The media erasure of black gay love has dominated over the years, and many on both sides of the Atlantic are now calling for it to stop. “If you’re a Black gay male with a Black partner – post a pic. I’m trying to see something,” television writer and producer Kirk A. Moore (Runaways, 13 Reasons Why) wrote on Twitter. The post didn’t receive traction immediately. “Y’all silence is the reason why we keep getting Ken and Jerome onscreen,” Moore stated in a follow-up post. After some time, black gay couples showed up and showed out.
“My thing is… most gay relationships are NOT interracial relationships. I’m tired of these people not showing us Black couples. They exist. Everywhere.” With Moore’s thread comes the question, why does mainstream media continue to not display the reality of black gay couples?
How Media Erasure of Black Gay Love Continues
The mainstream entertainment industry often depicts interracial relationships to avoid telling the complete story of black individuals. It’s a way to minimise inclusion and claim diversity with many black actors and actresses paired with other races, particularly white men. In addition, Black relationships are often depicted as abusive or unstable compared with how interracial relationships portrayed. Not only do such portrayals contribute to the erasure of black gay love, but they promote anti-blackness, fear and fail to encompass any true representation, diversity or inclusion.
As well as an inaccurate portrayal of black gay love, mainstream media often rely on a stereotypical presentation of gay culture for sensationalism. Shows like Sex Education (Netflix) illustrate exactly what is wrong with mainstream programming. Not only is there a typical interracial couple (Adam and Eric), but the white character, Adam, initially has a girlfriend (Aimee), is the headmaster’s son, and bullies his Black partner, Eric. At the end of season one, Adam realises his inevitable dormant sexual attraction and gives Eric a blow job. Not only does this push the stereotype that homophobes are secretly gay, but once again, a black gay character’s experience is diminished at the expense of his white counterpart.
What Are the Statistics?
According to The 2019 American Community Survey, more than 16 per cent of married same-sex households were interracial couples, double the rate for married couples of the opposite sex. In 2018, the Office for National Statistics in the UK recorded some 232,000 same-sex couples living together, compared to 2015, when only 152,000 were recorded. No breakdown by ethnicity was provided. The ONS further notes, “the estimates are subject to sampling variation, and their precision depends on the sample size.”
“For some smaller groups (such as civil partner couple families and same-sex cohabiting couple families), the estimates are considered less precise and should be treated with caution.” Reports such as these intentionally fail to provide statistics on black gay couples by selecting cities where white same-sex partnerships predominate. Atlanta and Houston, for example, have a considerably large population of black gay couples, yet their numbers are never provided. Without accurate reporting, there can be no accurate representation.
Black Gay Love Is Real
“Scrolling through these beautiful pics and realizing just that. I rarely see these couples represented,” Twitter user @lsellmansant responded. While many recognise this, several others find the conversation to “only be a problem to ignorant people who are obsessed with race.” While @Ktfleming6 says, “stop whining.” Such comments are clearly to troll people and attempt to shut down the debate. Many individuals, such as @Hayley_DrPH, acknowledge that “gay interracial relationships are all they ever see.”
“There’s is no reason why two Black men can’t be seen loving one another in 2021 unless YOU just don’t want (nor, like) to see it. And, that’s the truth. Say it,” Moore wrote in another post. I completely agree, yet the issue can’t be fixed unless mainstream media creators begin to portray the reality of black gay love. Collectively, we need to continue to embrace moments such as Moore’s Twitter thread. We can also create our own safe spaces to showcase the black gay love we wish to see. To view the entire beautiful thread, go see it here.
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