All Articles Tagged "homophobia"
If you’re a fan of many reality shows, lately it seems that at least ONE man from a series or two has been accused of being on the DL. If you watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta, that accusation was hurled at Walter. If you watch Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, K. Michelle has accused both Kurt and Mimi’s new man of being gay. Regardless of society’s acceptance of homosexuality, it seems accusing a woman’s man of being gay is an outright sign of disrespect. However, it’s an even bigger blow if the accusation turns out to be true. We’ve seen it with Terry McMillan and Dina McGreevey, both of whose ex-husbands later revealed that they were, indeed, gay.
I often wondered how a woman could not know that her man is gay. While we stereotypically view gay men as flamboyant, cross dressing wannabe females, not all gay men display what are typically considered to be “gay tendencies.” Some gay men, like recently out-of-the-closet NBA player Jason Collins, are your average, athletic, masculine men who date women. Even Jason Collins’ ex said she had no idea that he was gay. So what is a woman with broken “gaydar” to do? There is no sure-fire way to tell if your man might secretly be into men, but here are a few clues that you might want to look out for if you have your suspicions.
Homophobia And Masculinity: The Real Problem With Russell “Hollywood” Simpson Allegedly “Outing” NFL Star Kerry Rhodes
Russell “Hollywood” Simpson speaks to Bossip about his alleged relationship with NFL free agent Kerry Rhodes:
“Kerry paid for everything. We had a very good life together. I always got any and everything I ever asked for. Vacations, red bottoms, the private jet in my video was us going to training camp together. I had a driver and he even gave me his Aston Martin. He later bought me my own car and because I’m not a dumb bi**h I made sure to get it my own name and he paid the whole thing off! He treated me very well. I will never talk bad about him in that way because he was really good to me.
And yet you put him on blast.
Listen, I am always down for the shenanigans. But I also know that if this was a woman doing this, her name would probably be all sorts of synonymous with the term, “bitter jump-off” right now. And I’m not saying that he is. Actually, I’m not saying anything because I don’t know for sure who is or who is not telling the truth. Right now, it is Simpson’s word against Rhodes’s word – as well as some very suspicious pictures. We can infer all we want, but with this week in the media, with supposed reputable news sources getting their facts completely wrong, it has taught us that it’s best not to draw conclusions too quick.
Not that what these two consenting adults do is any of our business anyway, which is why I am happy to read some of the pushback to this sort of sexual outing. To me, it amounts to bullying. And I know certainly this would be the attitude if Simpson had been born with female chromosomes. If Simpson was a woman, we would be questioning where his self-respect and self-esteem had gone for daring to be so tacky as to go public with their intimate details. We would be calling girl Simpson a bird and accusing her of breaking all sorts of side-jawn codes. We would be testifying about how these cluck-clucks “do the most” and pondering about what he hoped to gain from exposing such a relationship. Money? Fame?
If Simpson was a woman, we most certainly would we imploring her to take responsibility for the role she played in this situation and verbally flogging her for the part she was playing in trying to ruin this man’s reputation. And then a friend on Facebook shared this link from Funky Dineva with me and I began to think about the nuances of the If-Simpson-were-a-woman comparison more fluidly:
“There are also certain segments of the gay community who are using this story to promote their anti-feminine ignorance. Sites like Discreet City have been exploiting the story to further their own agenda. The Twitter account for the site sent out a tweet implying that Kerry Rhodes is in this situation because of feminine gay men, and that the actions of feminine gay men like Kerry’s alleged ex-boyfriend are why masculine gay men don’t like to mess with feminine gay men. It amazes me that people will use any situation as an excuse to scapegoat a group of people. Instead of looking at the ways that homophobia prevents all gay men from being viewed in a nuanced light, sites like Discreet City promote the ignorant view that the problems of gay men are rooted in the fact that some men are feminine. It’s as if the site thinks that homophobia would cease to exist if only all gay men were masculine–never mind that a significant chunk of homophobia rests on a overall hatred of men being with other men.”
