How Whiteness and Queerantagonism Go Hand in Hand and Why the Colonized Follow Suit
One of the benefits of Whiteness is that when a white person commits a crime, it is considered an individual action or failing that does not connect to or implicate the larger white community, white culture, or Whiteness itself.
White individuals who commit heinous crimes are not racially pathologized like they would be if they were black or brown. So in a case like this one, where queerantagonistic serial killer Bruce McArthur murdered and dismembered at least six queer men, most of whom were people of color, the murderer’s actions will not link queerantagonism to Whiteness (The New York Times, for example, did not even include a photo of the murderer with its story, but used photos of the crime scene, victims, or witnesses instead), whereas Blackness is linked to queerantagonism whenever black individuals commit queerantagonistic crimes.
This, despite the fact that almost everywhere on Earth where there are anti-queer laws or sentiments, they were introduced through the violence of European settler colonialism, usually with Christian propaganda (one of an oppressors greatest tools) and superficial and erroneous pseudo-scientific anti-analyses as the Trojan horses used to breach the barriers.
Religion is but one of many channels through which anti-queer sentiment and murder is spread, perpetrated, and institutionalized. But the real culprit is White Supremacist Capitalist Able-Bodied Cisheteropatriarchy (WSCAC, or kyriarchy). The powers-that-be believe that the society we live in functions at peak capacity when women and men are forced/coerced/persuaded/bribed into participating in it in very specific ways. In order to continue its mass exploitation of humanity, the animal kingdom, resources, and the environment, WSCAC requires that men, women, and non-binary peoples enter into couplings that most readily benefit it.
Queer people throw (or, at least, threw) a monkey wrench into that optimal setting because it was once believed that, outside of being raped by cisgender heterosexuals, queer people would not be able to procreate and, therefore, would not be able to contribute our share of workers and soldiers to the empire. That view, however, has changed.
Now, WSCACs see that, through modern science and other social arrangements, some of us can, if we want to, function as by-proxy heterosexuals, even in regard to reproduction. This is why military service and marriage are the benchmarks used to measure the fitness of queer people’s assimilation into society (as they were the benchmarks used to measure black and brown people’s assimilation into society). The State has to be convinced that you are willing to:
- kill designated others in its quest to dominate the world;
- die in service to its quest to dominate the world;
- form familial units that are similar to cishet paradigms and optimal for the reproduction of laborers and soldiers for the class and military industrial complexes, and alleviate economic burdens from the State, which is why marriages are encouraged and rewarded: Children are most likely to have verifiable persons legally required to take care of them in that scenario and they are less likely to become wards of (read: financial problems for) the State;
- adhere to an Abrahamic-based binary system of reality that has no room for nuance, the in-between, the liminal, the unimagined, or the limitless and grand, mysterious and unknowable spectacle that is nature itself, but rather reduces nature to easily digestible and woefully simplistic components that are infinitesimal fractions of its true complicated splendor.
This is the true reason for “queer progress” in the West. It is not because the power brokers experienced some sudden shift in morality where queer folk are now acceptable for who we are, what we are, as we are, but because the power brokers are now aware that we can, in fact, assist in building the empire, perpetuating the status quo, acting as agents of national and international oppression, and functioning as a remixed version of WSCACs. And more than can, we want to.
It was never about WSCACs accepting us and always about us being tolerated on the condition that we become more like them. I believe the same process of assimilation was/is attempted with people of color. It was never about us being accepted as black, for example; it was about us becoming as white as we possibly could. James Baldwin peeped the bullshit from the jump, which is why he said:
“…when white people — ‘white people’ — talk about progress in relationship to black people, all they are saying — and all they could possibly mean by the word ‘progress’ — is how quickly and how thoroughly I become white. I don’t want to become white. I want to grow up. And so should you.”
