Being Gay and Black in Philly
Recently I asked where all the lesbians were in Philly. I conducted a survey and the results were pretty standard. 63% of the women surveyed preferred not to deal with the dishes and dine out in a restaurant. Another 23% preferred to dress a good looking table and host at home. But there was a few responses in this survey that echoed conversations I have had with my Black lesbian and gays friends and it generated a whole other op-ed from this survey. The experience of being Black in the gay world in Philly is a horse of an entirely different color. (Yes, pun was intended).
There has been a lot written about the prejudicial and at times racist behavior of gay establishments in America. The most retweeted post by far on For de Arts Twitter Page (@pridefrmthedoor) was the News One article about Michael Sam experiencing “...More Racism In The LGBT Community Than Black Homophobia”. My page was afire with posts about this. These posts ranged from genuine surprise that members of the LGBTQ community could have racist or prejudicial beliefs to sharp sarcasm that this was ever in doubt.
Closer to home, in September of 2017, video of ICandy’s owner Darryl DePiano using racial slurs went viral and the conversation that had been quietly debated in Black circles became mainstream. This resulted in a huge backlash from the minority LGBTQ community and the activist group Black and Brown Collective held protests at ICandy, Woody’s and City Hall. Such an uproar was raised that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kinney pledged in January to take action against discrimination within the Gayborhood.
In February of 2017, Eater Philadelphia posted an article about how 11 Philly gay bars were forced to take anti-racism training. Behaviour, that had been standard operating procedure for years, was finally taken up by the “mainstream” and action was taken. Thanks. (?)
Being gay and Black in Philadelphia is challenging. One survey responded stated, “... I don’t go to (certain bars) in Philadelphia because of racism and misogyny.” The “boy” bars come with a big ole pile of shade half the time. Bless your heart if you are a lesbian in a packed boy bar trying to get a drink. And God bless you if you are a gay black person who is trying to get into a club. If it is not ok for a certain cheesesteak spot to insist you order in American, then it is equally not ok for a certain gay bar to exclude all who wear Timberlands. What do you think? Tell me about your experience of being Black and gay in Philly. Or if you have seen your gay friends of color experience moments of prejudice. OR, if you think this is bunch of twaddle… share your thought in comments below.