Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Does a Black Lesbian Look Like?

Black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that. 

- Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll

When Jennifer Carroll was asked about an incident in which she was allegedly found in a compromising position with a female staff member the above was her response (view video response here). The response ignited a firestorm of criticism (as it should have) and prompted me to wonder what exactly was a Black lesbian supposed to look like? Are we supposed to be ugly, or not married, unfaithful, etc? Is our sexuality labeled as some form of abhorrent behavior? As a response to the statement the hashtag on twitter #whatablacklesbianlookslke went viral. And after much debate I decided to write a letter to the Lt. Governor myself in which you all will be able to see below. I figured some of my frustrations are quite similar to my sisters around the world.

Dear Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, 

I must say I have not been a fan of your politics or your words for quite some time now. Particularly since the beginning of your political career when you chose to make it known that you weren’t African-American but that you were of Caribbean descent (as if being African-American is somehow dirty and beneath those of Caribbean descent). Last time I checked we all came from the same continent and were sent to different parts of the world. 

However, this is not why I’m writing you. I’m writing you as Black woman who identifies as a lesbian (Queer lesbian). I am writing you because in your statement you’ve managed to offend not only myself, but my sisters from around the world because you have categorized us in the same manner that you yourself could be categorized as a Black woman. I was far from aware that lesbian Black women had one look, and I was even more shocked that you would be the person who could define what that look is. Given that there are numerous feminine women who are Black lesbians and given that I am one of them. 

Have you given any thought at all about women such as Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Tracy Chapman and Alice Walker? Have you at all thought about the Black women worldwide who work in corporate offices, hold done jobs just as important as yours, (with similar, if not more, responsibilities) and identify with being lesbians? Have you no respect for your fellow sisters? Have you no respect for yourself? Given that I am not a fan of your politics, or your opinions I can only say that I hope that you examine your words and can find an apology adequate enough to smooth over the mess of words that stumbled forth from your mouth. 


A Very Proud Black Lesbian


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