Racism Issues in Predominantly White
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Communities
North America - Europe - Australia
Selected Postings & Introduction
|Racism in San Francisco||Proposition 8 Related Racism, CA|
|White Racism Issues: Asian Gay & Bisexual Males: A Work in Progress!|
Racism / GAM Pages.
Catherine Smith (Curriculum Vitae): Queer as Black Folk? PDF. Symposium Paper, 2007
Smith, Catherine (2007). Queer as Black Folk? Wisconsin Law Review, 2: 379-407.
"The Same-as Mantra Negates the Racism of White LGBT People as Members of the White Majority"
is an activist, thinker, writer and speaker. Mia identifies as a queer
physically disabled woman of color, Korean American transracial and
transnational adoptee... “Intersectionality” is a Big Fancy Word for My
The Queer Case of Racism in the Gay community (2011):
Choi KH, Han CS, Paul J, Ayala G (2011). Strategies for managing racism and homophobia among U.S. ethnic and racial minority men who have sex with men. AIDS Education and Prevention, 23(2):145-158. Abstract. PDF.
Staunton, Shawn (2011). Shooting ourselves in the foot: discrimination in the LGBT community. HIV Australia, 7(3): 35-37. PDF Download.
Tackling Racism (2008, Australia)
The Two-spirited Rebirth of Indigenous Nations:
From One White Gay Male to Another: Calling out the Implicit Racism in Dan Savage’s ‘Liberal’ Politics & the ‘It gets better’ Campaign” (2012)
The recent launch of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign on MTV networks is failing to gain momentum among progressives because the campaign itself is myopic. While I applaud Savage for responding to the increasing number of gay and lesbian suicides that often follow bullying and violence, the framing of this campaign gives me pause. The campaign was developed in response to a culmination of the heartrending stories of gay and lesbian youth suicides (some of whom were youth of color-many of which have historically been unable to get national or even local media attention) within the media that reached its apex with the tragic death of Tyler Clementi, a white gay male.
Indeed, when we think of victims of homophobia-induced violence, many US citizens can easily recall the names of white gay males Tyler Clementi and Matthew Shepard but not Sakia Gunn, a black working class lesbian or Brandon White, a black gay youth. Why is that? Because many of the news stories prioritized within gay media outlets are framed by folk who seem to have a limited platform that favors particular persons, namely, middle-class white gay males, over some others. Savage and other middle-upper class gay white men benefit from this form of commodification. It is a hard truth that I, too, have to confront.
It is important, then, that we challenge Savage and his politics. He fails to recognize that the popularity of the campaign and its legitimacy depend on the very subtle exclusion of non-white and non-bourgeois bodies. Moreover, the movement has garnered international endorsement by politicians and celebrities because being gay in America, in the West, somehow speaks to the democratization of what was once considered radical, namely, gay identity. So, yeah, it gets better for queer folk in the US context, but which queer folk?
There is no national campaign for the indeterminable number of Black queer and transgender men and women that have been killed or gone missing across the country. This is not because many have not tried to create such, but because the media, and liberal gays who shape it, like Savage, don’t seem to care...
Racism in the LGBT Community (Wikipedia).
What Rice Queens Study." White Racism / Its Negative Effects &
Associated Masculinity (or lack of masculinity / effeminacy) Issues.
|The Binary & Bisexual Erasure - A Hatred of Bisexual People in Gay Communities?|
|Femininity Issues in Gay Communities - A Hatred of Feminine Men? Part A|
|Femininity Issues in Gay Communities - A Hatred of Feminine Men? Part B|
||Having Sissy Issues Addressed in Schools. Do Gay Males Hate Feminine Males?|
The AVP marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(Sunday 21st March 2004) by calling for local GLBT action to address racism
and sexual racism which Co-Convenors Jilll Wood & Greg Adkins said
"excludes people & forces some of our brothers & sisters to be invisible
- almost like forcing them back into a closet all over again".
An Open Letter to My White Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Sisters and Brothers
Diane Finnerty (2004) - PDF Download.
|SAGE USA (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, 2013). Health Equity and LGBT Elders of Color: Recommendations for Policy and Practice. PDF Download. LGBT elders of color are an important part of this demographic shift—yet
the available research shows that they often face heightened health
disparities and are largely rendered invisible in public policy
discussions on aging.Many LGBT elders of color enter retirement age
without the supports necessary for healthy aging. And a lifetime of
discrimination has adversely affected LGBT elders of color, based on
multiple aspects of their identities, including racial inequality,
anti-LGBT discrimination, challenges based on immigration status, and
more.[Maybe, someday, a report will be written about the effects of white racism on LGBTQ Elders of Color.]
Giwa S, Greensmith C (2012). Race Relations and Racism in the LGBTQ Community of Toronto: Perceptions of Gay and Queer Social Service Providers of Color. Journal of Homosexuality, 59(2): 149-85. Abstract. : "... Employing interpretive phenomenological analysis, findings indicated that intergroup and broader systemic racism infiltrates the LGBTQ community, rendering invisible the lived experiences of many LGBTQ people of color..." Excerpt: "Events like Gay Pride, similar to Caribana (which last only couple of days), give a false sense of community cohesiveness. The challenges facing the gay community are much more complex than these events can ever address. The absence of social support [for LGBTQ people of color] within the gay community contributes to isolation, marginalization, and a lack of sense of belonging."