Simpson gets a pass because what he says is not only scandalous but it also helps to stoke already existing paranoia around gay men, particularly gay black men. However, he does not get a pass from being on the outskirts of what is considered normal and acceptable masculinity. And in a lot of ways, his limp wrist, shrill voice and hip switching while walking are more uncomfortable and threatening than his actual loose lips. And why is this? Probably for the same reasons some call these men, “pu**ies” or “mitches” as a way to demean them.
Of course, the inference here is that anything associated with femininity and womanhood should be considered as weak, inferior, or less than manhood. And over the years I have learned that regardless of sexual orientation, there is nothing more important among men than maintaining “manhood” – or at least the perceived characteristics of what manhood is supposed to mean. It’s probably the reason why AP.9, the unknown rapper whose claim to fame was outing Ice-T’s wife Coco, can still maintain his “dignity,” despite his gossiping. And it is probably part of the reason why Rhodes doesn’t want to come out the closet – allegedly.
Yet and still, I am tired of the kiss and tell genre of gossip. Everybody is trying to be the next Karrine Steffans, but they come up looking just starved for attention. I don’t know enough about Simpson to make that determination, but anyone clamoring to get on reality television has to be looked at in a fishy manner. And unless Rhodes was some sort of right-wing, anti-everything nutjob preaching hate and intolerance while living this secret lifestyle, I don’t really see the relevancy in discussing who he is sleeping with. Honestly, if not for his connection to the NFL – and the homophobic connotation that is associated with the league – most folks wouldn’t care anything about who Rhodes was screwing. Most of you are probably even saying, “Who??” Plus, sexual snitching is just the worst, just think about Ray J.
Listen, I understand his feelings are probably hurt. Nobody – woman or man – likes to be viewed as a secret lover. I can imagine how it must feel to hold hands behind closed doors and once someone comes along, be shoved into the proverbial bushes – not that this has ever happened to me, but I do understand the feeling. With that said, did he not seem perfectly fine and cool with being shoved into the proverbial bushes prior to this very public outing? Maybe he had his money cut off. If you were conscious enough to accept that position before when he was tricking you off with red bottoms and car notes, you can’t quite claim victimhood now that you two are – allegedly – no longer together.
This past Monday, after a person was spotted strolling across the campus of Oberlin College wearing what appeared to be a hooded robe resembling those commonly worn by the K.K.K, school officials decided to suspend all classes and “non-essential” activities so that the report could be investigated, says student-run paper, The Oberlin Review.
During the suspension, students and faculty were rounded up to partake in a school wide discusion regarding the recent hate-related incidents to plague the historic college. Excluding the aforementioned sighting, a brief timeline, which recounts a few of the disturbing incidents is provided below.
Week of Feb 9th: Notes filled with “hate speech,” one of which contained a swastika were distributed among faculty mailboxes.
Feb 9th: Black History posters were vandalized. The culprit crossed out the word “Black” and replaced it with “N*gg*r.” “Year of the Queer” posters and a Chinese calendar hanging nearby were also vandalized.
Feb. 11th: Two signs containing hate speech were found near student dormitories. One sign read:
“Black History Month? N*gg*r Please!”
Feb. 12th: A note was found in the campus Multicultural Resource Center that read:
“N*gg*r + F*gg*t Center.”
Feb. 16th: “Whites Only” signs were found on water fountains and “N*gg*r Oven” was written inside of a campus elevator.“No N*gg*rs” was also etched across a bathroom door.
Mar. 4th: Multiple students reported being chased and called racial obscenities by suspects in vehicles between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Oberlin student, Zack Pekarsky told the Los Angeles Times that many students feared for their safety.
“A lot of people were very actively concerned for their safety, physically,” said the Oberlin junior.
The recent occurrences at Oberlin College are somewhat ironic, considering the liberal arts college was among the first in the country to admit Black students back in 1835.
An update suggests that the figure seen walking across the campus in klansman attire could’ve possibly been a woman wrapped in a blanket. This however, has not been confirmed. Either way, it doesn’t take away from the other blatantly racist and discriminatory acts to occur on the campus lately.
It was that great poet laureate from Brooklyn, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who once poetically avowed in the song, “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” that, Males shouldn’t be jealous that’s a female trait.
