorough enough). But while I was taking notes I mused on the first time I heard that Langston is/might have been (jury's still out of course) a closeted gay. As well as his potential Communist ties, for some reason we just like to glide over that. Then another person gave a report on Claude McKay who was bisexual--again I wondered, "Huh." Then someone neglected to mention that Paul Robeson was blacklisted for alleged communist ties. WTF, pick up people.

The reports were thorough enough. I wondered after the class, a little before my migraine from hell, SHOULD the reports have mentioned Langston & Claude's respective homosexuality & bisexuality? Was it trivia or an important facet of both of their lives? Hmm.

Those are only two examples though...the blog entry I'm still looking for references Lorraine Hansberry, writer of Raisin in the Sun. Did you know she had LGBT community ties as well? If you did you knew better than I seems that aspect of her life is just washed over.

It's pretty irritating and disturbing how easy it is to just wash over the gay & lesbian history of blacks. We're already marginalized for our skin color, just Cthulhu help you if you've got something else going on over there. People of color, it seems, are in general at more risk of coming out that closet than our white counterparts *shrug* it's not a great situation...with blacks especially it seems our strong community ties to the Church seem to be at the unfortunate root of it. Many of us take that "love the sinner hate the sin" garbage a little too far and people suffer.

It's a curious thing. I wonder if my African American History class will be open enough--by open I mean timewise--to include just a little LGBT history in our curriculum. As we get closer to the 60s & 70s it won't be as easy to deny it I don't think, it's got to come up in there somewhere. I hope it does.

Note1: I'm actually worried about how often I can get away with saying that.

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