If Black Gay Men on TV Were All Masculine ‘Professionals,’ Would We Still Care About Diversity?

On modern-day reality-television shows, audiences often bear witness to stereotypical, one-dimensional representations of black queer men. From the iconic Miss J. Alexander on America’s Next Top Model to the frequent appearances on Real Housewives of Atlanta and even Love & Hip Hop, we have often seen narrow depictions of the black male queer experience: divas applying makeup, giving someone a blowout or teaching young women how to model.

In the op-ed “Do You Understand Me? Black Gay Men Are More Than What You See On TV” last month, writer Tim Pulliam made a scathing critique: “[T]his imagery of the gay man represents only part of the community, which ultimately misleads and provides a false, damaging perception to the general public of what it means to be Black and LGBT.”

Pulliam’s perspective is understandable, though I struggle with the word “damaging” because it implies a perceived danger or detrimental effect that I’m not seeing, and the suggestion of a detriment is dangerous in itself. Further, it places the focus on straight people’s reactions as opposed to black queer people’s lived experiences. That’s not my ministry.

Read the full article on The Root.

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