Why We Must Become Better Allies to Queer Black Women

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Even those of us who believe ourselves to be allies to the LGBTQ community often have blindspots in seeing our own privilege. Being called out on the ways we comply with the oppression of others hurts. It's painful and awkward, but my understanding that all oppression is interconnected compels me to self evaluate constantly.

Jarune at Everyday Feminism offers some important thoughts on "How the Black Community Can be More Supportive of Black Queer Women."

Allies Don’t:
  • Police queer woman’s gender expression. Saying things like, “If lesbians are attracted to women, why do they date studs? Why not date a dude?” is erasing to women who date or prefer masculine-presenting women. Studs, butch women, AG’s, and so on, are not “trying” to be men—they’re being themselves. Instead, be aware that there are as many gender presentations as there are people. Even if a woman stands out as different because of her gender presentation, she is probably doing what’s normal for her. Be respectful of every woman’s choices about her body and level of comfort.
  • Expect lesbians to conform to heterosexual relationship dynamics. Asking a lesbian couple a question like, “So which of you is the man in the relationship?” makes the assumption that there is always a man and a woman in every relationship. On that note, assuming that a woman is dominant or submissive based on her gender presentation, or that all studs like femmes and vice versa, is heterosexism rearing its ugly head. Instead, remember that “normal” is relative. There is no one gold standard for how a relationship should work. So let go of the “boy-girl” dynamic if you support women who don’t conform to these roles in their relationships, same-sex or otherwise.
  • Treat lesbianism or bisexuality as exotic or kinky. This particularly applies to men who, through cultural conditioning or pornography, have only seen lesbians as objects of male fantasy. Black women have to deal with the objectification and othering of their bodies enough as it is. Allies don’t add to the problem by asking intrusive questions about lesbian women’s sex lives or questioning transgender women about their genitalia. Instead of eroticizing lesbianism, understand that most queer black women just want to live their lives as part of their communities. They have valid, loving relationships that are every bit as private and meaningful as the relationships between straight couples.

Excellent food for thought. Continue reading at Everyday Feminism


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Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or

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