This LGBTQIA+ community had a major win earlier last month. On June 15th, the Supreme Court ruled to include members of the LGBT+ community into the interruption of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provided equal employment and prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex. The recent ruling from the highest court in the land has expanded the official legal interruption of sex to include protection against discrimination for LGBTQIA+ in the workplace.
Huge strides have been made for the LGBT+ community in recent years, but there is still so much more to be done. While some would assume that the LGBT+ community would be more progressive because of the marginalization that we face, but unfortunately the LGBTQIA+ community seems to have gone backwards in time several decades.
Three years ago, the owner and employees of 11 gay bars in Philadelphia were required to take anti-discrimination training after multiple complaints made by patrons of colors. Among several incidents of people of color (POC) not receiving services at gay bars, a video of one of the bar owner shows him saying the n-word. The same year, more people of color experienced racism within gay bars, a supposed “safe space” in New York City.
The “gay” media has also been white-washed to portray the ideal gay to be a caucasian, musclar and mascline, cisgender gay man. While much activism for the community, like Stonewall, is driven by people of color within the community, most of the portrayals of the community in the media is surrounding the ideal instagay, white, and athletic male.
“No Asians, No Blacks” something you thought that would be from the 1900’s is often seen on dating profiles in today’s society, especially on the gay dating app Grindr. Why is there blatant racism in the LGBT+ community? Why is it normalized?
One night, I received the message:“are you asian?” on Grindr. How could the person possibly know? I only included a picture of my torso and no mention of being Asian was in my bio. I replied with “yeah, why?” and this mysterious guy responded with “I wanted to know if I was right or not” followed by the text “I don’t like asians and I can tell that you’re asian based on your abs”.
This is just one of many disturbing racist experiences I have had over years of using dating apps. I was disturbed by the fact that someone learned how to identify Asians based off of one’s stomach just to avoid them. While most people do have a “type” when it comes to dating and who they sleep with, why does the LGBT+ community allow for such open and sometimes disturbing racism within the community?
On the flip side, there’s also been the fetishization of racial minorities within the community. Terms such as “papi”, “Asians are a plus”, “BBC only” and other terms simplify members of the community down to their race without their consent. Nowadays, racism is disguised as “preferences”. While being gay is natural, racism and “preferences” isn’t and is influenced by the notion that the “ideal” gay man is caucasian, athletic, and cisgender.
The disturbing amount of racism and fetishization of racial minorities is dehumanizing for people of color. Turning someone down based on one’s preference is one thing, but sometimes the way that the turning down occurs can be disrespectful. Often times hoping to be in a safe space on apps or in gay bars, LGBT+ POC individuals have to face the reality that racism is still prevalent and sometimes more out in the open than with heterosexual counterparts.
Outside of the community, LGBT+ POC individuals face even more issues when it comes to the healthcare system and criminal justice system. A poll conducted by Harvard, NPR, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that LBGT+ POC are twice as more like than their white counterparts to experience discrimination within employment and when interacting with the police.
Within Juvenile Justice Facilities, 1 in 5 youth identify as LGBT+ and within that 20%, 85% of LGTB+ youth in juvenile justice facilities are people of color. This disproportion of racial minorities in the LGBT+ youth population of juvenile justice facilities can be traced back to discrimination in court and proceedings, discriminatory enforcement of criminal laws, profiling and policing tactics, and many other reasons.
While there continues to be advocacy for the LGBT+ community and more activism done with the intersection of BLM and the LGBT+ community with the All Black Lives Matter movement, there is still much more to be done within the community to reverse the pressure of confirming to the caucasian cisgender mascline gay norm and the discriminatory treatment that LGBT+ POC individuals face.