Racism in the LGBT Community

TheInsideLlama's picture

I was wondering if anyone has encountered racism in the LGBT community personally and how the feel about it and what they have done to handle this. This was brought up at a Citywide GSA meeting put together but an LGBT organization here in Philadelphia. Thanks in advance for your time.

jeff's picture


Coincidentally enough, I experienced it when i was back home in NE PA.

Now, they are already all crazy about the illegal immigration issue and all of the Mexicans coming to take all their good valet, waiter, and busboy jobs. But I figured it sort of stayed at that level.

So, I went to the gay bar there. Now that I'm "from" San Francisco, I tend to use that as an ice breaker, as far as "Is this a usual crowd for a Friday?" and stuff, then we get onto the San Francisco stuff. I'm at the bar, and we get onto San Francisco with some white guy, and he says what kind of club do you go to in SF. So, I mention that a few days ago I was at a club called Dragon, which is mainly a gay Asian thing. The guy gets a weird look on his face and says, "Oh... I don't like the slanty-eyed ones."

I was sort of shocked, and wasn't sure if the lack of gaysians in Wilkes-Barre has led to some cultural insensitivity due to lack of interaction, so I translate his ignorant comment to the more PC, "Oh... I'm not attracted to Asian guys." and move on.

Then, I sort of notice that there are these cute Latino boys off to the one corner, sort of having a good time, but clearly not interacting with the mainly white crowd, and none of the crowd is dealing with them. I start to wonder if it's the same sort of racist thing.

So, I go over to the Latino group and am immediately welcomes, introduced around, and had a great time. No other white person came over the whole night. At one point, I go to the bar, next to the "slanty-eyed" guy, and he gives me a disapproving look and says, "I see you're taking the long way back," which I interpret as meaning white is the goal, and I went from yellow to brown (seemingly, I'm going the other way given the racist color designations, no?).

So, yeah, that was my racism story. I didn't really *do* anything about it, just used the area's racism to help me make out with some Latino boy.


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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apuffalogic's picture


There's racism everywhere...

Sad, really. I'm not sure that being gay would help it a bit. It won't boost tolerance for anybody except gay/bi/possibily trans people. I suppose that it depends more on the individual person, and their actual physical community.

"Politely rude. Briskly vague. Firmly uninformative"

Leisa's picture

Some stuff for you to read pertaining to this subject :)

Emi Koyama- "Whose Feminism is it Anyway: The Unspoken Racism of the Trans Inclusion Debate"

Roderick Ferguson "Abberations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique"

Kenyon Farrow "Is Gay Marriage Anti Black?"


apuffalogic's picture

Wikipedia article on the topic:


"Politely rude. Briskly vague. Firmly uninformative"

thelonerangr425's picture

Yes I've encountered Racism among the white lesbians!

I am 47, african american lesbian very attractive,articulate,intelligent, and with good manners. That seems to matter very little among the majority of white lesbian women today who seem to think that its COOL OR FUN to show women of color disrespect and believe me it happens!
I've had experiances when introduced to white lesbians from cold stares,cold & distant receptions to down right disrespect given to me as though I were nothing more than a dog.
I was raised in California in the sixties ( A place I miss dearly) where I never experianced any form of bigotry,racism like I've experianced here in Seattle Washington.
It does exist. Not only from white lesbians but some of the other african american lesbians as well.
It just never occurs to the good majority of white lesbian women THAT THERE ARE WOMEN OF COLOR WHO ARE GAY. The white women don't even think that we exist. Alot are so ignorant and believe me I won't be shy to confront one about it.
Don't come to Seattle as a gay woman of color especially not alone you'll be treated like shit in the community. Mark my words

the mouse that roared's picture

I guess I'm not responsible

I guess I'm not responsible for the actions of all the other white queer women in the world, but I'd like to apologize on the behalf of them anyway. That kind of cold reception is why the queer community is so divided over color lines.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. --Anais Nin

thelonerangr425's picture

Here is another example of subtle racism

I applied to volunteer at an local AIDs hospice here in Seattle.
Okay now I speak VERY ARTICULATELY over the phone. I spoke with the volunteer coordinator who is a white gay male.
An appointment was made to meet in person. When I arrived at the hospice I waited in the lobby I checked in with at the front desk reception stating my name.
After that was done I sat in the lobby to wait for the volunteer coordinator to come out.
I was the only FEMALE in the lobby period! Everyone else is male.
The coordinator made an appearance in the lobby looked around then went back behind the security door back to his office.
I must have waited something like 30 minutes before going back to the front desk to recheck in for my appointment stating my name AGAIN.
The same man appeared within minutes and seemed surprised!
Although he did not say anything it was clear to me that he expected to see someone white and not a woman of color.
He didn't need to tell me anything I already knew.
Anyone else out there experiance this??

thelonerangr425's picture

I have yet another example

Back in the late eighties I was hanging out with my buddy a gay male we went out to go clubbing one night. We stopped at a club/bar called the Brass Connection which was in Seattle just off Broadway.
My buddy & I went to give our ID's to the guy at the front door a white guy and when this guy goes to look at my ID he immediately gets this scowl on his face like he sees something wrong with my ID.
He says this: "Your not 5'7" your lying I can't accept this"
When I start to show my indignation because clearly he is out of line there was nothing wrong with my drivers license because I was well over 21 at that time.
He then says "If you give me any trouble I will call the police and say that you pulled out a knife"
I could not believe it, I don't think we even went into the bar. I was in total shock.
That bar has been gone now for some time (GOOD) but there is hate towards African American gay women in the community.
The community however likes to sweep this sort of thing under the rug.
Rose colored glasses.
The Gay community is in such denial over racism. Its like oh our lives are wonderful "We are family" or "Everyone loves everyone else"
This could not be more untrue.

Icarus's picture

so for those of you falling

so for those of you falling in love
keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right
throw yourself in the midst of danger
and keep one eye open at night.
--"Elephants" Rachel Yamagata

oldfoxbob's picture

I dont discriminate

Some of my best friends are Green with purple poke a dots.
I have been with White, Brown, Yellow, and Black lovers. Those I find most attractive are White ( as I am ) But I am not against going to bed or befriending that of another race. To me personally it is the person inside that makes the diff not the color of their skin. But I have been discriminated against.
As many of you know I was a police man in the past. While in the military, I made an arrest of several young persons once , one was black, the rest were white. While I was doing a search of the bodys of all of them I put the one black against the wall as I had the others, to assume the position. he was very fem and didnt put his feet back enough. I told him to move his feet back more. he did but only a few inches. come on get your feet back. ...again few inches. come on boy get those feet back I said. He did and I searched him. After it was all over I was ( in the military) given a article 15 ( just short of court marshal) and had to take race relations for six months. Did you see why?
I said the word Boy. to a black person. I to this day am not raciest. but the military sure was!

Genius is not a sign of intelligence, but rather
that of common sense. Humor is the best pain pill.