When I’m having an adult discussion with grown African heterosexual men and they keep referring to the need to shield their kids from “people like me”, I leave the conversation. I spent today trying to have a civil conversation with Zimbabwean grown men who were quick to tell me about how alpha male they are and that they feel emasculated when they see black Hollywood actors in dresses and how there’s a drive in Hollywood to emasculate black men.
How did we get to this thinking?
I’m exhausted. There’s so much work to do in the education and conscientising of men who are raising human beings in this world. Especially those who will have children who fall outside of the narrow scope of hetero-normative structures of existence.
Homophobia in its essence is an attack on a person’s inalienable right to exist as a wholesome human being who should be left well alone without being humiliated for merely existing. Any country’s constitution worth it’s salt would prevent this attack on human beings. But not most of our continent!
When an actor wearing a dress makes a choice at his audition to wear a dress. It’s a costume for a character. Now, how the viewer perceives this, is up to them.
Wearing a dress isn’t reserved only for black male leads… what of Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams and Patrick Swayze among others?
Is black masculinity so fragile that its very fabric will crumble because men are wearing costumes? The danger in this is in the fact that hetero-normative rhetoric has itself convinced that there’s only one way of existing. Is black masculinity so fragile that it can be toppled over by men in costume playing a role? Do we have that super power as gay men?
There’s this unfounded fear that anything perceived LGBTQIA+ or simply gay is contagious and capable of reprogramming [heterosexual] society into a mass gay orgy… We don’t have that power as gay people! All I want is to build a future for myself, my family and to exist. I’ve no interest in the emasculation of another human being.
And as an artist, I’ll play the roles I like to tell the story I believe in.
The lens of hetero-normative thinking tends to be so narrow that it’s willing to scrutinise, injure or curtail anything outside its scope of understanding or interest. This is dangerous. It’s often married to fundamentalist religion and repressive politics that paralyse real diversity of any sort.
I’ve lived under these conditions most of my life. It’s debilitating.
Don’t forget that as an able bodied heterosexual living in a hetero-normative society with conditions built in your favour, your perception of the world will only/mostly through your lens. Where should the rest of us exist? Because a fully and utterly hetero-normative world, as idealistic as it may be, doesn’t really exist. There are many others existing in the recesses of the oppression that hetero-normative governance and religion have created. Where should the rest of us go?
My experience in my 42 years of walking this planet has been that the combination of fundamentalist religion, inept governance and insecure men is a recipe for disaster that often comes back over and over to bite society in the proverbial ass. Society can do fucking better. Its footsteps are red with our blood and it keeps scapegoating us as the punchbag for dealing with its shortcomings. Well, fuck that.
You can’t wish us away. And you surely can’t kill all of us. We’re in all your families. We’re your parents, your grandparents, your kids and siblings. To kill us off is to deny yourself.
So wake up soon. We’ll be here waiting to walk each other home.