Skyes H, LIoyd J (2012). Gay Pride on Stolen Land: Homonationalism, Queer Asylum and Indigenous Sovereignty at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Paper submitted for publication to GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. PDF Download. Download Page. In this paper we examine intersections between homonationalism, sport, gay imperialism and white settler colonialism. The 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, Canada, produced new articulations between sporting homonationalism, indigenous peoples and immigration policy. For the first time at an Olympic/Paralympic Games, three Pride Houses showcased LGBT athletes and provided support services for LBGT athletes and spectators. Supporting claims for asylum by queers featured prominently in these support services. However, the Olympic events were held on unceded territories of four First Nations, centered in Vancouver which is a settler colonial city. Thus, we examine how this new form of ‘sporting homonationalism’ emerged upon unceded, or stolen, indigenous land of British Columbia in Canada. Specifically, we argue that this new sporting homonationalism was founded upon white settler colonialism and imperialism—two distinct logics of white supremacy (Smith, 2006)...
Perez N, Torres L (2011). Latina Portrait: Latina Queer Women in Chicago. Chicago: Amigas Latinas& Mujeres Latinas en Acción. PDF Download. The survey data reveals that Latina queer women have many experiences of racism both in interactions with Caucasian LGBTQQ individuals and in predominantly Caucasian queer settings. Approximately 48 percent (47.7%) of Latina queer women said that they agreed (either slightly agreed,moderately agreed, or strongly agreed) when asked if they feel that there is a lot of racismin the Caucasian LGBTQQ community. Similarly, 17.2 percent of women agreed that they are discriminated against because of their race/ethnicity in places specializing in services for predominantly Caucasian GLBTQ communities. In the space for additional comments, one respondent explained that she feels there are very high degrees of racism in Caucasian queer communities. She reported, “I have personally witnessed a number white [sic] queers making really racist comments about Blacks and Latino/as- for example, I have heard people make fun of Latinos for their accent when they speak English, and make really derogatory comments about them being illegal immigrants, stealing American jobs, driving down the minimum wage, etc.”
Misawa, Mitsunori (2011). The Intersection of Racist and Homophobic Bullying in Adult and Higher Education. Paper presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, September 21-23. PDF Download. - Misawa, Mitsunori (2010). Racist and Homophobic Bullying in Adulthood: Narratives from Gay Men of Color in Higher Education. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 24(1): 7-23. PDF Download. PDF Download. "Three conclusions were drawn from the study: 1) The bullying of gay male faculty of color in academia was prevalent and practiced by White and/or heterosexual males and females while simultaneously being cloaked in civility, subjectively applied rules and policies, and enabled by a cooperatively complicit system; 2) Bullying had a negative cumulative impact on gay male faculty of color necessitating them to live in defense of their psychological well-being and academic careers; and 3) The gay male faculty of color separately and in isolation from other gay male faculty of color constructed support networks and developed self-help mechanisms as a way to insure their survival in academia."
double trouble? the health needs of culturally diverse men who have sex with men (2010, Australia, PDF): Culturally and linguiscally diverse (CALD) men who have sex with men (MSM) experience discrimination from other MSM in relation to their ethnicity and from their family and community in relation to their sexuality. Although they share the same human capacity for adaptation as anyone else, the added complexity of dealing with discrimination and exclusion is a challenge and a cause of stress, and it can result in feelings of shame and silencing of self-expression and social activity. Social exclusion decreases access to support from friends and community, and limits opportunities for social learning; in its acute forms it can precipitate intense emotional crisis, distress and anomie, which may occasion risk taking... CALD MSM experience racial discrimination on the gay ‘scene’ (commercial social and sex on premises venues and community organisations) and online. Discrimination is often based on stereotypes about gender, associated with their cultures of origin and physical appearance; although it frequently takes the form of sexual rejection, community participants also encountered men who were attracted to them because they match a given stereotype.
Berlin, Germany: Do you see any parallels between the majority white queer scene and the white mainstream gay scene? There are parallels but also differences. One tends to produce openly racist exclusions, while the other (which calls itself explicitly antifascist and antiracist) tends to do this in a hypocritical and coded form, often even as part of a so-called antiracist politics. This has become very clear with anti-Muslim racism, which in Berlin manifests itself in indirect and even direct connection with processes of gentrification. These days I would rather live in Charlottenburg or Dahlem (white middle-class suburbs) where power is out in the open. Where I know where I stand in relation to bourgeois whites as a man of colour. Without any pretense. Sometimes those people can handle this better than the ‘supercool‘ queers who come here, appropriate our neighbourhoods and then go to Prinzenbad (a popular outdoors swimming pool in Kreuzberg) and make fun of the teenagers there or get scared of them. Another factor is class (laughs). Most of them are probably middle class. Finally there’s another thing that’s struck me: Most queers are young and the mainstream gays are often older. This is my question: Why are queers – and this also goes for many antifascist activists – mostly young? Where do they go when they’re older? It’s strange, they disappear when they’re older (laughs).
IGLYO Study Session (2009) - "Intercultural and Ethnic Diversity within LGBTQ Youth Communities" at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg, France.
About the Study Session: LGBTQ youth is not a homogenous group, but come in multiple facets from multiple heritages and backgrounds. The diversity and cultural element to LGBTQ youth is widely underrepresented within the discussions in and about the LGBTQ community, both nationally and internationally. There is a lack of representation of the different equality strands within LGBTQ spaces, and this translates into smaller initiatives for LGBTQ young people from different ethnic minorities and those from deprived geographical or socio-economical areas in Europe. At the same time in many European societies, different sets of values between immigrant communities, ethnic minorities and indigenous people manifest themselves. It leads to a situation in which, sometimes, indigenous LGBTQ people feel that their achieved emancipation experiences the pressure of a renegotiation of common societal values. On the contrary, migrant communities and ethnic minorities often experience a lack of understanding and tolerance about their own models of sexuality and identity. IGLYO aims to bring people from seemingly different cultural and/or ethnic background together to explore the diversity within the LGBTQ community, exchange ideas and points of views. This will help provide an environment where IGLYO, together with its member organisations, start initiating practices that make our work more inclusive and coherent within different equality strands.
|Sonnekus, Theo (2008).
