The CFC

15 Dec 2012

While conducting a seminar with college students about self-esteem, Yolo Akili heard a young person say something that remains an important touchstone for those of us trying to do liberatory work in our communities. When talking about loving oneself, a Black woman said, “Self love? That shit’s gay!”

I’ve turned this statement over in my head a million times as it so accurately and unintentionally reveals so much about the constructions of sexuality in our culture. “Gay” has become an all purpose insult that means something is not cool, wack, aberrant, and not worth your time. How deep is it that loving yourself is a weird and unworthy pursuit? If self love is gay, what is straight? Is straightness self hatred?

I want to be clear that I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a cis gender man or woman engaged in loving consensual relationships with cis gender women or men. Like with race in our country, the problem isn’t necessarily white people, but how whiteness as a problematic social construct impacts everyone. Similarly, I would argue that straight people aren’t the issue but the way straightness and heteronormativity operate in our culture are serious impediments to self love and self actualization.

I choose to be queer. My choosing queerness has a lot to do with the scripts that exist for straight men and women’s relationships. Take the recent box office smash, Think Like a Man. So much of what is prescribed for straight couples is for women to change themselves into what they imagine men want from them.  You can see it if you want to but it’s essentially a feature film length infomercial for Steve Harvey’s similarly titled book. It had the requisite gay jokes (for both men and women) and many a strong black woman cut back down to size. By thinking like a man, you ensure that he gets what he wants, sex, and women get what they want, a man. This reductive view on what motivates straight relationships depends on strict gender roles.

Straightness/heteronormativity sets up roles for men and women that serve a capitalistic agenda more than the building of loving relationships. The script is simple; find a member of the “opposite sex”, date, get married, buy a house, have kids and do all of this as an individual family unit. Our culture will sell you the tools to properly achieve these ends, to properly conform to gender norms that will hopefully help you attract someone to walk down the aisle with you. Buy this men’s loofa and women will be all over you, buy this lady razor and your man will love to get close to you. Selling people the idea that they are somehow insufficiently performing their  gender, and therefore not attractive, reinforces a sense of self doubt and looking externally for validation, which is great for capitalism. You have to do something or buy something to be worthy of relationship. What a queer thing to say that my relationship with myself is important and I should invest in it over and above my ability to pull a partner.

And this is why I and other queer folks are giving Obama’s announcement regarding gay marriage the side eye. Leveraging privilege for certain types of households does nothing to address systemic inequality or combat discrimination that queer folks face. Why do romantic ties afford rights and access that would otherwise be denied? And I use the word “afford” deliberately because so much of what is obscured about marriage are its roots and continued relevance as a financial institution. Love takes a backseat to the structural realities of couple privilege in our culture. Society continues to give us messages that marriage is valuable, perhaps even at the expense of our own personal safety and freedom.

Self love is awesome. It should be celebrated and encouraged, not derided because it hinders an economy that’s dependent on folks feeling insecure. If loving yourself is gay, I don’t want to be straight.

8 Dec 2012

Mobile Homecoming is an innovative and loving response to a deep craving for intergenerational connection.  A craving that lives in the hearts of queer black same gender loving elders and visionaries.   A craving that has taken over the minds of two young queer black women.  Julia Wallace of Queer Renaissance and Alexis Pauline Gumbs of BrokenBeautiful Press have decided to dedicate the next phase of their lives to collecting and amplifying the social organizing herstories of black women, trans men, and gender queer visionaries who have been refusing the limits of heteronormativity and opening the world up by being themselves in the second half of the 20th century.

We believe that the stories of how trans and cis-gendered women, trans men and genderqueer black people grew their own bravery and created community are priceless resources for our communities and the communities of the future.  We want to know how these warriors nurtured their deviant selves, we want to know how they raised their children, we want to know how they supported each other, we want to know how they created a culture of love and inclusion despite facing multiple oppressions and social stigmas.  We believe that these stories should live forever in our open mouths and our hands reaching for each other.  We believe that these herstories are the seeds of a necessary transformation in our culture where deviance is acknowledged as creativity and every member of our communities is lifted up and supported for fulfilling their vision.  We see the need to reinvoke submerged traditions of gazing at each other in wonder and taking care of each other diligently.

We understand the modes of survival in our black queer communities which include:

  • social support organizing
  • artistic creativity
  • spiritual transformation
  • revolutionary interpersonal relationships

are our key resources as we transform the meaning of life.

“We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For”- June Jordan

8 Dec 2012

Mobile Homecoming is an innovative and loving response to a deep craving for intergenerational connection.  A craving that lives in the hearts of queer black same gender loving elders and visionaries.   A craving that has taken over the minds of two young queer black women.  Julia Wallace of Queer Renaissance and Alexis Pauline Gumbs of BrokenBeautiful Press have decided to dedicate the next phase of their lives to collecting and amplifying the social organizing herstories of black women, trans men, and gender queer visionaries who have been refusing the limits of heteronormativity and opening the world up by being themselves in the second half of the 20th century.

We believe that the stories of how trans and cis-gendered women, trans men and genderqueer black people grew their own bravery and created community are priceless resources for our communities and the communities of the future.  We want to know how these warriors nurtured their deviant selves, we want to know how they raised their children, we want to know how they supported each other, we want to know how they created a culture of love and inclusion despite facing multiple oppressions and social stigmas.  We believe that these stories should live forever in our open mouths and our hands reaching for each other.  We believe that these herstories are the seeds of a necessary transformation in our culture where deviance is acknowledged as creativity and every member of our communities is lifted up and supported for fulfilling their vision.  We see the need to reinvoke submerged traditions of gazing at each other in wonder and taking care of each other diligently.

We understand the modes of survival in our black queer communities which include:

  • social support organizing
  • artistic creativity
  • spiritual transformation
  • revolutionary interpersonal relationships

are our key resources as we transform the meaning of life.

“We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For”- June Jordan

17 Nov 2012

navigatethestream:

TW: anti-LGBT bigotry

Issa Rae basically uses homophobia and transphobia in her show Awkward Black Girl as punch lines

in the first season the T-word was used as an insult levied at one of the characters

also in Jay’s awkward raps she uses the phrase “no lesbo”

19 Sep 2012

blackgirldangerous:

by Mia McKenzie

I have been thinking about this post for a long time. I have been ruminating on how, and whether, to say these things. I have been talking to trusted friends to get their thoughts and input. I have spoken to other writers about how to collaborate on a piece like this, so we could…