For some reason, it is an accepted belief that women, and women alone, succumb to the enticement of the green-eyed monster. If you ask most folks, be it woman or man, they will probably confirm that in general, women tend to be more catty and jealous than men and are more likely to act out of malice towards other women because of our envy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentiment casually roll off the tongue as if it were fact, and how many times, in turn, I have rolled my eyes as a response. I’m always amazed at how many people are willing to believe that women are the only gender capable of acting out badly based upon their inability to check their emotions.
Well I am here to tell you that unless he has been diagnosed with some sort of anti-social personality disorder, you can bet that men do indeed have emotions. I know, shocker right? Well let me blow your mind even further: that envy, which men might feel over an individual, can too be directed at other men. I’ll give you a second to process that point…
…got it together now? Okay good.
Show me a guy that is extremely gorgeous and happens to attract lots of attention from the opposite gender, and I’ll show you at least a dozen guys ready to pounce on him like Nino Brown did to the poor beautiful delicate flower Kareem Akbar in New Jack City (we know that was because he was light-skinned and pretty, right?). You might think I’m exaggerating, but if you want to witness true shade in action, pay close attention to how some men will speak of other men, whom they find threatening in some way. Men might not be as direct as women and attack a man over his physical appearance (i.e. shoes, body type, hair, etc…), but he will execute a well-aimed yet subtle hint about this man’s sexual preference and sit back as all his personal insecurities, fears and anxiety are transferred onto the back of the poor unsuspected schmuck.
Like for instance, I posted a promotional picture of the Kenyan Rugby “futbol” squad on my Facebook page. All the players in the picture were shirtless and were either in a pair of shorts or had a towel wrapped around the waist. And while all the men looked different, what was noticeable was how deliciously fit and toned their bodies were. I posted the picture a few months back so I can’t remember exactly how I captioned it (and I’m too lazy to search my timeline for the answer), however, I do recall writing something tongue and cheek and suggestive about orchestrating a real single ladies tour back to the Motherland (In my Beyoncé voice, singing, “If you like me than you should have put that thing on me…”). Anyway, the picture got lots of attention from the ladies in my network, who “liked,” shared and co-signed their newfound appreciation for international rugby. And the hens must have been having way too much fun because in the midst of us cackling about this fictitious voyage we were mentally embarking on, a male Facebook friend of mine decided he needed to offer his thoughts on why we were wasting our lustful time:
“I’m pretty sure that at least two of the guys in the picture are sweet.”
“Sweet” as in lacking in masculinity and/or bravery. Also used to describe a man with homosexual tendencies. And with that, all the chuckling and virtual hi-fiving had come to a screeching and uncomfortable halt. How my male Facebook friend was able to gauge individual sexuality just from looking at a single picture of men standing around pretty innocuous – with the exception of their missing shirts – is beyond my scope of understanding how “gaydar” actually works. Nevertheless, my Facebook friend was certain of this fact enough and felt compelled to cue us ladies in – just in case we were thinking of getting a little too carried away in our mid-day fantasies.
Although my Facebook friend may have felt that he was just poking fun at these brothers (and indirectly at us women), what I found very telling (and annoying), was how he felt that just putting out questions about these brothers’ sexuality would be enough to add insult in hopes of detracting away from the attention they were receiving because of their physical beauty. Nope. Sorry. For one, it’s a damn picture. I don’t even know any of these guys’ names, what positions they play or even how the hell rugby is played (I’m guessing there is a ball involved somewhere…). So why would I give two craps if these guys in this picture are gay or not? Matter of fact, when did being gay and being aesthetically pleasing to the eyes become mutually exclusive?
Anyway, this is what I told him in the comment section below the picture. And of course, this sparked an unnecessary debate in which he accused me of being sensitive and angry. But I swear I wasn’t angry, although I will admit to being a bit annoyed. I know how it goes when men want to make another guy look bad in front of the opposite sex. After all, jealousy and envy are emotions that both genders share. However, just as more women are becoming more conscious about how hurtful and counterproductive body-snarking is among women, I wish that more men would too stop the hate and understand that your insecurities and anxieties are no reason to be borderline homophobic.
