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July 16th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

Gay is not the new black

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/29/obama.gays/art.obama.gay.gi.jpg caption="President Obama signed same-sex benefits legislation earlier this month."]

LZ Granderson
Special to CNN

Far from flowing rainbow flags, the sound of Lady Gaga and, quite honestly, white people, stands a nightclub just outside of Wicker Park in Chicago, Illinois, by the name of The Prop House.

The line to get in usually stretches down the block, and unlike many of the clubs in Boystown and Andersonville, this one plays hip-hop and caters to men who may or may not openly identify as gay, but without question are black and proud.

And a good number of them are tired of hearing how the gay community is disappointed in President Obama, because they are not.

Keep reading...

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    I'm not sure if I will vote for anyone, since we don't have equal rights, how dare our Government preach "Liberty, Freedom, & Justice for all" how dare them send my brother (U.S.M.C.) to fight for our "Rights, our Freedom," & so on. How can I believe in God?, if you say that your God Hates? How can I have sympathy for Blacks & Latinos & other minority's if they vote against "equal rights!" This is 2009, the world is about to end & we are pleading for rights?
    check out "The Catch" here in L.A. cool club.

    July 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Daniel Lock

    I think it's irrational to placate the gay rights movement because their fight doesn't measure up to the 400 years of slavery and discrimination of black people. The rationale behind the gay rights movement is at the very essence derived from the civil rights movement, without one we would not have the other. The bravado associated with "too little, too late" is an association with repeating past mistakes. Why should we wait 400 years for progress? The plight of African Americans should be used as a barometer for all forms of discrimination, not just an independent movement unique to one people at one time. Equality is a fundamental right and impatience is not petulance. Impatience comes from the frustration of repeat mistakes and irrational logic that continues to plague or society. Gay is Gay, Black is Black, and Equality is for all.

    July 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Cambrian

    No, it's worse to be gay. At least blacks can serve openly in the armed forces, and blacks can get married to each other(unless they're gay). And it seems to be okay to say anything you want about gays, but if you were to say the same things about blacks people would be all up in arms. It would help the civil rights cause if people like Jesse Jackson would fight for equal rights for ALL Americans, not just black Americans. That's what I believe in, equal rights for ALL Americans.

    July 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  4. Sharon,Daniel Island, South Carolina

    Hear, Hear ,

    July 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Teresa, OH

    Am I, the reader, supposed to feel sorry more for someone being gay or black? This article kind of confused me ( it dont take much).

    Of course, gay couples should have equal rights... who shouldnt? But, really, I dont need to know who you love or sleep with. You know who I think is in the closet about making sure these "rights" DONT get given too soon? Yes, I believe it's the gay folks. Why? The same reason as the straight folks. And to expect Prez Obama to fix everything that is wrong with society's view on homosexuality? oh, my.

    I would like to thank LZ for clearing something up for me that I have wondered re this statement: "Not to split hairs, but for most blacks, the n-word trumps the f-word" Everyone knows how I try to be so PC.

    July 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  6. Dee F

    I found the article very enlightening but also not surprising.
    Race will always be the major issue trumping sexual preference or anything else.

    As a black person presently living in America, but not having been raised here, it amazes me each day how color conscious most persons are.

    I don't know when or if this will ever change but I have hope!

    July 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  7. Lianna

    This piece entirely misses the point. Martin Luther King said, "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This is not about putting each group's sufferings on a weigh scale to see who has the right to complain more. We need to recognize that its the same seed of hate that causes someone to drag a black man behind a truck and for another to tie a gay man to a fence and beat him to his death. When will all disenfranchised folks realize that we have more in common than we do not? It's a shame. Bayard Rust was one of the primary organizers of the civil rights march – a black, gay man. We are all human beings and if anyones rights are infringed then we all suffer. Come on, people. This author needs to be refocused.

    July 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  8. Dr Donna K Buechler

    The author of this piece surely does not think that gays have only been discrinated against only 40 years. Stonewall represents when we said enough–like Rosa Parks. Discrimination is discrimnation & it is wrong. Arguing over who has been discrimnated against the longest or had the worst treatment does no good purpose for anyone. Gay is the new Black in the sense that we are now publicly fighing for our legal rights as citizens of the USA–a country that is suppose to rule by laws & not religion. Black discrimnation is worse because most Blacks can't hide that while many gays lived in the closet for hundreds of years. There were also more Black killings because there are probably more Blacks than their are Gays. Being murdered for being Black or being gay is still being murdered due to discrimnation. I'm not surprised that Black gays are happy with Obama–afterall, they are Black first & gay second. White gays don't have that bias therefore we are not uncomfortable saying Obama has not done enough. I think Hillary would have moved more quickly to get something substantial accomplished for gays. She certainly has within the State Department.

    July 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Michael Conan Doyle

    As a 59 yr old Gay man & life long member of the Democratic Party whose name is on the "Wall of Tolerance" at the National Campaign for Tolerance Headquarters with induction papers signed by Rosa Parks I am forced to reply to LZ Granderson's opinions.
    I am not only very disappointed in our new President's lack of any movement on all of his (wink, wink – nod, nod) campaign promises made to the Gay Community when he avidly sought our 7 million votes & $60 mllion but I am extremely disappointed in the Black Community as a whole!
    As a teen in the 60's I, with thousands of Black & White Americans, marched in the streets to insist that men & women of any color combinations could legally marry the person they loved. 40 odd yrs later over 60% of the Black voters in California followed the Rev. Rck Warren's lead to repeal those same rights for the Gay Community. Who does our new President for CHANGE ask to open his Inauguration? The Rev. Rick Warren!
    LZ, if you have President Change's ear you might want to tell him the chances he gets 10% of the cash or votes for reelection in 2012 as he did in 2008 from the Gay Community are SLIM to none!
    If he does manage to get reelected & acts fast enough he could get the Minister he really wants at that Inauguation – Rev. Fred Phelps, provided the good Minister doesn't have a Funeral that day!