Invisible Queers: Investigating the 'other' Other in gay visual
cultures. Master or Arts Dissertation, University of Pretoria. PDF
Download. Download Page.
"The apparent ‘invisibility’, or lack of representation of black men in
contemporary mainstream gay visual cultures is the primary critical
issue that the study engages with. The study presupposes that the
frequency with which white men appear in popular representations of
‘gayness’ prevails over that of black men. In order to substantiate
this assumption, this study analyses selected issues of the South
African queer men’s lifestyle magazine Gay Pages. Gay visual cultures
appear to simultaneously conflate ‘whiteness’ and normative
homosexuality, while marginalising black gay men by means of
positioning ‘blackness’ and ‘gayness’ as irreconcilable identity
constructs. Images of the gay male ‘community’ disseminated by queer
and mainstream media constantly offer stereotypical, distorted and
race-biased notions of gay men, which ingrain the exclusive cultural
equation of white men and ideal homomasculinity. The disclosure of
racist and selectively homophobic ideologies, which seem to inform gay
visual representation, is therefore the chief concern of the
Green AI (2008). Health and Sexual Status in an Urban Gay Enclave: An Application of the Stress Process Model. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 49(4): 436-451. From Abstract: ...three years of fieldwork demonstrate a sexual status order that privileges caucasian, middle-class men in their twenties and early thirties, and that disadvantages black and Asian men, men over 40 years of age, and poor men. Men with low sexual status faced significant stressors in the form of avoidance from others, stigmatization, and rejection. These stressors, in turn, taxed personal resources, including self-esteem, sense of social support, and sense of control, and they also negatively affected emotional states in the form of depression and anxiety.
Plummer, Mary Dianne (2007). Sexual racism in gay communities: Negotiating the ethnosexual marketplace. PhD. Dissertation, University of Washington. From Abstract: Participants of color identified internalized sexual racism, decreased self-esteem, and psychological distress as the primary psychological consequences of sexual racism. The data analyses revealed quantitatively and qualitatively distinct racial pressures operating in the gay community in Seattle. Participants estimated that compared to the heterosexual community, their gay community was more racially stratified and exhibited higher rates of sexual racism. They described the uniquely sexual basis of racial stereotypes and pointed to a skewed set of social norms operating in the gay community which allow greater expression of sexual racism than in the heterosexual community...
Kudler, Benjamin A (2007). Confronting Race and Racism: Social Identity in African American Gay Men. Master of Social Owrk Dissertation, Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass. PDF Download. Download Page. Abstract: This qualitative study examines how race and racism function in gay communities, looking at factors facing African American gay men in their identity formation and daily experience. Specifically, this study has examined the presence of sexual racism, sexualized racial stereotypes that affect the way men of color are viewed by white gay men...
Bhattar RG, Victoria NA (2007). Rainbow Rice: A Dialogue between Two Asian American Gay Men in Higher Education and Student Affairs. The Vermont Connection, 28: 39-50. PDF Download. I did not see myself or other gay people of color as full members of the queer community, and thus I fell prey to the racist environment of the gay culture within which I operated. As I internalized the belief that queer people of color (QPOCs) are inferior to gay White men, I unconsciously believed I needed to date a White man to become “full.” I avoided other QPOCs and only interacted with White men until my junior year of college.
Tucker, Andrew (2009). Framing exclusion in Cape Town's gay village: the discursive and material perpetration of inequitable queer subjects. Area, 41(2): 186-197. Abstract: Within and beyond geography, there has been a growing concern in understanding how and why exclusion can occur within ‘gay spaces’, with a specific focus on Western Europe and North America. Heidi Nast's (2002 Queer patriarchies, queer racisms, international Antipode 34 874–909) work on the ‘white queer patriarch’ has taken this work further by exploring the multiple, interrelated, historical and contemporary factors that can lead to exclusion and exploitation. Despite growing interest surrounding South Africa's new liberal queer agenda, issues of contemporary exclusion among queer groups as a direct result of race and racism have remained relatively unexplored. By incorporating elements of Nast's schema, this article will examine the power that exists in the creation and framing of essentialistic ‘white’ and ‘coloured’ queer male subjects in Cape Town's gay village. These subjects will be shown to simultaneously draw on historical inequalities while also re-imagining them in contemporary settings to re-inscribe perceptions of classed and gendered difference. The creation of such inequitable subjects helps us understand how exclusion can become real and normalised within a space such as Cape Town's gay village in a way that draws on a history of material inequalities and discursive perceptions of race.
Raymond HF, McFarland W (2009). Racial mixing and HIV risk among men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 13(4): 630-7. PDF Download. Abstract: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of MSM... in San Francisco during 2007-2008... The sample of 1,142 MSM was 56% White, 22% Latino, 14% Asian, and 9% Black and reported on 3,532 sexual partnerships... Black MSM were reported as the least preferred as sexual partners, believed at higher risk for HIV, counted less often among friends, were considered hardest to meet, and perceived as less welcome at the common venues that cater to gay men in San Francisco by other MSM. Our findings support the hypothesis that the sexual networks of Black MSM, constrained by the preferences and attitudes of non-Blacks and the social environment, are pushed to be more highly interconnected than other groups with the potential consequence of more rapid spread of HIV and a higher sustained prevalence of infection. The racial disparity in HIV observed for more than a decade will not disappear until the challenges posed by a legacy of racism towards Blacks in the US are addressed.
