op-ed: dear white gays, stop patronizing black women with your “allyship”

June 9, 2017
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Dear Black Women: White Gays Are Your Allies, So Don’t Push Us Away

This headline hit me like a ton of bricks as I scrolled through my Facebook timeline. Quite a few thoughts went through my head as I hesitantly clicked the link––The first was to wonder what kind of mental gymnastics it would require for this headline alone to pass through multiple editors of TIME, as if any piece demanding black women be more inclusive towards white men in any context were a good idea.

The second was that this type of aggressive performative discourse and misogynoir sounded all too familiar. The more I re-read it, the more I was able to convince myself that it could easily have been written by Milo Yiowhothefuck or my white gay coworker who ran his fingers through my hair unsolicited, citing his second job as a “sassy gay hairdresser” as automatic permission. Your gayness does not make you an automatic ally, and it does not mean that we need you.

By Artemis Faye*, AFROPUNK Contributor

Though the article itself is several years old, I find this sentiment still being echoed from white gays in LGBT circles on the rare occurrence when intersectional issues are discussed. White gay men have made it very clear that they consider their queerness to be a “get out of jail free” card that makes their anti-black behavior magically free of consequences, when in fact white gays can and do reinforce white supremacy, transphobia, racism, ableism, and damn well every other ism that is on the books.

The collective cry for inclusiveness in black femme movements shows a lack of understanding of the relationship between black women and gay white men even within queer spaces. White queers have been stealing everything from mannerisms, slang and style from black women since the 50’s. A black trans woman was the one who first raised hell at Stonewall, and yet modern narratives have somehow made entire accounts of the event viewed only from the white male perspective. The entire movement for queer acceptance routinely ostracizes people of color while benefiting from our labor and to pretend that this doesn’t manifest within the LGBT community today is ahistorical at best.
My experience as a queer black woman in America is absolutely nothing like yours and white gay men do not get to decide if they are allies or not.

Banner photo via Dear White People / Netflix

*Artemis Faye is a Seattle based model and unapologetic activist.