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  • Josiah Thomason

"Queerness is Not a White Thing"

Expanding on Max Aravis Tang.


In the past decade, it seems as though the LGBTQ+ community has unconsciously adopted a new mascot the — white, cisgender male. The more time that passes, the more we only see and hear from white members of this community and have come to deem white queerness as the model for LGBTQ+. While current-age queerness takes on this image, it is important to know and understand the history behind the silencing of QT+BIPOC (Queer/Trans+ Black Indigenous People of Color) through colonialism, religion, queerphobia and why the white mascot has come to be so prevalent now.

QT+BIPOC fight battles on numerous fronts that our white counterparts don’t commonly have to face, including racial fetishizing, racism and xenophobia alongside trauma that comes with being queer (i.e. violence, religious, social and political rejection, and shame). Living in America, many may be unaware that different cultures around the world do not view queerness as a natural thing, but rather a trick by an evil entity or a Western invention — Western being identified as ‘white and foreign.’ Yet as Max Aravis Tang - a bisexual Chinese-American social activist and blogger - describes, queerphobia is the Western import, not queerness. And due to this perspective, being queer at all is now punishable by death in numerous cultures.

European colonialism brought along Christian ideas that believed if something wasn’t cisgender and heterosexual then it was wrong. Tang gives examples from when Western influence did not have the hold it does today. Chinese emperors had same sex relationships, Indian spiritual practices and writings, such as the Sutras, promoted a third gender not confined to male or female. After completing study on ancient Hindu traditions and writings, one will find that the god Krishna holds a divine form of infinite beings, none of which are confined to gender or even species or genotype. Colonialism reconstructed cultures and societies in ways people are sometimes unable to comprehend.

‘Queerness=Whiteness’ has other implications caused by European colonialism that are more apparent in today’s LGBTQ+ community in regards to the “white, gay mascot.” When one thinks of the LGBTQ+ community, people such as actor Antoni Porowski, and Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy come to mind, which is a problem in itself. Erasure - the tendency to ignore or conceal an element of society - is an everygrowing issue outside and within the queer community as QT+BIPOC are excluded from the image despite the Queer Liberation Movement of the 20th century being headed by BIPOC trans women. The life of a QT+BIPOC, especially women, are ignored and more frequently called mythic. They are consistently targeted for hate crimes and fetishizations more than men, which stems from the colonial idea that women are meant to shrink themselves for a man.

As a gay, Black, Cherokee and Italian Judeo-Christian, I have noticed from the Black American community that queerness is not accepted as widely as it is in the white community. Blacks in America were widely converted to Christianity in times of slavery and are still to this day; this being the same Christianity that condemned queerness in colonial India, Africa, the Americas and all over the world. Colonialism has caused queerness, if it is ‘permitted,” to be something that has a white identity that stems from a racial superiority complex. Queer and trans BIPOC are unable to feel the same sense of acceptance due to colonial social constructs that still exist and thrive in the present. In order to understand people and community today, one must understand the history behind it if change is ever to come.

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