Gay Porn's Anti-Racism Ambassador, Tré Xavier (2009).
.... Almost as if I'm some kind of Ambassador. And that's the problem ---- I am the ONLY Ambassador.
Many within this industry are aware of the problem of racism in gay porn, including those who are not racist, yet benefit from it. We speak about it privately, but when I speak out on the issue in a public forum like my blog, and a gay porn news sites gets wind of it. I rarely (if ever) hear of them making any public notice that they agree. When in all actuality, most of them are most popular than me, so if change can be incited, they should be the ones speaking up on this. I find that quite distressing, because in an industry of so many, I become a lone warrior. And being put in the position of a lone warrior in my fight against the racism in gay porn makes me feel like a vast majority of gay porn performers are not men, but stone cold faggots for not using the power of recognition that they have to start eradicating this problem. So if you want another reason why I refuse to pay for American-made gay porn, now you know. It's because I want to watch the strength of gay MEN fucking, not the weakness of faggots. And yes, there's that ugly word - "faggots". To haters of that word, I'm not going over why I differentiate between referring to someone as a "gay man" while I call someone else a "faggot". Do a search of the word "faggot" in this blog, and you will find that explanation. But I will say this much - when your fellow man is being wronged, a man takes a stand, while faggots hide and act like there's no problem. Therefore, the ugliness of that word "faggot" fits their ugly act of cowardice, because while racism itself is unjust, so is the fact that I feel so alone in this battle. Hence my strong words to express my frustration...
|LGBTQ Racial Equity Campaign: Extensive research shows that racial inequities persist in every indicator of well-being, including health and wellness, school readiness, economic success and civic participation, among many others. Further, funding for LGBTQ people of color has been woefully inadequate, which profoundly impacts the health of these organizations and, ultimately, the effectiveness of our broader movements for social change. Let’s begin redressing these inequities. - Racialicious: Toward a More Colorful Future.|
|A Different Shade of Queer: Race, Sexuality, and Marginalizing by the Marginalized: "Shared experiences of oppression rarely lead to sympathy for others who are also marginalized, traumatized, and minimized by the dominant society. Rather, all too miserably, those who should naturally join in fighting discrimination find it more comforting to join their oppressors in oppressing others. As a gay man of color, I see this on a routine basis – whether it be racism in the gay community or homophobia in communities of color..."|
|Re-historicising 'Racism': As a gay Aboriginal, however, in racist, homophobic Australia, [Wayne] King was doubly marginalised on the basis of both race and sexuality. He experienced racial prejudice from the gay community, and homophobia amongst sections of the Aboriginal community. He recalls being picked up by a gay man in a car, and thrown out again as soon as the man learned he was Aboriginal. Even more hurtful was his discovery of the depth of racial prejudice amongst his gay friends: "Rejected and spurned by society for being homosexual, they had spoken angrily of the discrimination they had to face. Yet they saw nothing wrong in their attitude towards me; saw nothing to condemn in themselves... Those white boys in that room thought that a racist was some yobbo in a blue Chesty Bond singlet, shorts and thongs with a beer can in one hand, the other scratching his balls. The subtlety of racism had escaped them. If you had an education, you couldn't be racist. Terry's racist comment [that the right place for Aborigines was in the bottom of an ash-tray] had tipped the scales for me. Gays may have been outsiders, but as a gay Aborigine, I might as well have been from Mars.""|
|Chang S, Apostle D (2008). Recommendations from the AGMC Conference, 2004. Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 4(1): 56-60. PDF.
The barriers that many culturally and linguistically diverse GLBTIQ people face are significant. They are often shunned by their own families and communities; only then to discover that racism and intolerance is often as rampant within the gay and lesbian community as it is within the broader community. Unfortunately there are very few avenues of support and understanding for people living these experiences. However, in Australia over the past decade or so, a number of culturally based GLBTIQ groups have formed of their own accord. In Victoria alone there are now at least 20 groups representing over 34 cultures. These groups have traditionally formed to provide social support to GLBTIQ people living with the often unique issues of coming from a diverse cultural background. These groups provide an important ongoing support and developmental role within the gay and lesbian community...
|Brown III, Clarence Ezra (2008). Racism in the gay community and homophobia in the Black community: negotiating gay black male experience. Master's Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. PDF.
The gay Black male research participants disclosed that because of Black stereotypes, gay stereotypes, acceptance with stipulations in the gay community and the black community, racism in the gay community, homophobia in the Black community, and perceptions of blackness and masculinity’s affect on gay Black men…gay Black men live their lives with various restrictions. In other words, gay Black men do not appear to be living their lives the way they feel they ought to be living it. This work is important because a majority of the participants stated they wished to live restriction free lives. They are not able to fully be themselves in their daily lives and often have to assimilate to be accepted.
|Ryan, Maura (2007). Queer Internal Colonialism: Aiding Conquest Through Borderless Discourse. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City, Aug 11, 2007. (Abstract & Full Text)
The idea of internal colonialism has been popular in both social science writings and political discourse. This paper attempts to provide a new way to think about this concept in the realm of sexual communities. Specifically, I engage the topic of racism in the queer community, arguing that white gays and lesbians are active participants in larger U.S. internal colonialism of people of color by their denial of race differences along sexual orientation lines and by their use of racist political rhetoric to further sexual rights for their group. The raced dimensions of queer theory and of mainstream gay and lesbian politics are linked to the idea of internal colonialism, making the argument that sexual communities aid the U.S. nationalist project of racism.
