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Friday, November 7, 2008

Homophobia Isn’t a Problem in the African American Community

posted by on November 7 at 12:54 PM

To get a handle on just how big a problem African American homophobia supposedly isn’t, you might want to read this blistering blog post by TerranceDC—black gay dad—over at Pam’s House Blend.

I no longer give a shit about defending African Americans against the notion that they’re more homophobic than whites, for the same reason I no longer give a shit about defending a Black politician like Harold Ford against the racist attack ads the Republicans are running against him. Because Harold Ford is no different than the racist Republican candidate running in Virginia, and the students at Central State University are no different than the Klan or a gang of marauding skinheads. I don’t defend anyone who would turn around and leave me and mine twisting in the wind. I no longer care….

They don’t care what happens to couples like Alicia and Saundra or what happens to people like Michael Sandy or Tyrone Garner as much as they care about a two thousand year old book that damns them as surely as they believe it damns us; even as it leads them to lie down with politicians who will send their brothers and cousins and sisters off to die in a needless war, and leads them to stand beside politicians and a party who don’t flinch at appealing to racism in voters or fielding racist candidates, who will turn around and attempt to bring back the poll tax, and who’ll promise big things but leave you holding the bag.

But more than anything else, they don’t care about the hell they create for their brothers, sisters, etc., in the name of a heaven that sounds about as plausible as the big rock candy mountain.

Go read the whole thing.

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Up until this coming year I have marched in the Seattle MLK Day parade thinking that as a gay man it is vital to show full support for Black Americans. But after what Black America did to gays and lesbians this week in California; I think I am going to pass.

Maybe there will be a huge cry of outrage from black leaders (hmmm a President-elect comes to mind) but you know what? I am not holding my breath.

I guess Blacks just want to be the ONLY oppressed minority in America.

Posted by Pissed off Faggot!!! | November 7, 2008 1:22 PM

He raises an important point. Biblical support for slavery is far more explicit than is biblical condemnation of the gay. Ephesians 6:5, "Slaves, you must obey your earthly masters". Note that this is New Testament, so none of that "oh, when Jesus came he changed all those Leviticus rules -- except for the gay one, of course".

Posted by Fnarf | November 7, 2008 1:28 PM

On The Daily Show last night (maybe it was Colbert...), they mentioned the fact that if there hadn't been such massive African-American turnout in CA (due primarily to Obama's candidacy), Prop 8 probably would have failed.

That, my friends, is some massive irony.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | November 7, 2008 1:29 PM

dan, fuck off! this is the kind of anger-inspiring shit that GOES NOWHERE. even if blacks are 20% more homophobic than whites and hispanics.... what do you intend to do about that?
pit the gay community against the black community? where are the hugs? where is the positive progressive activism?
boohoo on you!

Posted by justin | November 7, 2008 1:31 PM

Oh, and also on the Daily Show, he made the same joke about chickens/Prop 2 vs. gays/Prop 8 that Lindy made yesterday. Vindication for Lindy!

Posted by Julie in Chicago | November 7, 2008 1:33 PM

Mr. Savage, this is one of those moments when you need to stop and think about what you're doing. What's the rush? If you really want to drive a wedge between blacks and gays, you have all the time in the world.

But before you do that, this is one of those quiet moments to reflect. Like right before you illegally voted in Iowa? When you wished maybe some little bird had whispered in your ear "No, Dan! Stop and think!" Or when you went into city hall with a realistic-looking fake gun and could have been arrested or shot? Or when you printed all those addresses just last week?

Stop. Breath. Think.

I'm telling you: there is nothing to gain by picking this fight. It is a terrible idea.

Look, take a break and wait a week. Think it over. If you still want to rush headlong with this harebrained scheme to steal the underpants and profit somehow, go ahead. But really, you should take your time and think it over first.

Posted by elenchos | November 7, 2008 1:34 PM

THIS is where it needs to start. Members of the African American community who are themselves also glb or t need to speak out NOW. And loudly. They need to start agitating in their churches and with their families. There was a quote in, I think, an LA Times story today where a young black gay man said he's closeted with his friends and family because it just isn't tolerated. Well, guess what? It's not going to change by remaining closeted.

I'm thinking people like TerranceDC and Pam Spaulding need to take the lead on this and see where it goes. We have to start somewhere.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | November 7, 2008 1:35 PM

I really disagree with singling out African Americans as the cause of Prop 8's victory.

How were their votes any more influential than those of Latino/a Catholics? Or white evangelicals? Yes there is homophobia in the African American community, just as there is in every community. It needs to be confronted. But by whom? Dan Savage and the Stranger, which have a really poor record standing out front on racial and economic justice issues, are hardly the people to make an effective intervention in the issue.

Posted by Trevor | November 7, 2008 1:36 PM

Candy Mountain Charlieeeee!!

Posted by subwlf | November 7, 2008 1:36 PM

The gay community can't be "pitted against" the black community, justin, since the gay community encompasses African Americans like TerranceDC, the author of the post I linked to.

Like I said in my post after the election, the homophobia in the African American community is a huge problem for gays and lesbians of all colors. We can't solve a problem that we can't acknowledge or discuss.