Queen James? World’s First ‘Gay Bible’ Translates Passages To Eliminate Condemnation Of Homosexuality
For Christians and non-Christians alike, the Bible and understanding of it has always been somewhat controversial, with many questioning just how much of the word was written by man and inspired by God, not to mention concerns over accurate translation of New and Old Testament languages to convey the original intended meanings. Nevertheless, most people have either accepted the Word of God as just that, while others have dismissed it altogether. But now a controversial new version of the bible, labeled “Queen James,” has been created with new translations that “prevents homophobic misinterpretation of God’s Word,” according to the Daily Mail.
Pegged as the world’s first “gay bible,” publishers of the book, which is printed in the U.S., make the case for this version of the text on their website, saying:
Homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised Standard Version. There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this – only interpretations have been made. Anti-LGBT Bible interpretations commonly cite only eight verses in the Bible that they interpret to mean homosexuality is a sin; Eight verses in a book of thousands!
The Queen James Bible seeks to resolve interpretive ambiguity in the Bible as it pertains to homosexuality: We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.
The King James Bible is the most popular Bible of all time, and arguably the most important English language document of all time. The brainchild and namesake of King James I, who wanted an English language Bible that all could own and read, it has been in print for over 400 years and has brought more people to Christ than any other Bible translation. Commonly known to biographers but often surprising to most Christians, King James I was a well-known bisexual. Though he did marry a woman, his many gay relationships were so well-known that amongst some of his friends and court, he was known as “Queen James.” It is in his great debt and honor that we name The Queen James Bible so.
The editors, which have not been named, as they have listed the author of the Queen James bible as God, and Jesus Christ as “contributor” say that they edited the eight versus in question to eliminate ”interpretive ambiguity” as it relates to homosexuality. Two of those versus are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which read:
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. (KJV)”
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV)”
To explain this text, which is one of the most prominent passages used by Christians as evidence that homosexuality is a sin, the authors said:
The Hebrew word “to’evah” from which abomination is translated simply means something that is “ritually unclean,” or a “taboo.”
Given the definition of the Hebrew word “to’evah” and the other “to’evah”s in Leviticus, we suggest that by today’s standards, a biblical abomination would be understood to be “scandalous.”…
To simply replace “abomination” with “taboo” would only address 18:22, and not the death penalty proposed in 20:13. Furthermore, we don’t believe homosexual relations to be taboo, so that solution would have been unsatisfactory. Since abominable offenses aren’t all punishable by death like this one leads us to believe there was translative error at some point: If having sex with a man is punishable by death, it wouldn’t be called an abomination. Therefore, we left the word abomination as is, and found a much more elegant and logically clear solution to this interpretive ambiguity…
We assert that Leviticus 18:21 refers to “lying” with these pagan male prostitutes as a form of pagan idolatry. This fits in with the story order of Leviticus, and with the other offenses punishments punishable by death within Leviticus. We therefore change Levticus 18:21 and 20:13 to read as follows:
Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination. (QJV) (Page 75)
If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (QJV) (Page 76)
In the Editor’s Notes, the other six passages in question are rewritten in similar ways to further what many say is just one piece of the overall same-sex marriage agenda in the United States. As far as the accuracy debate, Douglas J. Moo, Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College and a professional Bible translator, told The Christian Post that the explanations the Queen James editors’ have come up with to address so-called homophobia in the King James version of the bible, isn’t necessarily correct either:
‘Few, if any English translations use the actual words ‘homosexuality’ or ‘homosexual.’ But the history of English translation shows that versions have consistently used other language to refer to what we would call homosexual relationships’, said Mr Moo.
‘For instance, the King James Version of Romans 1:27 refers to ‘men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.
‘It would be very difficult to deny that this language, and the language found in many other places in both the OT and the NT, refers to homosexuality.’
What do you think about this new translation?
This story about an Arizona principal’s choice of punishment kind of slipped through the pages of the blogosphere but it bears noting and repeating.
According to the local Arizona ABC news affiliate:
“Two East Valley high school students were forced to hold hands in front of their classmates as punishment this week for fighting. Now that punishment is drawing criticism.
The students at Westwood High in Mesa were apparently given the option to hold hands instead of being suspended. “Kids were laughing at them and calling them names asking, ‘Are you gay?’” said student Brittney Smyers, who saw the punishment play out at the school earlier this week.
