Racism in the LGBT community

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Racism is a noted concern in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.[1][2][3][4] This can be against members of any race, ethnicity or nationality and may include discrimination and bigotry.[5][6][7][8]

In the United States, ethnic minority LGBT individuals may find themselves in a double minority, where they are neither fully accepted or understood by mainly white LGBT communities, nor are they accepted by their own ethnic group.[9][10] Many people experience racism in the dominant LGBT community where racial stereotypes merge with gender stereotypes, such that Asian-American LGBTs are viewed as more passive and feminine, while African-American LGBTs are viewed as more masculine and aggressive. There are a number of culturally specific support networks for LGBT individuals active in the United States. For example, "Ô-Môi" for Vietnamese American queer females.[10]


The short-lived National Socialist League of the United States limited its membership to white gay males. The now-defunct Order of the Jarls of Baelder encouraged white gay males to join for the promotion of the Nazi ideal of male bonding. The documentary Men Heroes and Gay Nazis addressed the phenomenon of gay neo-Nazis in Germany. Michael Kühnen and Nicky Crane were notorious gay neo-Nazis.

According to the Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures, lesbian feminist organizations don't discuss antisemitism when discussing the fighting of oppression because they believe it doesn't exist anymore or is not as important as racism or homophobia. Some lesbian feminists have accused Jews of being "killers of the Goddess" because they believe that the God of Israel is male or androgynous. Jews are also often blamed for the patriarchy. Many sexual roleplays done by gays and lesbians play out Nazi/Jew fetishes in a sado-masochistic fashion and Jewish lesbians are often invisible in the Lesbian community. Some lesbians wear swastikas both during and outside their sex life trying to transform the symbol or ignore the impact it has on the Jewish community.[11]

Similar to the "No blacks or Asians" comments made on dating sites "No Jews!" isn't unheard of either.[12]

Nikolay Alexeyev, a prominent LGBT rights activist in Russia, has made extremely anti-Semitic statements on his Facebook and Twitter account. He has called Out Magazine a "Jewish slut magazine" and called Micheal Lucas, a Jewish LGBT activist and adult performer a "Jewish pig, Israeli monkey" as well as using kike and yid repeatedly in several of his posts. He even claims Jewish vodka is made from sperm. He even accused Micheal Lucas of attempting to kill his mother and was threatening to hire someone to kill him. He also stated "the Jewish mafia is trying to overtake the world and now LGBT fight in Russia" and "America is ruled by Jewish mafia" When confronted with the accusation he used the "I have many Jewish friends" argument.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Anti-Arab racism[edit]

A report titled We're Family Too studied what it calls same-sex attracted men and women from Arab backgroups in Australia. The respondents were from both Christian and Muslim religious backgrounds. Many in the Arab community spoke about ethnic stereotypes.[21][22]

Some Mizrahi Jews and Arab Jews report exclusion and discrimination by the Ashkenazi LGBT community in Israel. Some LGBT Mizrahi Jews have alleged that aspects of Ashkenazi LGBT activism express "Ashkenazi hegemony" and leave "no legitimized cultural space for Mizrahi queers to express their Arab culture and heritage."[23]

Anti-black racism[edit]

Many LGBT Black people report experiencing racism from the white LGBT community, leading some to repudiate labels such as "gay" and repudiate connection to white LGBT culture. The term same gender loving was coined by the activist Cleo Manago to describe people of African descent who are attracted to the same sex, as opposed to terms such as "gay/lesbian", "bisexual", or "queer". This term was meant to actively express pride in one's racial heritage.[24]

Some black gay men report discrimination and harassment from white gay men in gay bars and clubs.[25] In the past, there were gay bars that would put up anti-Black signs that said things such as, "No Blacks, Fems, or Faggots."[26]

Some gay black South African men have reported experiencing "grotesque racism" from white gay men during the time of Apartheid.[27]

Chuck Knipp, a white gay male drag performer who is known for his blackface act "Shirley Q. Liquor", has been accused of racism. Responding to Knipp's declaration that the Liquor character "was created in celebration of, not to downgrade, black women,"[28] Jasmyne Cannick countered in her blog: "...it is not possible for Charles Knipp, a white man, to help heal years of mistreatment and racism at the hands of his people by putting on a wig, speaking Ebonics, and in blackface...There is nothing remotely uplifting about Knipp's act and I wish people would stop defending his character with the tired argument that he's trying to heal the nation. The only thing Knipp is trying to heal is the hole in his pocket by filling it with all of the money he makes off of degrading Black people."[29]

Sexual stereotyping[edit]

Some authors have written that much of the racism against LGBT black people is rooted in sexual racism and the linking of sex role stereotypes and racial stereotypes.[26] Black men who express a sexual preference for white men have been alleged to be suffering from "an insidious legacy of white racism" that causes internalized racism in black men.[30] Some Afrocentric gay men are opposed to interracial relationships, believing that gay black men who prefer white men lack strong roots in the Black community or are oblivious to racism. The anti-interracial Afrocentrists believe that instead of "hating their blackness", gay black men should only date other gay black men.[31] A slogan that promotes black-on-black gay relationships is "Black men loving black men", which was popularized by Joseph F. Beam's anthology In the Life and the Marlon Riggs video Tongues Untied.[32]

Anti-Hispanic and anti-Latino racism[edit]

