A while back someone wrote about how I’m not “lesbian enough” and don’t do a sufficient job representing queer black girls in media. This isn’t something that I’ve never heard before – over the past year or so there have been plenty of people who haven’t hesitated to let me know that I’m not gay enough or thin enough or straight enough (lol) or ____ enough to be visible. Typically I ignore unsolicited opinions but I feel that this issue and what’s really at the root of it is worth talking about.
I touched on this briefly when I did Another Round, but I most often use the label “lesbian” because people ask fewer follow-up questions than when I use “queer”. To put it simply, even though all my (adulthood) exes are women I am exclusively attracted to what I consider “masculinity”, and sometimes that includes men. What I consider “fine” varies from Brittney Griner or Caster Semenya to Idris Elba or Brody Jenner, and the fluidity of my sexuality is complicated for a lot of people to understand. It is deeply personal, so as long as I’m cool with myself then please understand that nothing else matters. I don’t approach my time in the studio with anyone else’s priorities in mind.
One of the many benefits of white privilege is the ability to be seen without automatically being designated as an officer of your race and I wish I could tap into some of that now. I’m a black American woman and that’s enough baggage to carry around in this world without worrying about whether I’m being queer enough to be relatable. I don’t feel a responsibility to serve or be accountable to anyone but myself. Naturally I want queer black girls to be proud of me, but if I have to write myself a reminder to dyke it up in order to get your approval then you can keep it. The love that I receive from black women specifically has been so overwhelming that I have been moved to tears time after time – I consider that a gift. But it is not my job to be the lesbian face that you wish to see, and I don’t mind disappointing you by being myself.