    Michael Conan Doyle, Akron, Ohio

    July 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  10. CAB

    Gays – of whatever color are critical of Obama because they were foolish enough to believe a politician's promises when running for office. As a woman, who happens to be a lesbian I knew that Obama, like any other politican, would say whatever he needed to in order to get elected. He needed the gay vote back then. Not so much right now. I also laugh at the President's unwillingness to remove Don't Ask Don't Tell. As the Commander and Chief all he would need to do is say, we're doing away with it. Period.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  11. Latishia LaVerne, Califonria

    Miss Anna, Talk to the hand you do NOT reflect young black women.
    Ok, when gay men are insulted being trashed as feminine, its not about being a woman but that slurs to being feminine is considered as being weak. So girlfriend, nobody is talking about female or about feminine.
    The black community was the reason that Prop 8 passed in CA. Its ironic that being gay is not accepted by the black church going crowd, which has the biggest number of children born outside wedlock, where men treat women like cheap trash.
    So Miss Anna give us all a break as being gay is not about sex its about men and women wanting equal rights not second class citizens.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  12. Deneshia, in Helena, AR

    Why is there acceptable gay and abortion rights? This should all be illegal. What's going on in this world? People look around, this shouldn't be acceptable. I know there are numerous of problems in this world, but because of this, we can't even keep up or take the issues one step at a time. Some of us are accepting it, saying its ok as long as it isn't me, or they have nothing to do with me. Everything has something to do with everyone, the more we sit back and watch these things happen then altogether this country will fail and we all will fall together.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  13. Fay - California

    I am still hopeful that President Obama will eventually make good on his campaign promises regarding gay rights but the pace has been frustratingly slow – if there is something he can do NOW to start the ball rolling, he should get on it, no excuses. In addition to that, racism by some in the gay community and the homophobia that plagues some in the black community need to be addressed before more progress can be made – the bottom line is that discrimination in any form is unacceptable.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  14. Sabrina in Las Vegas

    I have friends who are gay ( my manager) and others who are bi-sexual.

    It is there deal who they want to love.

    Be fine with yourself and don't cheat on your mate.

    I think society worry too much as if their sexual orientation will rub off onto them. Be strong enough to just be yourselves and and it doesn't matter.

    If they aren't harming anyone, who cares.

    Just state it so we know how you swing.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  15. Presley

    @Anna:"So gay people give us a break, sexuality like religion should belong and stay private"
    Sexuality should stay private? Like religion?
    Um, Religion is a choice, being gay is not.
    While I agree this is not a comparable or parallel issue to being black, telling people to hide behind closed minds and doors is not very positive nor does it solve anything.
    I don't like seeing straight people abuse, profit and make a mockery of marriage, but it's legal, right?
    (Just look at the Celebrity Wheel of Fortune 500 marriages)

    If the only arguments against Gay rights, i.e. the same rights they had before outing themselves, are those tired arguments that always wind up becoming about "faith based" POV's, that right there should explain who really needs to be outed, Double Standard loving chauvinistic whiners who only exploit "faith" to forward selfish and oppressive ideals.
    The President will treat this as he should, with care and delicacy and a mindfulness toward the opposition as well, he has to, it's part of the job unfortunately.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  16. HypnotiqOne

    Ummm...I think LZ should have spoken to black gay activists in addition to men in the line at The Prop House for a more balanced opinion piece. There are Black gays who are very critical of Obama's LGBT stance. Seriously.

    July 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Isabel • Brazil •

    I'm a fan of President Obama, but really on controversial issues such as: equal rights for homosexuals and abortion, in campaign he promises, but until now he's disappointed.

    All of you might ask why my interest if I am Brazilian and live in Brazil. But America, undoubtedly, sells conduct to world. Earlier this month was presented a project in Supreme Court (Brazil) for the recognition of the union between persons of the same sex as the family, and me as a sympathizer, I say that this will be an important victory.

    The fight for equal rights is long. I hope that the President is not silent in this case.

    July 16, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  18. Yadi

    I am a wise latina..and I'm gay. I am proud of our President. But, enough talking about gay rights...let's see them.

    July 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  19. JGB

    Gays are trying to be considered a minority.......just plain nuts. What does sexual preference have to do with anything? That's a private matter. Are we going to have to start hiring a certain number of gays? Maybe Obama should have appointed a Gay, Latina Woman! I don't want or need to know anyones sexual preference!

    July 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  20. Anna

    It was high time someone said so.
    I heard Anderson Cooper on several occasions comparing racial slurs to anti-gay insults.
    First of all if gay men feel insulted because they are said to be feminine or some other things there is something wrong, I am a woman and I do not think there is anything wrong with being feminine or else.
    To my knowledge, nobody forces anyone to reveal that they are gay but as a black woman to this day I am still figuring out how to hide the color of my skin or the fact that I am a woman !!!
    So gay people give us a break, sexuality like religion should belong and stay private

    July 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm |