Coming Out Isn’t a Rite of Passage into the LGBTQ+ Community
Being Black and queer means that things like this aren’t as clear cut as most situations. As I have shared, my family is deeply conservative. I grew up being taught that homosexuality is an abomination.
I can count on my hands and feet the number of pastors and religious leaders in my family. As first-generation Africans, there is a culture of “accepted homophobia” in the ranks, though it’s not thought of as such, but something more like, “the fight for purity and preservation of life in an increasing sodomist world.”
The more I thought about coming out, the more I realised I was doing it because I thought I had to. It is all we are exposed to. We face and accept our sexuality, come out before we get outed and then deal with the blowback. The narrative normally swings towards familial approval after they have had some time to sit on it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how different my story would turn out.
I know I am being selfish. But why must it always be the Black woman who uses her body to build a bridge so others can walk across the canyon?
In my culture, there is this belief that a parent is always right. Even if you know they aren’t, you don’t speak up; you follow. So I know coming out wouldn’t change their hearts.
Do I honestly think my father wouldn’t attempt to beat the gay out of me? I have beaten for much less. Do I honestly believe a woman who still sends me bible verses and thinks that I will give her a grandchild, even though I told her about my dislike of children, will take it well that her oldest daughter is gay? To her, I am too liberal as it is, to which she blames on my father. And a liberal he is not.