This time of the year should be celebratory for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. It's LGBT Pride Month, which was made official by President Barack Obama in 2010. New York City's Pride events kick off this week, and in a matter of days, New York may become the most populous state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. But while all of this positive news is going on in the gay community, black folks might be having the most homophobic month ever.
First there's Tracy Morgan, who made several insensitive jokes during a now infamous "comedy" routine in which he made the heinous statement that he would stab his son if he were gay. Morgan has since apologized and is licking the boots of any gay organization that will listen. He's even returning to Nashville, Tenn., where he delivered the homophobic rant, to apologize to those who were offended. Morgan should have known the power of the gays, who quickly dismantled the careers of Isaiah Washington and Tim Hardaway after they made inflammatory statements about gays.
Next, F-list rapper Tyler, the Creator of Odd Future proudly used the word "faggot" 213 times on his album Goblin. He rationalized, "I have gay fans and they don't really take it offensive." Tyler has gay fans? He has fans? His album, which was released in early May, has sold just a little more than 75,000 copies.
Not only are many gays offended by his wiggity wack lack of creativity, but so are straights. In addition, how can a "hetero" rapper speak for his "gay fans" or the LGBT community in general — simply because a small flock of young gays who tolerate his music claim that he gets a pass on bigotry?
Even at a Safeway in Washington, D.C., one of the gayest cities in America, a random checkout girl called two customers faggots. The men immediately filed a complaint and got an apology from Safeway, and the checkout girl apologized on camera. Whatever happened to customer service and valuing your job?
Now we have David Tyree, the former NFL player who said that if gay marriage passed in New York, it would lead to "anarchy." The massive budget cuts in New York won't lead to anarchy, but gay marriage will? High unemployment rates in the state won't lead to anarchy, but gay marriage will? Tyree's former crack addiction must have permanently damaged his brain cells.
Friday morning, Tyree appeared on CNN to debate his point of view with Kyra Phillips. Realizing that he should have gone to Dictionary.com before using "anarchy," he sloppily backtracked from the word. Instead, Tyree, who has said his beliefs are informed by "what the Bible says," tried to frame himself as a historian on marriage. He used two-cent rhetoric such as, "A marriage is between a man and woman, and that has always been the backbone of our culture," and stressed the importance of "procreating."
When Phillips presented him with facts that contradict his claims, Tyree pulled the ever ready anti-gay argument: that being gay is "unnatural." If you are going to be an advocate for bigotry, at least be an Ann Coulter and look as if you know what you're talking about.
Uneducated opinions are poisonous, but let's talk about Tyree himself. The 31-year-old is a former crack addict who was arrested for drug possession in 2004. Furthermore, two of his children were born out of wedlock. According to Deuteronomy 23:2 (that's in the Bible he's fond of referencing), "The child begotten out of wedlock or incest shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord."
If we want to be biblical literalists, like Tyree himself, his children, James Baldwin and Luther Vandross will all be sharing the same eternal resting place. In no way do I believe this to be true, but it's hilarious that someone who was smoking crack and having unprotected sex before marriage is attempting to shoot his moral compass at anyone.
Black folks may be having the most homophobic month ever, but Tracy Morgan and David Tyree are not the enemies. They have no power. The true enemy is institutionalized homophobia being upheld by a cherry-picking government. So while folks rage at Tyree and Morgan, they are harmless duds — yet they represent a very real problem.
Of course, not every black person is homophobic; nor are we more homophobic than whites. But there is a particular bombastic banter that many African Americans think they can get away with because we are a minority ourselves. In the way that some whites tiptoe around racism, we — particularly the public figures in our community — should tiptoe around homosexuality.
Gays are not just white men. They are poor, middle class, disabled, Native American, black, Asian, Latino, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, single mothers, single fathers and any other identity you can imagine. If any of us desires to damn people to hell, we can all dig for a user-friendly Bible verse to validate our hatred. But God loves us all. Life, whether it begins out of wedlock or within marriage; and love, whether it's gay, straight or on crack, are human rights that should be experienced authentically.