If gay-identified voters went disproportionately for, say, David Duke, you can bet we'd be having a conversation about racism in the gay community.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 7, 2008 1:36 PM

There's no Big Rock Candy Mountain? GodDAMN IT!!!

Fuck. I was *counting* on that fucking mountain.

Posted by Matthew | November 7, 2008 1:38 PM

The one exit poll of 224 black people in California is the only polling evidence in recent history that blacks are much more anti-gay than whites.

Even if the exit poll data was the truth, if black people voted 50/50 for Prop 8, they'd be 1) more tolerant than white men, 2) Prop 8 would have passed anyway.

Polls before the election show about-equal support for Prop 8 among whites and blacks and some found whites supported Prop 8 more strongly.

Yes, black homophobia is a problem, but white homophobia is a much much much much bigger problem. There's no reason to continue this "blacks are horrible homophobes" meme unless you just want an excuse to bash black people.

Posted by jrrrl | November 7, 2008 1:38 PM

What about those two "Hated It!" movie critics from "In Living Color" who wore those little hats?

They were sort of gay, right?

Posted by John Bailo | November 7, 2008 1:39 PM

And I haven't singled out the African American community as the "cause" of Prop 8's victory. Please re-read this post:


I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

A problem, not *the* problem. And, I'm sorry, but those numbers—74% of African American women backed Prop 8?—are shocking.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 7, 2008 1:41 PM

Who was it who said 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'?

Yeah, it is time to fight this now. Or perhaps we should wait until Washington State amends our constitution to ban same sex marriage? And don't think "it cann't happen here". This week a guy who went to school with me was elected from Spokane to the state legislature. And Mr Kevin Parker is JUST the fascist little asshole to present such an amendment in Olympia.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | November 7, 2008 1:41 PM


Dan, the gay community can very well be pitted against the black community, in exactly the same way that some gays are Catholic or Mormon or Republican. The leadership of one group they identify with tells them another group they also identify with is the enemy. Divide and conquer, even if it means dividing people against themselves.

They find themselves conflicted, and the majorities of both groups they share are at each other's throats.

One clue that this divisive tactic is a bad idea? It is the favorite tactic of your enemies. Don't become like them.

Posted by elenchos | November 7, 2008 1:46 PM

race/sex war!!! Woot!!!

Posted by F | November 7, 2008 1:46 PM

How about 27% of lesbians and gays voting for McCain? Why don't you talk about that?

74% of about 150 African-American women supported Prop 8. The reason CNN didn't give an exit poll percentage for African-American men is because there was a ridiculously small percentage polled -- probably less than 100.

If one gay guy tells me he hates black people, does that mean 100% of gay people hate blacks?

Posted by jrrrl | November 7, 2008 1:47 PM

race/sex war!!! Woot!!!

Posted by F | November 7, 2008 1:47 PM
Posted by tool elect | November 7, 2008 1:48 PM

Jesus fucking christ you act like black people make up 52% of the voting population in California.

Yes prop 8 failed. But not because of black people.

Posted by Jesse | November 7, 2008 1:49 PM

Listen up you stupid fags and dyke bitches(you smart, gay, thoughtful people can go about your business. You aren't scapegoating blacks AFAIK);

even if black voters had voted 50/50 for and against it still would have passed. If they had gone 33/66 yes/no it still would have lost. instead of blaming black fucking america for your problems like a bunch of xenophobic goose stepping germans, look to all of fucking California for this. Blame conservative, white san diego. blame latinos. You're blaming black americans for voting in such a way that would have gone against EVERY other demographic's vote. You're holding black americans to a different standard. FUCK THAT. Blacks would have to vote 2:1 against 8 for it to have been rejected. Why aren't you holding white women accountable? This is the kind racist bullshit i can't stand. So before you start pulling back support of civil rights heroes and the black community, start looking at who really fucked you over.

the math (5,524,916 Yay, 4932086 Nay. Margin of victory 492,830 votes 10,357,002 total voters. 7% are black. 724990 Black voters. 50/50 split = a shift of votes 144,998 less for yay, 144998 vote shift towards no. No still passes. Only at 36/64 (a 246,496 vote swing) does 8 fail.) to ask black voters to vote against something EVEN MORE than any other demographic is holding them to a higher standard of behavior and action.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 7, 2008 1:51 PM

Black is this season's pitbull, eh?

"Black people betrayed us! Black people! Of anyone! They were downtrodden! And they BETRAYED US! But I'm not racist."

Posted by AJ | November 7, 2008 1:51 PM

Yes, there are blacks who are homophobic. There are plenty of whites who are homophobic. There are chinese who are homophobic. There are homos who are homphobic. We should build bridges. Not tear them down. Angry? YES! We have a chance now to get federal laws passed against discrimination. We can work with the new President or we can alienate him and his supporters. What do you think? I say stop attacking black people or any people and get some legislation with real teeth!!!!!!

Posted by Vince | November 7, 2008 1:52 PM

Jesus fucking christ you act like black people make up 52% of the voting population in California.

Yes prop 8 failed. But not because of black people as your current focus makes it seem. Look at the first comment! Look at what you're doing!