|Engebretsen, Elisabeth Lund (2008). Queer ethnography in theory and practice: Reflections on studying sexual globalization and women’s queer activism in Beijing. Graduate Journal of Social Science, (2): 88-116. PDF Download. "This paper addresses the problem of the cross-cultural study of sexuality in global times. I take issue with the inherent bias in analytical frameworks and theoretical assumptions that typically structure Western studies of non-normative sexuality in ‘other’ places, and provide a critical reconsideration of the challenges to queer studies of transnational sexuality... I conclude that ethnography as method, theory, and academic-activist ethics, provides an invaluable tool for the study of transnational sexualities. It helps us move beyond the binaries of absolute and categorical differences between a Western queer self and the non-Western lesser other."|
|Tori DeAngelis (2009). Unmasking 'racial micro aggressions'. Monitor, 40(2). Full Text.
"Some racism is so subtle that neither victim nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is going on—which may be especially toxic for people of color."
|The Strange, Strange Story of the Gay Fascists. - The Fringe of the Fringe: Homosexual white supremacists, sneered at by their fellow racists, come out on the Net (2000). - Gay white supremacists out themselves on the internet.
A Related Issue: A Eurocentric Problem - by Shahid Alam (2010)
The Foundation of the White Supremacy Delusion?
The most troubling aspect of this youth's experiences, however, was that white gay individuals generally had a history of not being appreciated - and even being hated - 'only' because they were different, and they also seemed to have learned nothing from this. These white gay males were, in fact, harming others, as they had been harmed, 'simply' because they were "different." Most troubling was the fact that the gay community was giving its tacit approval to racism by ignoring the issue. Little had therefore been learned from their own lives, except for being much like their abusers, or the ones who gave their tacit approval to such abuses.
Some racist issues were tackled in The Additional Problems of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth of Colour - a chapter from: The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem(1993, 1994). An addition was made in 1998: General White GLB racism in North America, Calgary racism issues. There are now links to Internet Resources related to "Of Colour" Issue: North American and International, and the "racism" section is in part replicated in Internet Resources on racism in white-dominated GLB communities. I am, however, only one 'white' individual, and I do not decide what will be done about racism in predominantly white gay communities. At best, I can highlight the problem and then let gay communities define themselves in this respect, as they have done.
As I collected information on suicide problems of sexual minority youth, I became alert to the fact that no one was specifically exploring the suicide problems of North American GLB (gay, lesbian, bisexual) youth of colour, but this did not mean relevant data was not available. For example, one study produced data indicating elevated lifetime incidences of suicidality for 137 GB male youth of colour compared to their white counterpart: 40% (10/25) vs 28% (31/112), respectively (Remafedi et al., 1991). A sample of 1,925 adult lesbian taken in the 1980s produced a lifetime suicide attempt incidence of 28% for lesbians of colour compared to an incidence of 16% for white lesbians (Bradford and Ryan, 1988).
White racism is a widely reported to exist in North American gay communities, and the same unsavory attribute also exists in England where gay communities are said to be also intolerant to other human attributes within their group:
As with other minorities within minorities, gay Asians face hostility from their own community and from the gay scene ["the racist gay scene"] they turn to for help. Like gay Christians, gay Tories or even gay football supporters, Rajvir faces ignorance whichever way he turns. Makes you feel proud doesn't it? (Article by Chris Morris). [This intolerance and related abuses also applies to "bisexual" individuals and, in gay male communities, another hatred(?) seems to be directed at the more feminine gay males: 1, 2, 3.]Racism in gay communities is known to affect GB males of colour in a number of ways and, by 1999, it was recognized to likely negatively affect their access to services. A study (in progress) of this gay community attribute is reported on in Current HIV Education Research - A Bulletin for UK Professionals N/A (Issue 7 - Spring 1999: PDF File N/A): Racism and the Gay Community.
Racism in predominantly white gay / lesbian communities has many faces, the most evident being that almost all GLB organizations will totally ignore white racism - avoid any mention of it (at least publicly) - and certainly not have any relevant information and resources made available on paper or on their web pages. Recently, I contacted two GLB organizations in a large British city - the major organization in the city and the one at a university - about resources which may be available to a male university student from an Asian country who was having homosexuality-related problems. The 'communication' result was that their complete lack of information on white racism, and the lack of related resources, was "not" to be given a "racism" interpretation, and that such an inference would be met with a refusal to reply to my emails seeking some confirmation that the student in question would not be subjected to racism-related harm if he ventured into contacting these organizations.
An important part of counselling is to NOT refer a homosexually oriented individual - including the ones of colour - to any group where, in addition to existing problems in need of exploration, they would be made to experience additional problems, such as the harm associated with white racism. In this respect, we can imagine such a youth who is depressed - maybe suicidal - because he is having problems with the homosexual part of himself, and that he is also being rejected / abused / harmed by his own family because they now know what was long suspected. In such a case, should a professional in a counselling capacity refer this individual to a predominantly white GLB youth group if it is known that they are part of the reported predominantly white "racist gay scene" which generally ignores white racism issues and the related harm being done to others?
