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Laurence Watts Headshot

Gay Men and Women Are Not More Racist

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It was with huge dismay and much gnashing of teeth that I read Marten Weber's piece here on The Huffington Post, "Egg, Banana, and Coconut: Are Gays More Racist?" The piece does the LGBT community a great disservice.

Aside from a closing paragraph in which he concedes his assertion may be wrong (too little too late, I'm afraid), his article purports to demonstrate evidence that "the gay world is full of narrow-minded, bigoted racists." If I may, I would like to share with you my thoughts.

Mr. Weber's recurring theme for why gay men are racist is essentially that one is racist if one does not want to sleep with a man of Asian origin. Presumably the same would be true if you have no desire to sleep with a black man. The absurdity of this statement can be summarized by pointing out that Rick Santorum is not homophobic because he doesn't want to sleep with men, but because he wants gay men and women banned from the armed forces, opposes same-sex marriage, and wants them banned from adopting children. Just because someone isn't sexually attracted to someone of Asian origin does not mean they wouldn't want to work, live next to, or socialize with him or her, or that they believe they are somehow naturally superior to them. Weber is confusing bluntness on "hook-up" sites with wider social judgements based on ethnicity. Racism is a strong word, and Weber does an injustice to us all by wielding it so inaccurately.

Another piece of Weber's "evidence" for racism in the gay community is the existence of separate bars for Asians and "Asian-lovers." But bars exist for every preference in the gay community, including bears, twinks, chubs, and leather-fetishists. The specialization of such bars occurs because that is the will of their clientele and, more widely, the free market, not because of any law or statute or because any gay bar would turn away someone on the basis of their ethnic origin.

Weber seems to regard any kind of labelling as derogatory. For him terms like "rice queen" or "potato queen" have negative connotations and should not be used. He believes that porn sites labeling certain sexual material as "interracial" show "how far away we are from an equitable, accepting society." He is missing the point that all of this is about sex, nothing more and nothing less. Reversing his assertions, he presumably believes that the world will not be equitable until every 18-year-old gym bunny will willingly copulate with an obese octogenarian. There are, of course, those who already happily do so, but they do so because that's what floats their boat, not because they are somehow free of the shackles of hormonally driven sexual attraction.

A possible "motive" that Weber proffers for gays being racist is that homosexual attraction may be at least partly rooted in identifying with the subject, which is to say not only do we want to shag a would-be boyfriend, but we also want to be like him. He claims this is absent from heterosexual attraction, which would obviously explain why there are no heterosexual racists in the world. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) Weber seems oblivious to the fact that identification with the subject of one's attraction is not limited to skin colour or ethnic origin. It includes qualities such as assertiveness, intelligence, creativity, and sense of humour, to name just a few, and it is by no means unique to homosexual attraction.

Having lived in America, Europe, and Asia and frequented gay bars on all three continents, I have heard many of the comments that Weber claims are expressions of racism. They are no such thing. They are the kind of banter one typically hears in places where humans go to drink alcohol and entertain and flirt. In my experience gay men and women are no different from any other cross-section of society, and one might as well write an article about why left-handed people are more likely to be racist than right-handed people, or people with blue eyes or brown hair.

That is not to say that racists don't exist among gay men and women. I'm sure they do. Heterosexual racists exist, so I'm sure they have their gay equivalents, ignorance and stupidity not being exclusively heterosexual traits. However, I see no reason to believe that they make up a greater proportion of the gay community than they do the straight community, and Weber's piece is foolish to suggest otherwise. Gay men are no more racist for not being attracted to someone because of their skin colour or ethnicity than they are sexist for not being attracted to women.