Posted by Jesse | November 7, 2008 1:54 PM

All this talk of black homophobia is sounding more and more to me like pure scapegoating. As @12 shows, blacks could only have swung the numbers toward termination of Prop 8 under a set of extremely unlikely circumstances. Look, I get it, gays are upset and looking for someone to blame. But I would think that any social group that has experienced the struggle to be judged on their individual merits would want to think twice before condemning the entire black ethnicity for the sins of some (remember, this is only one state we're talking about here). Accusations of collective guilt are not only morally indefensible, they're also counterproductive, in part because they shit all over group members who do support civil rights for all (like me, for example).

As TV on the Radio once said, "your guns are pointed the wrong way"—religion, rather than race, explains the data better. Seems to me that would be a much focus area for your efforts.

Posted by shub-negrorath | November 7, 2008 1:55 PM
I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

No, racist gay white men don't pose a problem for the African American community, they pose a problem for the gay community. If black gay men and lesbians have no place to turn after they come out (as Balt-o-Matt suggests) and are rejected by their friends and families, then they won't come out. In recent decades, the gay community has served as an extended family for gays thrown out of their communities. If black gays don't have that option, if racist white gays keep them out, there will be no progress.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 7, 2008 1:56 PM

Listen up you stupid fags and dyke bitches(you smart, gay, thoughtful people can go about your business. You aren't scapegoating blacks AFAIK);

even if black voters had voted 50/50 for and against it still would have passed. If they had gone 33/66 yes/no it still would have lost. instead of blaming black fucking america for your problems like a bunch of xenophobic goose stepping germans, look to all of fucking California for this. Blame conservative, white san diego. blame latinos. You're blaming black americans for voting in such a way that would have gone against EVERY other demographic's vote. You're holding black americans to a different standard. FUCK THAT. Blacks would have to vote 2:1 against 8 for it to have been rejected. Why aren't you holding white women accountable? This is the kind racist bullshit i can't stand. So before you start pulling back support of civil rights heroes and the black community, start looking at who really fucked you over.

the math (5,524,916 Yay, 4932086 Nay. Margin of victory 492,830 votes 10,357,002 total voters. 7% are black. 724990 Black voters. 50/50 split = a shift of votes 144,998 less for yay, 144998 vote shift towards no. No still passes. Only at 36/64 (a 246,496 vote swing) does 8 fail.) to ask black voters to vote against something EVEN MORE than any other demographic is holding them to a higher standard of behavior and action.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 7, 2008 2:00 PM

Actual scientific evidence shows blacks are not more homophobic than whites:

There are consistent demographic differences in levels of homophobia; specifically, men, older persons, less educated persons, and conservatives tend to be more homophobic than women, younger persons, more highly educated persons, and liberals. Additionally, there is a perception that Blacks are more homophobic than Whites, and that this difference is because of the importance of religion in the Black community, another factor frequently associated with homophobic attitudes.


[T]here are no significant racial differences between Black and White students in indexes measuring views toward, rights for, and willingness to socialize with gays and lesbians. Gender is a significant predictor of homophobia for both groups, although age and measures for the importance of religion are significant predictors for White students.

In other words, Science acknowledges there is a popular stereotype that blacks are more homophobic than whites, but Science finds that blacks and whites are equally homophobic, and it is actually men, old people, and religious people that are the most homophobic.

Posted by jrrrl | November 7, 2008 2:03 PM

Let's turn our attention to the 45,000 non-black homophobes living in San Francisco.

Oh, and SF's 53% turnout rate.

And LA voting 50/50.

Posted by AJ | November 7, 2008 2:10 PM

Nice job Savage, pick the smallest and least-likely-to-swing-the-vote minority and pick on them.

p.s. to the commenter above, 'Black America' didn't destroy your hopes in California; Conservative Predominantly White California did.

Also I am pretty sure that a lot more black Americans live in a lot more states than in California; am I as a white atheist pro-GLBTQ Washingtonian responsible for what my white Mormon anti-GLBTQ Utahn counterparts do with their ballots? Hell no.

Black America is not responsible for the shit-tastic No on 8 campaign; that responsibility lies squarely on Californian GLBTQ activists and their supporters.

Posted by Jennifer | November 7, 2008 2:10 PM

While y'all are at Pam's site, please read this:;jsessionid=80B9CA78152D0055FF8C57F21B3602E5?diaryId=8077

The racist shit begins. Fuck. This fucking shit doesn't help. Fuck fuck fuck.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | November 7, 2008 2:12 PM

Of course, it is important to dissect what happened in California, but we need to strengthen our foundations. The basic issues Of course, it is important to dissect what happened in California, but we need to strengthen our foundations. The basic issues of mere gay acceptance are a dream away in the majority of American communities. Marriage is a pie in the sky hope for us regular gays in big open-minded cities let alone these less enlightened communities. Let us first focus on the basic rights. It is obvious that even in California basic acceptance is not happening.

In Washington, Equal Rights Washington should root themselves in smaller communities that are more conservative. Once you make in-roads here, the path widens and acceptance comes. It is much easier for organizations like LD to stir the fear of monsters in the dark (gay marriage) than it is for us to cast lights on the darkness to reveal that there are not any monsters (we are not the enemy). This takes time, energy and money. That anti-Prop 8 campaign was good enough, but it needed something more real, more substantive to actually work.

The solution is quick and decisive mobilization (once funding is in place). After one election cycle, there will be noticeable changes. The fights continue, but now after this election we are invigorated with the idea that we can overcome and get closer to equality.