“It was funny,” said student Mickey Shull. “I’ve been in ROTC and it’s no different than some of the stuff you have to do there. It works.” Most students at the school thought the punishment was better than getting suspended. They acknowledged it was humiliating, but thought it would teach them a lesson.”
While the community and most of his students were behind the school administrator, who is said to be in his first year at this high school, one of the male students told the reporter that he was so embarrassed that he wanted to yell at them, but couldn’t so he put his head down in shame. The school district administrators said that they do not approve of the tactic and will be investigating it further. And if you ask me, rightly so. I mean the boys certainly did get a lesser punishment but it’s probably not the lesson we want to teach the next generation.
Did it get to the root of why these boys were misbehaving? Or was the sole intent to shame and humiliate them into “good behavior”? And let’s not forget all the unchecked homophobia. This is one of the reasons why I’m becoming more and more trepidatious about these public shaming tactics used by some adults as corrective punishments for children. I don’t think the principal should lose his job over it. In this instance, I am sure the principal meant well and probably was trying to teach the boys how to interact in more loving, non-violent ways. The problem isn’t the hand holding, it was having the boys sit on display as their classmates encircled them, laughing, mocking and making statements that could be misconstrued as homophobic. What could have been a teachable moment for the entire lot of children became another lesson on the subtle ways in which we as a society condone hazing – if not bullying.
Likewise, having kids hold hands as a form of punishment or consequence to bad behavior sort of reinforces the notions that there is something negative about not just homosexuality, but straight men and boys being affection and kind with one another. This is important in an era where hyper-aggression, particularly in the media, is the norm in all of American society and anything remotely “feminine” including hand holding, is considered weak or less than masculine. Shouldn’t the message we should be sending every single day that it is okay for men in any circumstances to embrace and show affection?
Hopefully there is some discussion with staff and students, in particular the ones who pointed and laughed. If anything, I say kudos to the young men in this story, who were secure enough in themselves to hold hands in the face of ridicule and shame. Because everybody knows, a behind whipping by mom and/or dad for getting suspended from school is ten times worse than what ignorant stuff your classmates have to say – unless you were one of those kids, who never had to fear the wrath of your parents. In that instance, you too have to wonder about any students, who may decide to take the suspension over temporarily looking awkward.
I’m not a gay man and I can’t pretend to speak on their behalf, but I have plenty of gay friends to know they aren’t all flaming, finger-snapping, neck-rolling stereotypes. I may not completely understand being sexually attracted to the same sex personally, but I sure as hell know what gay ISN’T.
When the headline “Kevin Clash Gay, But Not Molestor: Accuser Recants Statement” hit the internet earlier this week, there was a part of me that was a mess of confusion and disappointment. More so than being disgusted at the allegations made against the popular Elmo puppeteer, I was also jaded at the excitement the media seems to get off of including the word “gay” and “sexual predator” in the same sentence. It reminds me of popular stereotypes in which gay men instantly get labeled as child molesters or even use of the common disclaimer “No homo” when a man compliments another man’s appearance. It’s not to say that there aren’t homosexual child molesters, but gay isn’t some kind of season pass to a world of promiscuous sex, leather chaps and deviant behavior. Gay can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but listed below are a few things that it just isn’t:
By Justin Ray
Following Frank Ocean’s announcement of a tryst with another man, rapper Murs has released a new video to accompany his single “Animal Style” that has the internet buzzing.
Although many celebrities commended Ocean for his strength, Murs has taken his support for same-sex equality to a level not many would have the courage. The music video tells a story about two gay youths in high school struggling to maintain a relationship while living in a less than supportive environment. Murs plays Roderick who is in the closet while dating another student, Jonathan. The video depicts the heterosexual rapper upping the same-sex support ante by kissing his male actor counterpart.
Murs’ character Jonathan finds being in a gay relationship too risky and pummels his boyfriend into the ground to avoid being outed in front of his friends. At the end of the story, the two teenage lovers meet again but Roderick pulls out a gun and shoots his boyfriend as well as himself.
The rapper has made a profound statement with the video, calling out all those who oppose gays.
It is a courageous gesture considering that the rap game isn’t exactly the most supportive towards gay people. The music video also features interspersed shots of the rapper rocking a “Legalize Gay” shirt, making his stance abundantly clear.
