It seems as though Westboro Baptist Church just can’t satiate its thirst for hate.
This week, the target was Howard University, one of the most prestigious historically Black universities located in the nation’s capital.
In an unhinged and nearly indecipherable call to action, Westboro decried Howard’s student organization Outlaw, described on its website as “an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning law students, as well as their allies and friends,” for what Westboro claims as being “designed to forcefully push Sodomy Sin of all sorts and kinds”
In an inspiring show of solidarity, the student body showed up and drowned out Westboro’s hate, using the hashtag #BlackLoveMatters on social media, harkening to the #BlackLifeMatters movement that arose in response to the endemic of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women.
Howard’s response was inspiring not only in its reassurance that Black lives, all of them, really do matter to the school and its students, but also because there has been quite a lot of nothing made out of the myth that Black communities are especially homophobic.
It’s a myth propagated by white gay (usually male) leaders and anti-queer activists alike based on false or no statistics at all, and serves to further divide marginalized communities and demonize Blackness in the place of the real problem, heteropatriarchy.
I completely understand that the problems that Black queer and trans folk face are unique and need to be addressed uniquely, but that can and must be done without pathologizing Blackness and missing the point.
Out of necessity, all oppressions work by hurting those with the most intersectional marginal identities the most. It creates an enemy that is not the oppressor and misdirects time, energy and resources toward fighting each other instead.
It is far too easy to blame Blackness for shit and I’m tired of it. Yes, Black people, we need to own up to homophobia and misogyny within our communities, and shouting “Black lives matter!” when you mean “Black straight men matter!” is disgusting and hypocritical, but I’m sick of the lies that say all of us are doing this and only white folks are fighting for queer rights.
Trust me, as a Black queer man, I know this is a personal kind of pain and most of us who decry the homophobia we’ve experienced in our churches, homes and neighborhoods are speaking only of what we know. We haven’t experienced white homophobia like we have experienced Black homophobia.
But It wasn’t Black people that killed Brandon Teena, Matthew Shepherd or Leela Alcorn.
Westboro Baptist church isn’t Black.
So I’m all the way here for Howard University, and #BlackLoveMatters.