Rev. Irene Monroe: But, our culture’s present-day cavalier use of the n-word speaks less about our rights to free speech and more about how we as Americans — both White and Black — have become anesthetized to the damaging and destructive use of this epithet.
Rev. Irene Monroe: There has been a color change at Essence. After forty years of having sisters from the African Diaspora as its fashion directors, the new one — Ellianna Placas — is white. And the news is sending seismic shock waves to many of its subscribers here in the U.S. and across the globe.
Rev. Irene Monroe: With Pastor Donnie McClurkin, the poster boy for African American ex-gay ministries, who spews anti-gay religion-based vitriol, billed as the main event, many in the African American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities will not be in attendance at this year’s event. And neither will the mayor.
Rev. Irene Monroe: As LGBTQ Americans, our patriotism is not recognized. But one of our community’s greatest moments of patriotism was the Stonewall Riots of June 27–29, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. We celebrate their heroism every day as out-of-the-closet people who are intentionally visible in various facets of American life.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Because of the bleaching of the Stonewall Riots, the beginnings of LGBTQ movement post-Stonewall is an appropriation of a black, brown, trans, and queer liberation narrative. And it is the deliberate visible absence of these black, brown, and yellow LGBTQ people that makes it harder, if not nearly impossible, for LGBTQ communities to build trusted coalitions with white LGBTQ communities.
Rev. Irene Monroe: The posturing last week from Congress was great theater. All the thespians performed their parts well, especially Obama. Why? If DADT is not repealed it gives the President an easy out. It allows the President to distance himself politically by shifting the responsibility and blame for DADT’s outcome from himself to some one else.
We all know affirmative action is a hot-button issue. At a basic level, it’s an attempt to take race, gender, and ethnicity (to name a few factors) into consideration to promote a level playing field for all. But the sub-text in all affirmative action debates is the fallacious belief that blacks selected to benefit from it are hopelessly and helplessly genetically inferior — that their DNA is chromosomally deficient, if not defective.
Rev. Irene Monroe: We live in a society that is hypercritical of failure and super exuberant about success. As a culture, we have developed a false and damaging dichotomy about the relationship between failure and success that success has become a public affair of celebration and failure a private funeral of condemnation.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Wright has been on the country music scene since 1994, and professionally she worried about her career as an out lesbian, stating, “No one like me in country music has ever admitted his or her homosexuality.” While it is true that K.D. Lang was an out lesbian in Country Music, she eventually moved out of the genre into Pop, leaving many to speculate she did so because of her sexual orientation.
Rev. Irene Monroe: In February, when the nation’s top two Defense officials — Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — advocated for a repeal of the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” policy, universities like Brown, Columbia, and Harvard, to name a few, allowed ROTC to march its way back on campus.
Rev. Irene Monroe: As president for forty years (1957- 1997) of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an organization with the objective of advancing opportunities and the quality of life for African American women, their families, and communities with programs on issues like voting rights, poverty and, in later years, AIDS, Height understood that black families and communities could neither be whole nor healthy without championing gay civil rights for its LGBTQ community.
Rev. Irene Monroe: When you have a pope more invested in doctrinal debates than personal suffering, and more invested in exerting his ecclesiastical power in defrocking dissident theologians than his priestly flock of sex predators, then it’s easy to comprehend why the decades-long pleas and petitions from Catholic parishioners – worldwide – to Pope Benedict XVI to do something never made anything happen.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Sometime in the late hours of Saturday night the call will come in. Philbert (not his real name) — like many of his Christian LGBTQ buddies — waits anxiously for the call to tell him the time and place of the van pickup, and where it’ll drop he and his friends off to a safe and secluded place for Sunday worship.
Rev. Irene Monroe: The historical legacy of the devaluation and demonization of black motherhood was both applauded and rewarded at this year’s Oscars. And the point was clearly illustrated with Mo’Nique, capturing the gold statue for best supporting actress in the movie “Precious,” based on the novel Push by Sapphire, as a ghetto welfare mom who demeans and demoralizes her child every chance she can.
Rev. Irene Monroe: While many black pro-lifers believe that the way to maintain the institution of the black family and to overcome white supremacy is by denying women their right to choose, these same anti-abortionists ironically are also anti-gay, anti-birth control, and anti-condoms, ignoring that homophobic vitriol, STDs and HIV/AIDS will kill the black family sooner than white supremacists anti-black conspiracy theories.
Rev. Irene Monroe: While in pre-Hitler Germany all-female orchestras were de rigeur in many avant-garde entertainment clubs, these homosocial all-women’s bands created tremendous outrage during Hitler’s regime. Snow was sent to a concentration camp not only because she was black and in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also because of her “friendships” with German women musicians, implying lesbianism.
Rev. Irene Monroe: A talented pianist and blues singer, and one of the most notorious and successful entertainers during the Harlem Renaissance, Bentley cultivated a large LGBTQ following up until the 1950s. As an African-American woman whose success derived from her raunchy and salacious lyrics to popular tunes, Bentley not only openly sang about sex, but she also openly lived and celebrated her sexual orientation as an out lesbian.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Within the African- American LGBTQ community, Black History Month has always come under criticism. And rightly so! The absence of LGBTQ people of African descent in the month-long celebration is evidence of how race, gender and sexual politics of the dominant culture are reinscribed in black culture as well.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Sadly, Bayard Rustin, the gay man who was chief organizer and strategist for the 1963 March on Washington that further catapulted Martin Luther King onto the world stage, was not the beneficiary of King’s dream.
Rev. Irene Monroe: Just as my enslaved ancestors could have never imagined an African American family residing in the White House, nor could my African American LGBTQ brothers and sisters who fought in the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York’s Greenwich Village imagine that one day a special invitation from the White House would openly welcome us in.
What’s in a greeting? With Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and Christmas all going on this time of year, one would think that an all-inclusive seasonal greeting emblematic of our nation’s religious diversity would be embraced by us all with two simple words — Happy Holidays! However, the season’s greeting is the ongoing chapter in […]