Sadly, Murs’ is getting more attention for the kiss; but truth be told, the most daring feature of the song is the lyrics. Murs describes his character’s inner conflict with religion: “So he lived in fear of God’s wrath/ The preacher said that God loves us all except fags.” His inner conflict with religion leads him into a downslide of self loathing and eventually the murder/suicide. Of course there can be a lengthy dialogue about whether the message is about organized religion or religion with a capital R; regardless, the fact that he outlined how religion can make gays unjustly hate themselves is more courageous than any kiss could be.
Murs explained his intentions with the song on Youtube: “The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out. It’s also a love song, which is nothing new for me. But with this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?”
The future of rap may take a new course with more musicians showing support and going against the grain of the history of rap. Last year Lil B released an album entitled “I’m Gay (I’m Happy)” and later revealed he received death threats. Although his support for same-sex rights is more obtuse, he did make a statement about the climate of homophobia in hip hop and his apathy towards it.
Hip hop is meeting a tipping point. Universally respected hip hop artists–Jay Z, Kanye, Eminem, Russell Simmons–are releasing statements in support of gay people. Even the future pioneers of rap have shown support. A$AP Rocky once said about homosexuality that you lose too many friends being homophobic and that hating gays is like being sexually racist.
Murs, along with other rappers who champion the cause, use their influence to show future generations that being gay isn’t a crime. The US government suggests that gay people are not equal citizens by not federalizing gay marriage nor any form of legislation that would at least give gay people some legal recognition to be honored by each state. However, public figures who have influence can show others that supporting gay people shows more strength than rejecting them. Hell, it can even be lucrative.
Either way, the tides suggest that homophobia in the rap community will one day be a state of mind to be laughed at in the future, and Murs has helped that become a possibility.
Check out his groundbreaking song and the video below.
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So while you all were enjoying your burnt hot dogs and busting illegal fireworks outside of my window at exactly 1:24 a.m., Frank Ocean celebrated his independence after publicly revealing that he’d had a romantic relationship with another man and was bisexual.
In a very heartfelt and beautifully written letter posted Wednesday morning on his Tumblr page, Ocean sought to clarify the rumors that a few of the love ballads on his soon to be released debut album, entitled Channel Orange, were intended for a male love interest. In the letter, Ocean writes:
“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Every day almost, and on the day we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.”
Ocean went on to say that he thought about the women he had been with and thought he was in love with and the love songs he listened to and “realized they were written in a language I did not yet speak.” Ocean wrote in his closing. “I feel like a free man. If I listen closely. I can hear the sky falling too.”
One of the first Hip-Hop community insiders to speak on the matter was Russell Simmons, who wrote on Global Grind, “Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean….”
Others outside the Hip-Hop community are speculating about what impact his announcement will have on his career including questions about how the genre and its fans, which are said to be notoriously homophobic, will react to his lifestyle. But within this mix of congratulatory pats on the back and questions about what the future holds for the singer/songwriter/rapper, there is a certain level of incongruity in his declaration of sexual freedom and what Frank Ocean represents.
Ocean, who is probably most known on the R&B front for the hit song “Novacane” and for appearing with Jay-Z and Kanye West as one of the few features on Watch the Throne, is a part of the collective, Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA, an alternative, suburban black skater boy/girl rap group, known for saying some pretty outlandish stuff. And when I say outlandish, that includes lacing their lyrics with the kind of homophobic, anti-black and female debasement glee that could probably make Lil’ Wayne blush (maybe that’s why he’s a fan). The leader and co-founder of this clique is Tyler the Creator, who uses multiple personas to exhibit his creativity as well as his angst. One such alter-ego is Wolf Haley, a white ginger (e.g. red-haired) kid, whom he said that he always wanted to be. It may be this persona, which causes him to refer to himself as a self-racist or to use his Twitter feed and rhymes as platforms for anti-gay slurs and references. And when he is not calling people f****ts or even berating himself, his targets include veteran female emcees such as Rah Digga, who he once called a dude, and MC Lyte, who he called a “dyke.”