Yes, it is terrible, unthinkable what is happening in some Caribbean and African nations in regard to queerantagonism, which are simply the legacies of colonialism, but what it is equally terrible, and what Western media and the power brokers will fail to present as such, is that queerantagonism rules supreme in places like the Ukraine, Russia, and some regions of the United States. The anti-queerness in white spaces is just as dangerous, just as visceral, just as violent, just as soul-crushing, just as deadly. Non-black people are just as anti-queer as any black people. There is enough of that particular pathology to pass around.
If it looks like black people are more anti-queer, it is because, in addition to the hyper-focus media places on such transgressions, most anti-queer black people are trying to out-Abrahamic-religion/out-moralize/out-sanctify the power brokers that indoctrinated them into those corrupted philosophies to begin with.
This is why oppressed peoples parrot white supremacist dogma about how queerness is “unnatural” or “Un-African”; that since homosexual relationships cannot produce offspring, it is against nature; that it is natural, for example, for black men to be “homophobic” because black men were raped by white men during slavery. There is the sense that queerness, especially between men, is deemed inherently “feminine,” which is another way of saying inherently “weak.” Some cisgender heterosexual men who feel oppressed by other cisgender heterosexual men therefore reject queerness because they believe it makes them vulnerable to a vicious domination by those who mean them harm. These ideas are then spread throughout the entire society and are adopted even by those who are, themselves, oppressed by the ideas. Because in a hierarchical society, no one wants to be on the bottom (pun intended) and one group will always find another to stand on in order to feel elevated — even if they have to invent one.
These negative ideas about femininity and weakness are wholly patriarchal in nature and are based in femmeantagonism, misogyny, and ableism. In an empire whose dominance relies on superior strength (or, at the very least, the appearance of superior strength), weakness — which is, plainly, the human condition — is an anathema, and those who the empire believes embodies it are subject to expulsion, oppression, or destruction.
Assuming that women, queer people, disabled people, and any intersection thereof, are inherently weak, which is not true, still: There is nothing wrong with being weak. What is wrong is exploiting or attacking someone for being weak. This means that the fault, as well as the moral bankruptcy, lies with the so-called strong.
It is an undeniable fact of existence that queerness has been around since humans have been around. It exists throughout all of nature, in a multitude of species. Were it actually “unnatural” it would not and could not exist. Linking “natural-ness” to one’s ability or potential to reproduce is unscientific, as the existence of queerness does not erase the existence of straightness. Every human being does not have to reproduce in order for humankind to continue existing. The proof is that there are seven billion people on the planet, the greatest number of humans that there has ever been. As previously explained, some queer people do reproduce (and some cishet people do not or cannot).
If it is natural for black men to be “homophobic” because they were raped by white men during slavery, then why don’t black men also have an aversion to white women, who also raped black men during slavery? Why don’t black men reject sex altogether, since they were forced to have sex with other enslaved people, which is also rape? Why aren’t all black women lesbians because they were raped by white men and forced to have sex with black men — which, again, is also rape — during slavery?
What is generally “Un-African” is queerantagonism. Prior to colonialism and the spread of Abrahamic religions, many African societies throughout the continent had various inclusive positions, places, and spaces for queer love, desire, and sex. Some argue that many African societies had no word for “homosexual” in their language. However, activist, playwright, radio host, and political commentator Esther Armah explains in I AM A MAN: Black Manhood and Sexual Diversity, that her Ghanaian ancestors said that there were no words for “homosexual,” “gay,” or “queer” in their languages because it was not seen as necessary to categorize or segregate the different types love, desire, or sex. If a man loved a man, if a woman loved a woman, if a woman loved a man, if a man loved a woman, it was just plain love. Period.
As Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe noted in their work, Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities:
“Today, especially where Western influences (notably Christianity and Marxism) have been strong, the belief that homosexuality is a decadent, bourgeois, Western import has become common…[s]ensitized by missionaries and Western education, defensive in the face of stereotypes of black hypersexuality, and resentful of sexual exploitation in colonial institutions, the first generation of post-colonial Africans was extremely reluctant to discuss the subject of homosexuality…In the African diaspora, as well, the subject of homosexuality has evoked denials and just-so stories attributing it to alien sources…What began with denial has ended in a near taboo on the subject of African homosexualities — a taboo nonetheless based on European, not African, morality. The colonists did not introduce homosexuality to Africa but rather intolerance of it — and systems of surveillance and regulation for suppressing it.”
It’s simply a case of the student trying to impress/outdo the teacher (examine, for example, how American evangelicals are financing the anti-queer movement in Uganda; what’s old is new again). Queeranagonists who are also victims of colonial brainwashing and oppression, like their colonial oppressors, will argue vehemently against this reality. Like their misogyny, their anti-queerness is legendary; their misapprehension of verifiable history profound. They want the mythical, all-heterosexual, all-cisgender Africa of their fantasies, not the one that actually exists/existed, and they will fight to the death to preserve it. They will say it is you, not them, who is turned out by white supremacy. Ignore them. Pity them. But do not believe them. For they are wrong.
Thus, it is important to reframe discussions to place queerantagonism back into the embrace of those responsible for its creation and dissemination. It is necessary to implicate Whiteness as a pathological artifact and name the ways in which it wreaks chaos, havoc, and destruction. It is no longer acceptable to allow Whiteness to remain invisible, default, or unspoken in its crimes. The source must be made known in the hopes that it will trigger an awakening in those rapt in its arms.
Behold what happens in the wake of Whiteness’ presumed innocence and how there is profound silence around calling it what it is.
From The Guardian:
“Police in Canada’s largest city have said they will re-examine hundreds of missing persons cases after recovering the remains of at least six people from a property connected to alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.
The remains were found in large flower planters at a residential property in Toronto where McArthur, 66, worked and stored his landscaping equipment. As the investigation widens, detectives have already visited at least 30 other properties in the city where McArthur was known to have worked.
‘It is getting bigger and we are getting more resources as we go along, so it is going to be a very, very extensive investigation,’ said DS Hank Idsinga.
Toronto is reeling from allegations that Bruce McArthur systematically targeted men in the city’s gay community. For years, members of the community urged police to look more closely at a string of disappearances — fearing there was a connection between the missing men.
Using ground-penetrating radar, police have also discovered areas of interest on the property and are hoping to excavate a section of the backyard in the coming days.
Due to an extended cold snap, police been forced to use a heater for the last week, hoping to thaw the frozen ground. Police recovered 15 flower planters from the property, but not all have been fully searched.
In addition to a physical search of a number of properties, the investigation now has an extensive digital component. Police are preparing warrants for online service providers. ‘We are dealing with some agencies overseas,’ said Idsinga.
Police admit the list of missing persons is extensive and say they will be going back a number of years to determine if there are connections between McArthur and names on this list.”