Posted by CommonKnowledge | November 7, 2008 2:12 PM

Hey Dan,
When Andrew Sullivan published the Bell Curve, which was funded by the White Nationalist Pioneer Fund, did he consider himself racist? No, he did it to attempt to sabotage so-called "Entitlement Programs"--that is to say, to lower his taxes, he subjected blacks to the stigma of genetic determinism. Goodness knows how many policy decisions that such a flagrantly selfish maneuver might spawn: attacks on equal schooling facilities, for example. But it might get him a tax break. The primary moral compass of a Libertarian is the cost-benefit analysis--the question "What's in it for me?" scantily clad in the rubric of 'efficiency'.

The gay 'community' has long since been replaced by a network of multinational holding corporations (think of the owners of OUT magazine and, for example) and non-profits, whose loudmouth officers would lose their relevance and their job if the gays got the rights they desire. So what is the difference between the leader of HRC and, say, the former CEO of Manhunt? You tell me.

Now, step aside from your rage-inspired hysteria--you sound like ECB, post-Hillary--and explain to me what vested interest the black church hierarchy has in lessening the hold it has over its congregants by 'diluting' Scripture. For you seem to be forgetting that the church, too, is a business! And if the bulk of the gay community acts as stupid as it does due to the manipulations of their "charitable" organizations' greed, then why should the black churchgoing populace, or the Mormons for that matter, act any different under the commands of their leaders, who have similar motivations and means, namely greed and the lust for power?

I implore you not to react the same way to the misguided and purposefully manipulated prejudices of the black voters of California. It will gravely injure the clout of both parties. I fear that your anger arises from a lack of any ideas as to what to do....

Posted by It's Dan, the civil rights PUMA! | November 7, 2008 2:14 PM

Apparently it needs to be said again: Dan, you're the best sex advice columnist of all time. You're an entertaining autobiographical writer. I'm sure there are a slew of other things you're absolutely wonderful at.

However, you very often do not have enough talent, skill, understanding or ability when it comes to politics.

Race-baiting is OBVIOUSLY wrong.

Stirring up hatred of an entire group of people because we have ignored them, abandoned them, and marginalized them -- having zero outreach to them, never entering into their neighborhoods, never having any conversations with them -- so that they now don't understand, appreciate or empathize with us and we hate them for it is idiotic.

And, lest every self-centered white male gay idiot forget, blacks are LGBT people, too.

Finally, the 70% of the 10% of the 10,000,000 votes cast did not cost us our rights. That's moronic. Why advocate that our community waste its time at such a critical juncture?

I'm not going after black people, people who are victims of the dominant culture exactly the same way I am, and let the dominant culture -- as in straight and white, as in the people who actually cost us our rights -- off the hook. And anybody who does should have enough sense to be ashamed of themselves.

God knows enough of us are ashamed of you.

Posted by whatevernevermind | November 7, 2008 2:17 PM

Dear Science, could you please explain why polls based on small samples are unreliable to Dan? Thanks.

Posted by trstr | November 7, 2008 2:19 PM

Im totally pissed off about the insinuation that black people voted 8 in and now some gays are gonna call them n*ggers.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 7, 2008 2:20 PM

I've never seen an intelligent guy oversimplify culture so idiotically before... To be effective in challenging this "black homophobia" tho, you need to re-frame your argument in the positive productive tense. Period.

Posted by justin | November 7, 2008 2:22 PM

@37: Give it time, that word will come flying out of the gate any hour now.

Posted by AJ | November 7, 2008 2:25 PM

Dan, I've been reading your column for over a decade, and I don't always agree with what you say, but I can usually see your point. Not this time. Maybe it is not your intention, but there seem to be a disproportionate number of posts coming up this week blaming African Americans in California for Proposition 8 passing.

I'm not gay, but I am sympathetic to your cause. I believe all people are entitled to the same rights, and it really hurts me that this happened. But as a (half) black woman, these posts are really starting to offend, and hurt me, so possibly the same is true for others. Once again, you're preaching to the choir. I promise you that the African Americans who are reading your column and the Slog are not the ones who voted Yes. Don't push away your supporters.

The problem isn't black homophobes. The problem is homophobes.

I think, it might be time to let up on the posts blaming black people for Propostion 8. As someone else put it, stop, breathe, think. Maybe this isn't the message you want to send.

Posted by Charm | November 7, 2008 2:25 PM

Don't be surprised at his racism; his father cracked skulls at the '68 convention.

Posted by Not uncommon behavior amongst the Irish...shall we blame them as a group? | November 7, 2008 2:31 PM

And Pam posted this today:

>>A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.

>>This was stupid for them to single us out because we were carrying those blue NO ON PROP 8 signs! I pointed that out and the one of the older men said it didn't matter because "most black people hated gays" and he was "wrong" to think we had compassion. That was the most insulting thing I had ever heard. I guess he never thought we were gay.

If you play the numbers game, you could just as easily blame the 2% of white folk who could have swayed the Prop 8 election. All in all, playing the numbers game will be a losing proposition.

@27 is right. When we create an environment that is hostile, how can we expect support? When we exclude people from our representation, how can we expect support?