According to the site, Kollege Kids:
“There may be a big lawsuit in preparation against the oldest and most renowned sorority founded for African American women. Men interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, also known as MIAKAs, are threatening to file a lawsuit against Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a sorority founded at Howard University on Jan. 15, 1908. The group of men, whom all are homosexual, are alleging homophobia and gender discrimination by the sorority.”
There is not much about the MIAKA out there except a few pictures posted mostly on blogs and online message boards. In these photos, you see these men donning the pink and green, signature colors of the organization, wearing AKA paraphernalia and doing the signature “Ske-Wee.” But from what I gather, the group in question has established themselves at Prairie View University, a HBCU in Houston, Texas, sometime around 2005. The group is said to be rogue chapter of MiAKA Inc., which really stands for Men Interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha. MiAKA Inc., acts as a support auxiliary for the sorority, much in the same way that Alpha Angels Inc., Omega GEMS, Kappa Sweethearts, Sigma Rhomeos Inc., Delta BEUAX Inc. and so on work to support those fraternities and sororities. However, real members of MiAKA Inc., according to the message boards, strongly contend that they do not support or condone the MIAKA chapter at Prairie View.
No lawsuit has been officially filed as of yet. MIAKA has no official website (that I know of) or leader to speak on nor confirm this issue. So right now the story seems to be all speculation. However, MIAKA is real. And this story raises all sorts of questions about the intersection of gender, sexuality and inclusion. It seems that the same sort of national conversation on gender identity, which found its way at the steps of the Girls Scouts, the Ladies Professional Golf Association and the Miss Universe Pageant, now has landed on the yards of black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities. And while the authenticity of this lawsuit can not be fully confirmed, the reality is that it may not be too long until we start having to have this conversation. And there is no better time than the present. So in the interest of creating dialog: would it be homophobic and discriminatory for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., to deny homosexual men membership into their sorority or are these guys barking up the wrong Ivy vine?
I am not a black Greek. In fact, the only colors I wave with pride are the red, the black and the green, so I don’t have a horse in this race. But personally, I am leaning towards the latter. While I can sort of understand their reasons for wanting to challenge the status quo of gender-specific organizations, I find their quest for acceptance a bit misguided. For one, from what I have read, none of these men, while gay, identifies with being women. They are not transgendered or even women, who love the same sex. In fact, I would be more sympathetic and willing to side with them if these were transgendered women. But to claim homophobia, or even gender discrimination against a sorority doesn’t quite jive with me.
I don’t think members of the AKA organization are upset with these young men for trying to have a group of their own to identify. This is less about discrimination than it is about appropriation, peppered in with a little misogyny. The reality of a male-centered society is that women do not have a significant political or social identity or existence outside of the realm of what men have decided as appropriate definitions and actions of women. Thus, women-centered circles, such as sororities, which were created in response to women being excluded from the male fraternities, help to create a space on college campuses where women can bond, network and assist each other for a common goal. This is especially true of black Greek-letter sororities, who established themselves not just in response to male fraternities but because of their exclusion from the historically white sororities as well.
Yet these men, while gay but certainly still men, have taken to adopting the colors, symbols and other paraphernalia of the AKAs, which is not only tantamount to theft but also disrespectful to the historical identity that this women’s group has fought hard to establish. And while these men probably don’t see their actions as insolent–in fact, I’m willing to guess that they truly love the AKA organization – you have to ask yourselves, if this was truly a matter of inclusiveness, why not direct their angst at the fraternities as well?
There are a number of LGBT black Greek-letter organizations all over this country. For example, there’s Omicron Epsilon Pi Sorority, Inc., the nations first Greek letter organization catering to the needs of black lesbian women, and Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc, whose mission is to improve the public stature of same gender loving people by supporting a progressive interest in the social and civic welfare. There is, indeed, a need for such organizations because, just like the rest of society, there are folks within these sororities/fraternities organizations that do not openly embrace the GLBT community. In that spirit, I have lots of appreciation for the MiAKAs, who just want to be accepted and celebrated for who and what they are, and also support the AKAs when they can. However, I also believe that this rouge MiAKA chapter would probably blaze more trails, if they would, in addition to fighting for inclusion of our GLBT brothers and sisters into these organizations, help the existing black LGBT Greek letter organizations establish more chapters on black college campuses as well as take their rightful place among the Divine Nine.
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