For mainstream counsellors, such referrals would likely be unethical, and even more so if the individual was depressed about his racial / ethnic group hating him simply because he was different, thus making realize that little hope in the world can be had given that his own group has learned nothing from what they often complained about: being abused / harmed by white people simply because they are different. For such a youth, venturing into predominantly white gay communities could become the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of having hopes for a better world, given that gay people also seem to have learned nothing from having been abused for "being different." Would not, however, university-based GLB groups be different? Maybe not, as Paul reported in 1993:
A gay students' organization provided Paul Fernandez, 28, with his first experience as a gay person of color. A white-dominated group, this organization proved to be an unpleasant situation for Fernandez. "It was the most painful experience I've had as a gay person." he recalls (Diversity, Division, and Racism in Calgary's Gay and Lesbian Community). Paul continues: "Whites don't have to struggle with internalized racism," he says. "Whites are experts on racism, shouldn't they know it better themselves? Why don't they form their own group and examine their racism?"The citation is from one of two first articles - the other is Liberating Ourselves by Kevin D'Souza - to report on the rampant racism which had not been openly spoken about in Calgary's gay and lesbian community, and there was a fallout from the event. By 1995/96, Kevin and others were leaving Calgary, and Paul was soon to follow. The hope was that, by going to a larger city like Toronto, there would likely be less harm inflicted on them. My response to this, however, was to emphasize that their departure would greatly please the most extreme white racists in Calgary's gay community (and the lesser racists too), meaning here that their wish was to NOT have individuals of colour in the midst, or the fewer the better!
It is most interesting that the issue of white racism in Calgary's gay and lesbian community has not been tackled in any significant way in gay / lesbian publications since 1993, and the implications are self-evident. With respect to the two articles referenced here, I asked a Vietnamese gay male doing his master's thesis at the University of Calgary to comment on their relevance to the present racism situation in Calgary's gay and lesbian community. His response was that about 90% of what was written still applies, noting here that one could not expect 100% accuracy in such articles written at any time. Furthermore, the editor of the magazine also apologized for problems with the main article, such as quoting interviewed individuals out of context (Letter to Editor and Reply).
It is also amazing that, on the Internet, information exists on racism in predominantly white gay and lesbian communities, but that no one seems to have taken the initiative of collating the relevant information and making it available. A number of "racism" reasons may account for this; the motivations of white gay / lesbian individuals are self evident, but why have homosexually oriented individuals of colour have not done this? One answer comes to mind from a conversation I had with Paul Fernandez before he left Calgary. White gay and lesbian community leaders appear to have a number of ways to tell their "of colour" counterparts: "We are the dominant game in town and should you make us look bad by telling the truth about your experiences with our racism, which includes the fact that we ignore such issues, there will be a price to pay."
Modern racists (white supremacists?), however, cannot afford to be as honest as their forefathers, and other ways have therefore evolved to maintain their "supremacy status" - an expression used by Mistinguette Smith Malone (1997) in - Confronting Racism - Elimination of White Supremacy essential to Coalition, Church, and Society. (Address to the National Gathering (of the UCCL/GC) plenary on July 1, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio. Originally printed in WAVES, the national newsletter of the United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian/ Gay/ Bisexual/ Transgender Concerns, September 1997, Vol. XXIV, No. 3.)
I was asked to speak to you today about confronting racism. I want to begin by letting you know that this will not be an opportunity to feel guilty. Confronting racism is work we must do to survive. Feeling guilty is not a good strategy for survival. It is an outstanding way to paralyze change. Your guilt is of no use to me, and ultimately, of no use to you. So I invite you to abandon it as we move forward. Now, we have that out of the way...It is difficult - maybe impossible - for people of colour to win in modern "white supremacist" North America (which likely also applies to most of Europe and Australia), and this is a salient part of the documentary Blue Eyed which features Jane Elliott. She learned firsthand about white racism / supremacy via becoming defined as a "niggar lover" and then experiencing herself and her family being punished accordingly in both overt and covert ways. This experience sensitized her to the new ways white people have implemented to maintain their supremacy status vis-à-vis people of colour:
I like to use the phrase white supremacy precisely because folks are uncomfortable with the phrase. Racism is a more polite word, and does not make us think of men wearing white hoods. I will use, and will encourage you to use, this phrase when talking about racism.
White supremacy is a phrase that makes things clear. It keeps us from deceiving ourselves about what the problem is, and whether it is urgent, and whether it is our job to do anything about it. The phrase "white supremacy" makes clear with whom we are allied when we are too tired, or too confused, or too guilty, or too ignorant to resist racism.
||Jane Elliott's approach is especially relevant today. It demonstrates irrefutably that even without juridical discrimination, hate speech, lowered expectations and dismissive behaviour can have devastating effects on minority achievement. Black members of the BLUE EYED group forcefully remind whites that they undergo similar stresses, not just for a few hours in a controlled experiment, but every day of their lives. And Elliott points out that sexism, homophobia and ageism work in the same way (Blue Eyed - a Film by Bertram Verhaag).|
A central theme was that, as a rule, with modern white racism, the individual of colour is still set up to lose. Paul Fernandez also understood how this works in white dominated gay and lesbian organizations. For example, to delude others with respect to their white racism, they will use tokenism with two results. The individual of colour will detect their lack of sincerity with respect to equality and leave (which has also included leaving the city of Calgary for some "of colour" community leaders), or the individual will fail to "see" the dishonesty for reasons related to internalized racism - self-hatred - which produces acceptance by white supremacists given that the individual of colour lives up to white expectations; this includes creating the delusion what white racism is minimal. As Elliott noted in the documentary, in the land of traditional white supremacy, the individual "of colour" is placed in a "lose / lose" situation - "you can't win" - with winning, such as being a token individual in white dominated GLB organizations, being more like "losing." Have predominantly white GLB organizations in North America 'really' been acting in such ways?