Race-relations in LA and LA LGBT leadership has improved a lot since I came to LA for college, but even at the Nov 5 rally, with dozens of black queers and allies in the audience, but not a single one in the leadership on the truck/stage. There were Latino, Asian, Jewish Rabbi, and Episcopalian speakers representing the diversity of the community but no one to represent the dozens of black queers around us.

While the HonorPAC (Latino) speaker was on stage, a young lesbian behind us asked "Is this the Latino rally or the gay rally?" My queer black female friend ended up speaking with a black lesbian couple who was practically turned away from EQCA's headquarters when then went to go volunteer for No On 8. From the few blacks that we spoke to, both queer and not, there was a lack of the No On 8 message reaching their communities. I'm not saying that racist queers (not all are white) are to blame, but that the divisions perpetuated in our communities don't serve to build the support we need to spread the message.

And just a disclaimer in case any are wondering: I come from a relative position of privilege within the queer community (male, white/asian, good looking, capable of passing for "str8" as stupid as that label is, economically well off, etc.). Also, I don't tend to the optimistic so this has been a strange experience where most of my friends are now the pessimistic side of the discussions. This isn't an either/or proposition but a question of what we can do within and without the communities. If we pursue a path of narrowing our base like McCain/Palin did, we'll only put off the day we can get past the 50%. Honestly, I'm proud and excited by the level of activism taking place and the level of ally support that has turned out at these protests.

Anyways... enough rambling.


Posted by Chris | November 7, 2008 2:37 PM

I was wondering, do you think Golob could do a statistical analysis on the ratio between how sexually attractive a gay man finds someone and how willing he is to treat him like a human being, specifically with regards to such factors as race? I notice Andrew Sullivan's columns on this matter aren't nearly so offensive; but then he, like Strom Thurmond, enjoys a piece of black ass now and then. Hell, he's so open-minded that he doesn't even USE A CONDOM while he's doing it!

Outside of this particular issues, one of about six that keeps you and Sully from the OTHER side of the aisle on civil rights, have you EVER written about the experiences of black gays? Of course not! You don't sleep with black men, therefore you don't care about black issues, gay or straight! I do, however, admire your crack journalistic feat in cutting and pasting an article. Did you google that? Mmmmm...Now that's good reporting!

Posted by Dan is a bad, bad man. Don't listen to his drivel. | November 7, 2008 2:50 PM

SKIN COLOR IS NOT THE ENEMY, the ENEMY is the Religious Radical Extremist. If the White/Black/Brown Church teaches hate against Gay-Americans that is the ENEMY. Of course one must understand that the Church IS the people regardless of skin color.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 7, 2008 3:08 PM

@29: The study you cited shows attitudes among black and white college students only. Don't generalize it to black and white populations. Homophobia declines with education, and it's fair to say that it could be lack of education (given disproportionate representation of blacks in college) which lead to homophobia, and race is only a correlation. Still, it's incorrect to say that the study suggests that black as a whole are less homophobic.

Posted by lusk | November 7, 2008 3:09 PM

Dan, you're ridiculous and you're creating hate, you racist bigot. Stop it.

Posted by Micah | November 7, 2008 3:10 PM

Wow Dan, you really touched a nerve here. When I lived in SF, I experienced frequent examples of hate from the black community, but just as many from the latino and white. And I honestly couldn't tell you which group was the most "hateful." I think it is safe to say that homophobia is color blind. So if I were you, Dan, I would stop trying to single out a specific group for blame.

Posted by crazycatguy | November 7, 2008 3:23 PM
I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.


I am a gay, black man. I'm not asking you to change the way you think or feel. What you think and what you feel are your business. I am asking you to consider why the way you've chosen to phrase this is so offensive to me.

You wouldn't really care what any black person thinks of you if not for the political impact. The only real problem "homophobic African Americans" cause you is a political one. And they couldn't have done that without the participation of a much larger number of homophobic white Americans.

No homophobic black is going to make you feel unwelcome in your neighborhood bar, no homophobic black is going to make you their token gay friend, no homophobic black is going to try to get you into bed but refuse to be seen with you in public. Your "handful of racist gay white men" have done all of these things (and many more) to me.

I am not a victim. These things have not stopped me from participating in the gay community. These people do not represent the gay, white majority (but neither is that majority ready to defend me if I don't do it myself). But these things have hurt me much more deeply than "my people" voting yes on 8.

You can easily avoid almost all contact with homophobic African Americans. The only way for me avoid contact with racist gay white men is to avoid all places where gay men gather. So please don't presume to decide that homophobic African Americans are a bigger problem for me than the many racist gay white men.

Or, if this kind of namby, pamby language doesn't suit you, how would you like it if I said it this way:

I'm done pretending that the white gay community in the United States isn't the most racist community to which I've ever been exposed.

I would never say such a thing, though there have been moments when I've felt it. It's not helpful. It doesn't solve anything. All it does is inflame.

Posted by Tony | November 7, 2008 3:34 PM

This is downright funny. People are going crazy over non-facts and half-truths. Let's consider the following:

1) The math does not justify the "blacks are the reason Prop 8 failed" hysteria. By the estimates of the percentage of black voters, blacks could have voted 90% to 100% against Prop 8 and it would have passed (based on % of the voting electorate that is black).