“Africa: Homophobia Is a Legacy of Colonialism”: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/africa-homophobia-legacy-colonialism
“Are anti-gay witch hunts really protecting ‘African values’?”: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/anti-gay-witch-hunts-protecting-african-values-181106105153386.html
“Black People Aren’t Inherently More Homophobic Than Anyone Else”: https://intomore.com/you/black-people-arent-inherently-more-homophobic-than-anyone-else/3441199f70304142
“Black People Are Not More Homophobic Than Everyone Else”: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/01/black-people-are-not-more-homophobic-than-everyone-else
Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/929357.Boy_Wives_and_Female_Husbands
“Capturing an Africa Struggling With a Western Import: Homophobia”: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/03/lives-of-great-men-living-and-loving-as-an-african-gay-man/
“Colonialism, Homophobia, and the Legality of Gay Sex in the Commonwealth”: http://theconversation.com/colonialism-homophobia-and-the-legality-of-gay-sex-in-the-commonwealth-20094
“EU LGBT Survey: Poll on Homophobia Sparks Concern”: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-22563843
“Film Exposes Link Between U.S. Evangelicals and Violent Anti-Gay Ugandan Movement”: https://www.rawstory.com/2013/01/film-exposes-link-between-u-s-evangelicals-and-antigay-ugandan-movement/
“From Colonialism to ‘Kill the Gays’: The Surprisingly Recent Roots of Homophobia in Africa”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/06/27/from-colonialism-to-kill-the-gays-the-surprisingly-recent-roots-of-homophobia-in-africa/?utm_term=.65bafaa41635
“Gays: Guardians of the Gates: An Interview with Malidoma Somé”: http://www.menweb.org/somegay.htm
Heterosexual Africa? The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6006245-heterosexual-africa?from_search=true
Hip-Hop Homophobes: Origin and Attitudes Towards Gays and Lesbians in Hip-Hop Culture as Perpetrated by Rappers, Thugs, Athletes, Reggae Rastas, and Religionists; Essays on the 3,000 Year Old Polemic Against Homosexuality; A Religious Hoax!: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2593675-hip-hop-homophobes
“Homosexuality Is Not Un-African”: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality-africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html
“How Homophobia Feeds Russia’s HIV Epidemic”: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/03/homophobia-feeds-russia-hiv-epidemic
I AM A MAN: Black Manhood and Sexual Diversity: https://youtu.be/ao9JjLs--kw
“If You Say Being Gay Is Not African, You Don’t Know Your History”: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/09/being-gay-african-history-homosexuality-christianity
“Imperialism and Homophobia”: http://socialistreview.org.uk/358/imperialism-and-homophobia
“Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays”: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html
“James Baldwin’s National Press Club Speech, December 10, 1986, C-SPAN”: https://youtu.be/CTjY4rZFY5c
“Killings in Toronto’s Gay Community Expose ‘an Open Wound’ with Police”: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/11/world/canada/toronto-killings-bruce-mcarthur.html
“Nature’s Homosexual Agenda”: https://www.lawrentian.com/archives/1012055
“The New Black and Other Docs Ask ‘Why Has Black Been Made the Face of Homophobia?’”: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/film/the-new-black-and-other-docs-ask-why-has-black-been-made-the-face-of-homophobia-6392802
“New Poll Shows Muslims Are Less Homophobic Than White Christians”: https://www.gq.com/story/pew-poll-homophobic-religions
“New Research Seeks to Dispel Myth of ‘African Homophobia’”: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/dispelling-myth-african-homophobia-n648186
“New Survey Debunks the Myth of Black Homophobia”: https://thinkprogress.org/new-survey-debunks-the-myth-of-black-homophobia-e5066ae38aa8/
“Scotland Once Led the Way on Gay Rights; What’s Gone Wrong?”: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/22/scotland-gay-rights-lgbt-discrimination
“The Struggle for LGBT Rights in France”: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/17/struggle-lgbt-rights-france
“Toronto murders: police examine hundreds of cases for serial killer link”: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/08/canada-police-to-examine-hundreds-of-missing-persons-cases-for-link-to-serial-killer
“Ukraine Chooses Homophobia Over Europe”: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/10/ukraine-homophobia-over-europe-eu-visa-free-travel-rada/
“The West exported homophobia, not homosexuality”: https://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/the-west-exported-homophobia-not-homosexuality-20181202
“When People Demand That We Be ‘Harder’ and ‘Stronger’”: https://theestablishment.co/hard-817214ae79f8
“White People Almost Single-Handedly Elected a Homophobic, Anti-Muslim, Accused Child Molester in Roy Moore”: http://www.newsweek.com/roy-moore-black-voters-alabama-senate-special-election-doug-jones-brittany-747520
“Why Are So Many White Nationalists ‘Virulently Anti-LGBT’?”: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/why-are-so-many-white-nationalists-virulently-anti-lgbt-n794466
Queerantagonism: The act of disapproving of, disagreeing with, or otherwise being hostile toward, for any reason, the existences, identities, and sexualities of queer people.