Keith Boykin (2000) - the author
of Respecting the
Soul: Daily Reflections for Black Lesbians and Gays (1999) and
more river to cross :black and gay in America (1996) - describes
what the situation has been in the United states in - Same
script, different cast: Bridging the gay racial gap:
For the first time, the Human Rights Campaign is contacting LGBT leaders of color to ask for their help on a new "landmark diversity initiative." It's about time they finally got around to this, but it's still too little, too late. The week before I heard about HRC, I was approached by a board member of GLAAD looking for ways to recruit blacks to its board.
People of colour have been greatly harmed in predominantly white societies and, from past experiences with the not-so-honest 'good faith' of white GLB community leaders, many are reluctant to accept such 'punishing' invitations. Boykin continues:
So how do white organizations change if people of color don't help them out? In reality, blacks and other people of color have already provided the help, and now the white community needs to do the serious work of paying attention... For many people of color, it's too late in the day for white organizations to expect sympathy. Mandy Carter, a veteran black lesbian progressive activist, says "the less skeptical side of me would say there needs to be the bridge builders, but my days of bridge building are getting damn near over." ...At this stage in the process, the responsibility to educate white people rests squarely with white people, not with people of color.Related information and resources have been made available on these web pages and it would be wise to all concerned - and especially white individuals of all sexual orientations in the "helping" professions - to begin their education by seriously considering the words of F. Kenneth Freedman in Multicultural Counseling.
First, racism is a basic and integral part of U.S. life and permeates all aspects of our culture and institutions. Second, Whites are socialized into U.S. society and, therefore, inherit the biases, stereotypes, and racist attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of the society. In other words, all Whites are racist whether knowingly or unknowingly. Third, how Whites perceive themselves as racial beings seems to follow an identifiable sequence that can be called stages. Fourth, the stage of White racial identity development in a cross-cultural encounter (counseling minorities, counselor training, etc.) affects the process and outcome of an interracial relationship. Last, the most desirable stage is the one where the White person not only accepts his/her Whiteness, but defines it in a nondefensive and nonracist manner (Sue and Sue, 1990, p. 113).
At issue is how to work with clients from different cultural backgrounds, respect their customs and culture, not allow racism and judgments to color the sessions, and still be of help... The flip side of the coin is the "color-blind" approach to race relations. For counseling it could spell disaster. Sue and Sue (1990) see race as an integral part of one’s identity, and that "those who advocate a ‘color-blind’ approach seem to operate under the assumption that ‘Black is bad’ and that to be different is to be deviant" (p. 77). My Inupiaq friend is very attuned to the racist overtones in a conversation, and when he raises the issue he is generally met with hostility. I suppose one reason for this might be his presentation. He is generally gentle but can be abrasive. On the other hand, the strength of people’s reaction seems to overshoot the intent of the confrontation. My opinion is that the people he confronts generally don’t like looking in a mirror and seeing racism. Ironically, they try to be "color-blind" missing all the while the beauty of being able to see and appreciate human colors - meaning diversity. A person may or may not identify with their racial heritage, but to deny that it exists (for a person who is culturally different or for a counselor) is burying one’s head in the sand.
Why, however, would the ones in the "helping" professions, including teachers, need such an education. Someday, they may encounter a grade-4 boy who is Black and will NOT tell you why he threw himself in front of a car to end his life, as it happened in Calgary. The following are the words of his mother quoted in The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem - Appendix F:
He was chased home, beaten-up and taunted by groups of other little boys. He was ostracized, and called horrible and vicious names. The friends he did have were mostly little girls, a lot of whom acted as his protectors.There is much to study and learn about GLBT children and adolescents of colour, and their adult counterparts, who may have considered, attempted, or even committed suicide for a number of reasons, possibly including racism they experienced after they ventured into predominantly white GLB communities. Obtaining information about suicide problems for GLBT "of colour" individuals, however, has been quite difficult, but some information exists:
I always felt so badly for him. He seemed so lonely and unhappy. He used to ask me what he could do to get friends, and make people like him. I of course told him to "JUST BE YOURSELF, AND EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU," That was the advice my mother gave me. I know now that advice was useless to him at that time. He was thinking to himself "OH NO, THAT'S THE ONE THING I CAN'T BE."
...My son and I have spent many hours talking about his experiences growing up. They both sadden and anger me. He knew who he was at 7 years-old. His very first crushes were on other little boys. Since he had already been taught heterosexism, he thought there must be something wrong with him even though the crushes he was experiencing felt perfectly natural to him. The idea that something was wrong was continually reinforced by name-calling and harassment from other little boys. The teachers saw it and did nothing to stop it. Everything he saw on television and the media portrayed gay people as either funny or sick in some way. All comments he heard were either negative or nasty, including ones made by members of his own family. He had no positive gay role models to look up to; felt completely alone, and was sure he must be a really bad person.
...At ten years old, my son started acting differently, became quiet, and lost his sense of humour. His school work suffered, and he talked about not wanting to be around anymore. After jumping out in front of a car that barely missed him, we took him to the Sick Children's Hospital for counselling. He still could not tell anyone what was really wrong. He now says he was really waiting for someone, a counsellor, a teacher, or me, to ask "THE QUESTION," He said if anyone had appeared to understand that a kid could be gay he might have opened up and talked about it. It was as if the issue didn't exist. He managed to convince the counsellors that everything was just fine. They told me I was probably overreacting and maybe he was just doing this for attention!
...My son was, and still is, a wonderful, handsome, intelligent, kind, funny, loving and talented young man. He has won many awards for his achievements, and was always well thought of by adults. He always tried to do his best to please everyone! He was wonderful, but had difficulty accepting a compliment. His confidence and self-image were so low that he could not believe he had any worth. He had been taught to hate himself. The school system and society in general had failed him since the time he was a small child. It had failed to protect him from the physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of other children. It failed to build his self-esteem by making him feel like a freak. It either ignored that homosexuality existed or taught him that it was abnormal to be one. It made him feel he had to hide himself away with no hope for a life.
