You may have seen that Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was recently accused of having a lesbian affair, a charge she answered by declaring that she doesn’t look like a lesbian — because we all know what lesbians must look like, amirite? Doria Roberts, an incredibly talented singer/songwriter from the Atlanta area, has written an open letter to Carroll in the Huffington Post and it’s really amazing to read.
Now, I’m generally a forgiving person and I know I don’t have access to my best self every minute of every day, so I can understand how some of the things you said may have been said under duress as opposed to a deep-seated, polarizing and misguided hate for a group of people you don’t even know. I mean, Peter denied Jesus three times. And that was Jesus!
But as I’ve said, I could only understand some of the things you said.
Please do not confuse my compassion with acceptance.
When I heard the quote “Black women who look like me don’t usually engage in those type of relationships (meaning lesbian relationships)” attributed to you as a defense, my first and only thought was “No.” Really, just that. No. I wasn’t going to allow yet another public figure to offer my life up as a whipping post to absorb their public flogging — especially one who looked like me.
Yes, despite what you think, Lt. Gov. Carroll, you do look like me…
We (i.e. lesbians of color, queer women of color and black lesbians in particular) are already shouldering epically disproportionate concerns about our visibility without folks like you adding to the load. We are living in a society that almost pathologically refuses to acknowledge our existence… that is, until our existence is perceived as a threat.
Well, I am here to tell you that we are not a threat. Furthermore, we are not your problem. We are your sisters and your belief that we do not look like you has no bearing on the irrefutable fact that you do indeed look like us, whether that “look” is butch, femme, stud, punk, prep or otherwise.
When you say or do things that dehumanize me, you dehumanize yourself. Know that.
I met Doria Roberts several years ago when she came to Michigan to perform with my friend Vinx. She blew me away with her talent. Here’s a great example, one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.