2) Blakc people are MUCH more likely to vote for gay-friendly politicians. The Congressional Black Caucus has the highest HRC scores-- and these are people voted for in predominately black districts. The same goes for black mayors, city council members, and school board members. Black elected officials (who are elected by black people) have been great advocates for gay causes.

Somehow, 1 + 2 equals hate in the eyes of people like Dan and Andrew Sullivan, because they are convinced that "blacks are more homophobic" and they use this 70/30 number (Is it even accurate? Are there any other estimates?) to justify their own racist views. It seems that most of the post on this blog get it (because they can count and look at reality), but people like Dan don't need to be confused with the facts.

The facts simply do not support any of their arguments.

Posted by kevjack77 | November 7, 2008 3:42 PM

@45, almost every psychology/sociology study uses college students because it costs millions to study a truly random sample. The differences between college students and the general American population has been thoroughly studied for that reason, and that study's authors did conclude it applies to the general population. There are plenty of other studies on google scholar that use other populations.

Posted by jrrrl | November 7, 2008 3:43 PM

Hello! Faith Cheltenham here, you may know me from UCLA (Queer Alliance, BlaQue), TV (FX Networks, "Black. White."), Comic Con ("The Black Panel") or NYC. I'm hoping you can help me fight hate.
Tomorrow there's a big No on H8 rally at Sunset Junction in LA (Santa Monica and Sunset Blvd.). After instances of hate speech against Blacks by Whites at No on H8 rallies and the massive Pro H8 swell of Black voters, LGBT African Americans and their allies must take action.
BLACK QUEERS DESERVE TO MARRY TOO! UCLA's BlaQue and the newly formed, Black Revolutionary Committee will be protesting before the H8 rally at 5pm! Please send this action alert to anyone and everyone.
Visit for more info on the BRC or call 646-498-3216
Sunset Junction, Saturday Nov. 8th, 2008 5pm (Corner of Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd. - near Hoover and Santa Monica)

Posted by thefayth | November 7, 2008 4:30 PM

It seems like we are missing the fact that Dan isn't blaming African-Americans for Prop 8 passing. (Not in this post anyway... did he originally?). He's blaming the Mormon church who, really, are to blame. (Not all individual LDS, but certainly the hierarchy.) He's saying that homophobia in the African-American communities is something we need to work on. Which it is. If only because there are young gay black kids and it's sort of our responsibility, as gay people who grew up to be nice and normal and not crazy closeted bigots, to share.

Posted by Katie | November 7, 2008 4:40 PM

didn't mean to say "the African-American communities", that sounds kind of horrible. I started to say "the AA church" changed, and missed deleting an article.

Posted by Katie | November 7, 2008 4:42 PM

i luv african american only and i love white 2

Posted by sammy | November 7, 2008 5:42 PM

I have two comments to make regarding African American support for 8. One the 70% number that is cited is far higher than black support for the amendment noted in the survey usa poll. It is also substantially higher than support for these amendments in other states. In other states the black support mirrors white support. This leads me to doubt the validity of that statistic, due to the limitations on exit polling previously mentioned. Second, even if this 70% number is accurate in California, the disparity between this number and the level of black support in other states indicates that there is likely another factor at play with regard to either the black population in California or the campaigns for and/or against the amendment that would make support so much higher. It may be helpful to try to look into that.

Posted by Shabooyah | November 7, 2008 5:59 PM

the swing vote was old people. God willing, they will all be dead soon, and the new generation will right this.


Posted by Mike in MO | November 7, 2008 6:22 PM

If white gays decide to take up this battle, I'm afraid I'm not going with you. Be marginalized if that's what you want, morons.

Posted by Jay | November 7, 2008 6:33 PM

52: I think there are better ways of doing it than launching a series of stupid pit bull style anecdotes and news stories every day. You think the black community wants to hear some gay white yuppie preach to them?

Posted by Jay | November 7, 2008 6:35 PM

This meme about African Americans being largely at fault for the passage of Prop 8 is utter bullshit. In Dan's defense (sort of), all the progressive talk shows are running with it. It's pointless, wrong-headed, and only getting play because Obama was elected president.

First, this statistic everyone's referencing is from a SINGLE exit poll that sampled only 224 people. As many have pointed out, other polling before the election doesn't corroborate the poll. Second, African Americans represented AT MOST 6% of the 17 million who voted November 4. Even if we could extrapolate the poll to the entire state and assume that 700,000 African Americans in California voted for Prop 8, which is extremely unlikely, over 8,000,000 others (non-African-Americans) voted for Prop 8.

Discussing this problem in the context of race is pointless. By lionizing African American voters in California, you're drawing attention away from the vast majority of those who voted for Prop 8. There's no race, creed, or gender we can scapegoat here. Individual voters were responsible for passing this vile proposition, not arbitrarily defined groups of voters.

