Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

People like Us

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

People like Us

Article excerpt

After the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, the Gallup Poll did one of its periodic surveys of public attitudes toward gays. The results were so unexpected that Gallup did the poll again, but the findings were the same. For the first time in years, there was growing opposition to gay marriage--and even to legalizing homosexuality. The shift was most profound among African-Americans, but it extended to immigrants, poor people, and rural folks.

Of course, a poll is just a snapshot, not a permanent record. But it would be a big mistake to ignore this impression. If these groups join up with fundamentalists, they could form a potent coalition against gay rights. So wake up and smell the backlash.

Our enemies have been feverishly organizing in black and Latino churches, and they've enlisted a prominent black clergyman, Walter Fauntroy, to be the official face of their campaign against gay marriage. But who speaks for us? Not the many leaders and activists of color who are on our side. The faces making our case on CNN are nearly always white, as are the same-sex couples whose wedding notices appear in the papers. Add to this picture the flood of prime-time shows in which all the gay characters are white, and you've got a popular perception that people of color don't exist in the LGBT community. Nor does the working class.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As the old gay-lib slogan goes, "We are everywhere!" But if you judge from the media, you can easily conclude that all queers are well-off and white. In this age of saturation-point gay visibility, the sizable portion of out community that is neither seems more invisible than ever. That isn't just the media's fault. Our movement colludes in the distortion when it projects a white middle-class image.

There are many reasons for this situation. For one thing, the lion's share of funding for the LGBT movement comes from middle-class gays and lesbians. …

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