HRC Black History Month Series: Coming Out as Black and Queer

Source: Human Right Campaign

The following excerpt from Romeo Jackson is part of HRC's month-long Black History Month series, lifting up the voices of LGBT African Americans and allies who are making a difference in the fight for equality and social justice:

romeojackson HRC Black History Month Blog seriesThe LGBT civil rights movement was built around the power of coming out, and for this reason, we rarely examine the standard coming out narrative. Our current definition of coming out is far too narrow to accommodate the diversity that exists within the larger LGBT community. When I hear the national narrative on coming out, rarely do I hear the experiences of trans people, asexual people, or people of color represented. It seems these experiences are often over looked, and because of this, the coming out process as experienced by LGBT people of color is sometimes misrepresented and/or misunderstood.

Coming out can often look different for LGBT people of color. Sometimes the process may be understated and not draped in the rainbows and glitter we are used to seeing during Pride Month. Instead the process may focus more on “coming in” to an internal sense of self-worth that many of my peers rarely feel in a society that consistently reminds us that being queer/trans and a person of color is subpar.

Because many people of color reject the label of LGB, and prefer to go unlabeled or identify with the less commonly used term “same gender loving,” we see these coming out experiences as insufficient or “not as good.” There is a lack of awareness among the general population that...

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