Posted by JME | November 7, 2008 7:02 PM

you know your shit about sex, dan, but your politics often stink. you've held fat people to a higher standard of behavior than white people in your bullshit podcast, which i no longer listen to, and now you're holding black people to a higher political standard than white ones. i mean this in the nicest way possible: grow the fuck up.

you've written in many places that as a gay man and a gay parent, and a man who wishes to marry his boyfriend, that you do not want to be held to *higher* standards that straight people who do the same things you do. well, i'm sure people of all colors aren't interested in being held to a higher standard of gay-friendliness than the one white neighbor out of seven who didn't send your letter back to the adoption agency. was that person anti-gay? or just lazy? or were you an asshole about turning down their invitation to barbecue? the world may never know. but it is a fact that dividing groups against each other (as someone else said above, in bold) is the tactic of the republican/conservative asshats you - i assure you - do not want to emulate.

don't do it, dan, even though you're hurt as hell, don't fight back with more hateful bullshit. i know it's tempting, and you bet your ass i know that fags and dykes and everyone who loves them on the whole west coast feel bitch-slapped by this bullshit. but don't let it drag you down, man. don't let it, it's not worth it.

Posted by happyhedonist | November 7, 2008 10:32 PM

Wow. The last time I can remember feeling this disappointed, let down, and depressed by a SLOG posting was when EBC whined about people in wheelchairs clogging up her express bus. Boycott Utah? How about boycott SLOG? As a queer asian who grew up in the pacific northwest, I can remember listening to Dan Savage’s radio show every Sunday while attending UW in the mid-1990’s. Back then, I wasn’t an out homo, and I didn’t have access to any gay role models or gay anything, so listening to Dan Savage talk about gay shit every Sunday felt like fresh oxygen to me, something vital and necessary that kept me from shutting down or dying. So yeah, it hurts A LOT when i read shit that he wrote singling out and scape-goating Black homophobia for passing of Prop 8. As queer POCs, we know what he wrote is bullshit, we all know better, we have bullshit detectors on a different setting that Dan will never have. When I hear homophobia in my community, I call bullshit; when I hear racism in the queer community, I call bullshit, yet…I am told I have to tow the line??? That I am being overly PC??? WE ARE ALREADY AWARE OF HOMOPHOBIA IN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES, WHITE MAN. We are the first to get it from our families and neighbors. We don’t need you to condescendingly tell us, “the main victims of black homophobia are black gays and lesbians.” No fucking shit. We already know that; we already know that we have the weight of the world on shoulders to change our communities, to fight homophobia AND white racism. What we need to realize is that we can’t trust or rely on the queer white community (like yourself) to have our backs when we need it, and that when your “equal” rights are at stake, that you will expect that we throw ourselves under the bus for you. FUCK THAT FOR REAL.

Posted by bobo | November 8, 2008 12:28 AM

Dan, like you I am so done. I thought that after the anger ebbed you would be less divisive but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Surely you can’t be that naïve or do you just think that we are? Do you really have so little respect for us? Those of us who are black and gay have probably experienced bull from both communities. Personally I don’t often feel like the gay community “encompasses” me any more than the black community. Were you high when you said that you “can’t” pit the two communities against each other? Really! Do you even register the partisan nature in the comments to your entries? Do you really think that the gay African-Americans who you have rarely acknowledged until now provide that much of a bridge? I commiserate with TerrenceDC but I am sure that African-Americans are not the only ones impacting his life negatively. Using his entry for evidence for your diatribe is anecdotal and you know it.
I don’t have a problem with a conversation. I would welcome resources to combat the religious zealots and to educate the community that still includes my family. I doubt that will occur because vilifying and scapegoating is much easier. Excuse me if I am defensive but I have a problem with my issues being used as a tool for self-serving people like you. I wonder if Proposition 8 had passed with similar African-American breakdowns (and I have a problem with exit poll data) would you feel the need to take up the mantle of African-American homophobia. Did you even know that there were gay African-American blogs prior to the last few days?
BTW, David Duke is a poor analogy. His support for gay rights is right up there with his racial attitudes. More than conversation would be needed if a significant portion of gays supported him. Then again, we really don’t know how many gays have supported him, do we.
Dan, if it is truly conversation that you want then why use such inflammatory language? I am glad you stopped pretending that a “handful of racist gay white men” are a problem. I am sure they were a big problem for you. When do we get to have the conversation about that? Oh yeah, that isn’t your problem.

Posted by Dave | November 8, 2008 12:33 AM

No, Fuck you, Dan ... and the rest of you brave Utah boycotters, too.

I met Dan in 1996 when my newspaper, Salt Lake City Weekly hosted the annual convention of the association of alternative newspapers. The Seattle Stranger is a member. Just prior to that convention, a young high-school student, Kelli Peterson, was standing nearly alone against the Salt Lake City school district that had banned her and others from meeting on school district property in the form of the East Hight School Gay/Straight Alliance, a gay and lesbian support group. When news of that spread, I began to get many calls that people, particularly gays, in our industry would "boycott" the convention since Utah was not friendly to gays. As many as I could, I called back and said this: "You fucking chicken shits. Here's a 17 year old fighting in Utah and you can only scold from your friendly and safe Ivory tower in (fill in the blank), She has more courage in her little finger than you will ever have. You need to come and support her, not just cry about it."
In the end, they came with tails wagging, including Dan. At the Salt Lake convention we hosted the first ever (and maybe only) gay caucus for its members. Local gay leaders spoke to the group, including Kelli Peterson. The result was satisfying and positive. I asked Dan how he now liked Salt Lake. He said, "I hate Salt Lake. You have better gay bars than Seattle." We laughed.
But, it's not funny. Salt Lake City and Park City are progressive cities, and in Salt Lake's case, home to a thriving and growing in influence gay community. They could all leave, too--but they stay. They fight and they persevere. This is where the real issues of gay rights are being talked about, waged, and won--not in some comfortable Seattle or San Francisco coffee shop.
So take your dollars. Yeah, Colorado--pretty red until this year. Wyoming--remember Laramie? California--uh, uh, they just voted. Canada? Yes, please do and stay, crybaby.
You know, all you boycotters are something. I don't remember Dan or any of you coming to Utah's support when the American Legion, veterans, religious right groups and conservatives waged a similar protest against Utah. They all wanted to punish us with a boycott due to the anti-Bush speeches of Salt Lake's former outspoken mayor Rocky Anderson, and the for the backing given him by Salt Lake City. So, both the left and the right want to boycott us.
Yep, you all have it really nice and comfortable. Congratulations. Meanwhile, I think I'll print up my own T-shirts:
Where Dan Savage and Sean Hannity came together in marriage.