Gay Hispanic and Latino men report experiencing racism both within and outside the gay community. Latino gay men with darker skin color and indigenous features reported the greatest level of discrimination, including from the white gay community.[33] Latina lesbians also report experiencing racism from the white LGBT community. Latin@ gays and lesbians have been engaged in autonomous organizing since the 1970s addressing issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. The first Latina lesbian organization was founded in Los Angeles in the early 1980s and the National Latino/a Lesbian & Gay Organization (LLEGÓ) was founded in 1987, with Latino/a LGBT people choosing to organize separately due to both racism in the LGBT community and homophobia in the straight Latino community.[34]

In 2006, Latino Americans staged a protest in The Castro, San Francisco, against anti-Latino racism in the LGBT community.[35]

The organization La Casa in East Los Angeles, California, exists to serve the LGBT Latino community and create a safe-space free from homophobia and racism. Members have expressed their experiences with "blatant racism" from the white LGBT community, particularly in West Hollywood.[36]

Anti-Turkish racism[edit]

LGBT people of Turkish descent in Germany often report experiencing "triple discrimination": racism and Islamophobia from the non-Turkish German community and homophobia from the straight Turkish and German communities. However, while Turkish-Germans "still face racism in the (gay) scene", the level of racism has declined in the past 20 years. Murat Bahs¸i, a former board member of the organization GLADT (Gays and Lesbians of Turkish Backgrounds), has stated that racism and racial stereotypes from ethnic German men often contributed to the disintegration of inter-ethnic relationships between Turkish and German men.[37]

Anti-indigenous racism[edit]

Aboriginal Canadians[edit]

Lesbian aboriginal women report feeling marginalized from both mainstream and LGBT cultures, as well as from aboriginal communities and other communities of color.[38]

Gay aboriginal men, many of whom also identify as two-spirited, often face both homophobia within aboriginal communities and racism within the LGBT community.[39]

Indigenous Australians[edit]

Gay Aboriginal men in Australia have reported lack of inclusion and representation in the white-dominated LGBT community. When aboriginal men have been included in LGBT organizing efforts, it has often been in a tokenizing way.[40]

Māori people in New Zealand[edit]

Takatāpui identity is a way for many LGBT Māori people to express their dual identity as both Māori and non-heterosexual. While the term fell into disuse for many years, it has recently been reclaimed as an expression of pride. Some Māori people have questioned the focus on same-sex marriage in the Pākehā LGBT community. In traditional Māori culture it was not uncommon for either straight or gay couples to be unmarried. The LGBT Māori people who critique the overemphasis on same-sex marriage believe that focusing too narrowly on marital rights is harmful and reduces diversity in the LGBT community. They believe that the focus on marriage is a product of "whiteness".[41]

Native Americans[edit]

Native American lesbians frequently report racism from white lesbians.[citation needed] Some Native American lesbians report feeling disenchanted with white people, including white lesbians, and have established separatist communities exclusively for Native American women or for women of color. Native American lesbians have established communes in the American Midwest and Northern California, in an attempt to repudiate white culture, live self-sufficiently, and return to the traditions of their tribal ancestors.[42]

Anti-Asian racism[edit]

In a study done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on LGBT Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans, 82% of the surveyed participants reporting experiencing racism from white members of the LGBT community.[43]

British Asian gay men living in Yorkshire and elsewhere in Northern England have reported increasing levels of racism and racial abuse from white gay men. More multicultural areas, with higher immigration, such as Manchester and London, were found to be much more tolerant by the Naz Project.[1]

Sexual racism[edit]

Asian men are often represented in media, both mainstream and LGBT, as being feminized and desexualized. LGBT Asian men often report "sexual racism" from white LGBT men. The gay Asian-Canadian author Richard Fung has written that while black men are portrayed as hypersexualized, gay Asian men are portrayed as being the undersexed opposite.[44] Fung has also written about feminizing depictions of Asian men in gay pornography, which often focuses on gay Asian men's submission to the pleasure of white men, and how gay Asian men tend to ignore or display displeasure with races such as Arabs, blacks, and even other Asians, but seemingly give sexual acceptance and approval to gay white men. Ironically, white gay men more than other racial groups are the ones that frequently state "No Asians" when seeking partners. When itcomes to interracial gay male pornography, Asian men are usually portrayed as submissive "bottoms."[45]

Gay Asian men frequently experience racism on gay dating websites, where it is common for profiles to state a sexual preference for men of certain races, such as by writing, "No Asians!"[46] or "No fats, no femmes, no Asians."[47] Some Asian gay men report being "relegated to the bottom of the attractiveness spectrum" due to "racial lookism", a combination of racism and lookism.[48]

Anti-Italian racism[edit]

Some LGBT Italian Americans report experiencing anti-Italian discrimination from within the LGBT community.[49] Italian American gay men, particularly darker-skinned men such as Italian Americans of Sicilian descent, report experiencing sexual objectification from lighter-skinned white men. Similar to the way Black, Asian, and Latino men are sometimes portrayed, Italian men are likewise portrayed at times as "the object of desire of the white man"[50] as well as being "exotic and well-endowed, oversexed and extremely passionate."[50] These sexual stereotypes of Italian and Sicilian gay men also appear frequently in gay pornography, but are not exclusive to the gay community.[50]


Anti-Romani racism has been reported within the non-Romani LGBT community in Romania. When the musician, Madonna, condemned homophobia and antiziganism during her 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour, many LGBT Romanians responded on websites and blogs by lambasting Madonna for linking the plight of LGBT people with the plight of the Romani people. Numerous LGBT commenters and bloggers referred to LGBT people as "decent civilised people", while deriding Romani people as thieves and criminals who are incompatible with "civilised society."[51]


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