By Sikivu Hutchinson
A video clip featuring a little white boy singing “I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong…ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven” in an Indiana church has gone viral. The boy finishes his joyful noise to a thunderous standing ovation, macho high fives, and raucous laughter from the cornfed Americana congregation. The video concludes with verses from First Corinthians citing how idolators, fornicators, and the “effeminate” will not inherit God’s kingdom. Homophobe Christian fascist culture terrorists pollute the minds of little children and call it the love of Jesus. They slaughter human rights, spawn a new generation of jack boots and call it morality, God, country, and liberty all wrapped up in putrid red, white and blue.
On another tip, President Obama’s recent endorsement of same sex marriage signals a small transition in mainstream black perceptions about homosexuality but no one should get too happy. It is still a drop in the bucket vis-à-vis substantive policy change that would dismantle economic and social discrimination against LGBT people and their families; reverse the cycle of homelessness amongst queer black youth and protect their lives in classrooms and schoolyards. The fact that there are virtually no prominent out black LGBT celebs or national public figures underscores how toxically politicized homophobia and heterosexism are in African American communities. In the black Bible Belts that spawned rumored closeted gay man Tyler Perry, no black LGBT celeb dare rear his or her head in neighborhoods where economic blight and capitalism contribute to there being a quota of five churches to every block.
As Son of Baldwin says about the closeting of actress/rapper Queen Latifah:
“Queen Latifah’s reticence to say publicly that she is a lesbian tells me a great deal about the complicated beast that is homophobia. It tells me that it doesn’t matter that everyone in the world already knows that she’s a lesbian. It doesn’t matter that she be all up in the hottest lesbian clubs in the nation. It doesn’t matter that there are pictures and video of her cuddled up on vacation with the on-again-off-again, same gender love of her life. It doesn’t matter that she headlines shows at gay-themed events. It doesn’t matter that heterosexual, cisgender people rarely have to worry about navigating the invisibilizing, perverting, and shaming of their love lives. Heterosexual, cisgender people never have to use the sham word “privacy” as a euphemism for complicity, cowardice, fear, inauthenticity, and loss.
The key is that as long as Latifah doesn’t SAY IT OUT LOUD and confirm it for her largely homophobic audience (whether the homophobia be casual or formal, benign or deadly), she will continue to earn millions of dollars in revenue and the adoration of the public. And that is, primarily, with few exceptions, the contract between the queer person and the homophobic society (ESPECIALLY for the queer of color): You will be rewarded for as long as you remain as small, loveless, and sexless as they imagine you.”
America the Beautiful.