Posted by John Saltas | November 8, 2008 7:20 AM

Refusing to allow what is a religious ceremony, be redefined by the state, a violation of the separation of church and state protections in the US Constitution, is not being homophobic. Marriage is not a secular/civil creation, it's a religious one. Glbt have the same access to the civil unions that heterosexuals do. Like any heterosexual couple who has a civil union, you can call what you have marriage, however, like heterosexuals, you can't force a church or the religious to accept that. Nor do you have the right to persecute the black community, by slandering them. Those that supported Prop 8, did so because they oppose the state of California violating the separation of church and state. What that shows is that civil rights isn't what you are fighting for, but to eradicate civil rights.

Your attempt to demonize the religious speaks to your own phobia, however. Your blatant disrespect and disregard for the civil rights of others.

You have civil unions, with the same rights, and should be pursuing federal recognition, but instead your focus is on attacking the religious, a desire to violate the protections that prevent the state from dictating to the religious and churches.

You need to deal with your own hatred, and there's something mentally unstable about your mania to persecute and malign the religious and their churches.

I will never support gay rights of any kind until those extremists whose intolerance of the civil rights of the religious and churches are purged from the activist community, until the racism that is a huge problem in the glbt community is addressed and dealt with.

Posted by Jenny | November 8, 2008 7:29 AM

Watching the gay community scapegoat African Americans for Prop 8 passing is incredible. After reading this race-tinged comments all over the Internet, I decided to visit Dan's blog expecting to see a more rational attitude. Boy, was I wrong.

Apparently, the passage of Prop 8 has given the vocal racists in gay community to lash out against African Americans who have been traditionally even more marginalized. Oh, and posting a blog comment by an angry black man who you would cross the street to avoid on any given night doesn't excuse your race baiting, Dan.

There is a lot of scapegoating going on here and not only towards African Americans. As others have pointed out, Prop 8 passed because of primarily white voters and there is no real evidence that most African Americans did vote against the it though they probably did. The Mormon church was wrong to fund the campaign for Prop 8 and if it is a political entity, it should not be tax exempt. The Catholic church and many evangelical churches supported the passage of Prop 8. How come no one is protesting their properties?

I have been watching the protests and I wonder how may of those thousand people canvassed neighborhoods and universities to garner support from liberal and young voters of ALL ethnic backgrounds? I bet less than 1%. The gay community needs to take deep breath, form a circle and starting pointing the finger where it belongs.

I want to thank the posters to confront Dan on his decisiveness and race-baiting against African Americans. On the blogs that I visited only one or two people spoke up. It has restored my faith that our communities can move pass this ugliness that people like Dan promote.

Lastly, I pledge to continue to speak out against the homophobia in the African American community. I will confront them whenever they make homophobic comments and express homophobic attitudes.

Oh before I forget, fuck your racist ass, Dan.

Posted by Simone | November 9, 2008 6:42 AM

Dan has discovered homophobia in the black community. Oh happy day! Da white man is here to save us.

I am down with TerranceDC's anger and frustration with black people including Harold Ford who shouldn't be dog catcher much less senator. Terance is right. Black people seem hopelessly provincial clinging to every bit of nonsense that some no account trifling pastor utters on Sunday. I have little patience for gay black men and women who attend these churches (or for white catholics who put up with the crap their clergy spews). And for gay and lesbian black people its a constant struggle to deal with black homophobia. But I'm a middle aged gay black man who has encountered bucket loads of racism within the white gay community every step of the way that has been amply described by others on this site so I won't bother repeating the examples.

Its sad, but blacks and whites still live in largely separate social settings and the same is at least as true for gay blacks and whites. And by the way, I'm not blaming white people for that. Its just a reality.

Savage was nice enough to respond to an email I wrote him, but from that response and from his writing on this site, its clear he is clueless. He doesn't know shit about the experience of black people, gay or otherwise or what the real import and impact of black homophobia is. Not a crime, but you might give the issues a little more thought before you start the casual scapegoating for a problem that exists in all communities. The origin and expression of black homophobia is uglier than he can imagine and inciting racial hatred as he has done,albeit inadvertently, does nothing to illuminate it, light a path to repairing it or figuring out a way to undo prop 8. It has been altogether careless.

Thanks for nothing Dan!

Posted by HDS | November 10, 2008 12:59 AM

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