Because gay and lesbian youth in general face extremely high suicide rates, Asian American gay or lesbian youth may be at extra risk. Many will not consider coming out to their families because the cultural stigma is so strong (Asian Cultural Diversity Roundtable, Session 3 N/A: Depression and Suicidal Ideation among Young Asian Americans, April 12, 2000)
They know that I'm here at UCSB, doing my Ph.D. in sociology... I have heard so many stories of Asian American gays, lesbians and bisexuals who feel left out of Asian American communities, that they become ashamed of being Asian American, or that they commit suicide because they don't know of any other Asian American gays, lesbians or bisexuals (Asian Scope. 1997: Author only identified as "gay Pilipino American man." (White Print on white)
Click Link to Search for Information about Alex Hoa: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22alex+hoa%22+gay&btnG=Google+Search&meta=
It it hoped that you will enjoy your learning adventure in this part of a web site designed to educate especially professionals - but also others - about the problems GLBT individuals "of all colours" may be experiencing at various ages, one focus being one of the most serious for youth: suicide. Additional resources at this site related of GLBT "of colour" in predominantly white countries are:
The Additional Problems of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth of Colour
Resources - Race/Ethic Minorities: U.S., Canada, Europe, New Zealand & Australia
The Global Hierarchy of Race
As the only racial group that
never suffers systemic racism, whites are in denial about its impact.
by Martin Jacques - Saturday September 20, 2003 - The Guardian
I always found race difficult to understand. It was never intuitive. And the reason was simple. Like every other white person, I had never experienced it myself: the meaning of colour was something I had to learn...
In our 14 months in Hong Kong, I learned some brutal lessons about racism. First, it is not the preserve of whites. Every race displays racial prejudice, is capable of racism, carries assumptions about its own virtue and superiority. Each racism, furthermore, is subtly different, reflecting the specificity of its own culture and history.
Second, there is a global racial hierarchy that helps to shape the power and the prejudices of each race. At the top of this hierarchy are whites. The reasons are deep-rooted and profound. White societies have been the global top dogs for half a millennium, ever since Chinese civilisation went into decline. With global hegemony, first with Europe and then the US, whites have long commanded respect, as well as arousing fear and resentment, among other races. Being white confers a privilege, a special kind of deference, throughout the world, be it Kingston, Hong Kong, Delhi, Lagos - or even, despite the way it is portrayed in Britain, Harare. Whites are the only race that never suffers any kind of systemic racism anywhere in the world. And the impact of white racism has been far more profound and baneful than any other: it remains the only racism with global reach.
Being top of the pile means that whites are peculiarly and uniquely insensitive to race and racism, and the power relations this involves. We are invariably the beneficiaries, never the victims. Even when well-meaning, we remain strangely ignorant. The clout enjoyed by whites does not reside simply in an abstraction - western societies - but in the skin of each and every one of us. Whether we like it or not, in every corner of the planet we enjoy an extraordinary personal power bestowed by our colour. It is something we are largely oblivious of, and consequently take for granted, irrespective of whether we are liberal or reactionary, backpackers, tourists or expatriate businessmen...
Race remains the great taboo. Take the case of Hong Kong. A conspiracy of silence surrounded race. As the British departed in 1997, amid much self-congratulation, they breathed not a word about racism. Yet the latter was integral to colonial rule, its leitmotif: colonialism, after all, is institutionalised racism at its crudest and most base. The majority of Chinese, the object of it, meanwhile, harboured an equally racist mentality towards people of darker skin. Masters of their own home, they too are in denial of their own racism. But that, in varying degrees, is true of racism not only in Hong Kong but in every country in the world...
Racism everywhere remains largely invisible and hugely under-estimated, the issue that barely speaks its name...
The dominant race in a society, whether white or otherwise, rarely admits to its own racism. Denial is near universal. The reasons are manifold. It has a huge vested interest in its own privilege. It will often be oblivious to its own prejudices. It will regard its racist attitudes as nothing more than common sense, having the force and justification of nature...
Confronting Racism, Promoting Respect: A union program tackles a difficult topic
"I'm a racist. My students tell me so. They claim racism doesn't exist
in our society anymore. Therefore, anyone who brings up race when analyzing
injustice is a racist. According to them, I fit the bill. I teach high
school social studies in Portland, OR. Most of my students are white; so
am I. Some still use the word "colored" when referring to African Americans..."
Racism and the Gay Community [no.762] Access via dowloading -PDF File N/A - of "Current HIV Education Research - A Bulletin for UK Professionals" (Issue 7 - Spring 1999)
March 1999 to June 1999
This study aims to explore the expression of racism within the gay community. Particular attention will be paid to the experience of using gay venues and services by Black and South Asian gay men, and other men who have sex with men. This focus aims to highlight both the ways in which racism inhibits access to services and the attempts of service providers to address the problem.
Following a literature review, focus groups and one-to-one interviews have been conducted with 20 Black and South Asian men, aged between 20 and 40, who were recruited through agency networks and research contacts.
Participants were asked about their experiences of racism. This work was undertaken in co-operation with five Black and Asian non-governmental organisations with experience of working with gay men and other men who have sex with men. The final report will be disseminated to gay organisations and other service providers.
& Health Unit, Faculty of Health
Manawar Jan-Khan, University of Central Lancashire, Ethnicity & Health Unit, Faculty of Health, Preston, Lancs PR1 2HE. Tel: 01772 892 780; Fax: 01722 892 992; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org