Let’s call the author of this imprudent tweet “Dylan.”
“Roseanne Barr has been rooting for the LGBT community for years. Show some respect. She was only kidding. People are too fucking sensitive.”
While not every white queer person is as stupid as Dylan, he symbolizes a tremendously widespread problem in the white LGBTQ community. He proves that white people, queer or not, are beneficiaries of white privilege, which perpetually imperils and impairs many marginalized communities.
White privilege comes from centuries of white supremacy, and white supremacy has a special way of destroying many marginalized groups. And if white queer people continue to disregard and deny their privilege and complicity in white supremacy, they can singlehandedly destroy the LGBTQ community. That’s what white supremacy does; it destroys anything it touches.
Dylan is but a small head on The Many-Headed Hydra of white supremacy, which means that the problems of Black and brown people are not his problems; therefore, he doesn’t have to give a wet donkey shit about them. Dylan disregarding Roseanne’s racism and citing her pro-queerness proves that he is more than willing to turn a blind eye to anything that does not threaten his privilege as a white gay person, or worse: he’s willing to sit back and watch.
A popular example of this is when Caitlyn Jenner, a rich and white transgender woman, endorsed Donald Trump. In less than one year, she went from an unrepentant Trump supporter to a shamefaced Trump hater.
So, how did she go from suggesting that Trump would be the best presidential candidate to deal with women and LGBTQ issues to stating that Trump is a “disgrace?” Was it after Trump accused undocumented Mexicans of being rapists and drug dealers? Of course not. Caitlyn isn’t Muslim or Mexican. Why would she care? Was it after Trump mocked a disabled reporter? Of course not. Caitlyn isn’t disabled. Why would she care? Was it after Trump proposed to make healthcare even more inaccessible to poor people in America? Of course not. Caitlyn isn’t a poor American person. Why would she care?
Caitlyn’s support for Trump began to wither when Trump threatened her privilege. The moment Trump called to repeal a federal law which allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Caitlyn became very critical of Trump. But she was more than willing to support Donald Trump when he was brazenly oppressing other marginalized groups in America.
Caitlyn is one of many privileged white queer people who had their own privilege blow up in their face. Her disapproval of Trump now does not lessen her complicity in any violence or mistreatment any marginalized community faces during Trump’s reign. After all, she voted for him. She allowed herself to be used as a political pawn. She is, in short, responsible for any hits the LGBTQ community takes.
But maybe I’m just being sensitive. After all, that’s what we’re calling people who can identify words or actions that offend disenfranchised communities, right? “Sensitive.”
As a Black, queer man, I am regularly called “sensitive.” Each time I call out anti-Blackness or anti-queerness, I’m told that I’m being sensitive, and that I shouldn’t get mad at the person’s jokes regardless of how harmful they are—because “they’re just jokes.”
For example, I’ve heard people “joke” about doing violence to their children if they grow up to be queer. How can this be a joke when this actually happens? Take a look at 14-year-old Giovanni Melton, whose father shot him in the chest because he did not want a gay son. Take a look at eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, whose mother and her domestic partner tortured, force-fed feces to, and eventually killed him.
People with the upper-hand are constantly reminding us how fragile we are if we take offense to anything they say. Though, if someone were to flip the script and stereotype them—or worse: call out their privilege—watch as the offender becomes the offended.
Also, we have to deflate the idea that one who is a member of a marginalized community cannot have other special privileges. Being problematic or violent and being queer are not mutually exclusive; being white and queer does not erase one’s whiteness, which means that they, too, can benefit from white supremacy. Which means that they, too have the capacity to threaten other communities.
Like Nicky from Orange is the New Black said, “Gay people can also be assholes.” Speaking of gay assholes, remember when Kevin Spacey came out as gay after being accused of sexually assaulting then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp? Remember when he was also accused of hurling around the N-word on set?
See? Queer people can be also be racist, rapist assholes.
One of my biggest problems with white queer people is that they are willfully colorblind. Many are content with ignoring intersectionality, and perhaps that’s because the LGBTQ community is not as inclusive as it should be.
So, I’m not writing this piece to condemn all white queer people. I’m writing this piece to condemn white queer people like Dylan; people like Dylan believe that there is a way to separate queerness from Blackness. People like Dylan are content with ignoring intersectionality, which is dangerous. People like Dylan are content with watching other communities crumble, so long as his privilege stays intact.
Don’t be a Dylan.
Image via Getty
‘The House of Flowers’ Is Netflix’s New Family Dramedy With Multiple Queer and Trans Storylines
Bonnie Milligan Leads Lesbian and Plus-Sized Representation on Broadway as Pamela in ‘Head Over Heels’