By Jai, LINX Collaborator
The Reason Why #BlackGayGuys will never be “Black Parents”…but bear with me.
I was sitting in church the other day and my Pastor was preaching. It’s no secret that I attend an openly affirming church. Every Sunday, I get to see all the couples, both gay and straight, men and women, sitting hand in hand in the sanctuary showing the same affection that my father showed my mother as I grew up.
One particular Sunday, as my pastor was preaching, a baby burst out in a tantrum. I hadn’t realized how uncommon this interruption was until it actually happened. The baby’s father and mother attempted to calm the young one but nothing worked. So after 5 minutes of the rest of the church looking in their direction, but not directly at them, as if to say “take yo bad-assed baby to the back,” they got up to sooth the baby outside the worship service.
I, attempting to ignore the subtle rift in the morning’s sermon, looked over from my back row seat to the section neighboring mine to see my #relationshipgoals embodied. Two age appropriate, seemingly gainfully employed Black men with their well-behaved, beautiful coiffed children playing on their tablets while their parents enjoyed the sermon. Now that I’ve crossed the 30-year old threshold, I feel justified when I sat thinking, “I want that”. I want children. To have my kids fall asleep in my lap on Sunday mornings. To have them ask for something to eat in the middle of service. To be ripped from my praise by a little hand tugging on my jacket to go to the bathroom. I want to be a parent, but what kind of parent would I be?
Have you ever watched Sister Act? Not the one where Whoopi Goldberg plays a headliner, absconded into witness protection to escape from her Las Vegas mob boss boyfriend. Not that film, the sequel. Sister Mary Clarence, played by Goldberg, comes back to the convent where she did her initial stint. With her comes her sassy, headlining, can’t-stand-this-penguin-suit personality to teach the school’s students music. She was requested to give the school a new lease on education, but her impact was much different.
Lauryn Hill, in her acting debut, played Rita: an uberly talented singer and musician who had deep aspirations to use her gift. But her mother disapproved. She wanted Rita to follow a path with less turmoil; a path with more guarantee. Mother wanted Rita to find some good White folks.
Recently, a young point-guard named Seventh Woods was reported to have turned down a feature on The Ellen Degeneres Show after going viral as an uberly talented child basketball legend in the making. He was touted as being the next Kobe, or Lebron—quite literally, the “next big thing”, and his mother declined the interview because she “just felt like everything was happening too fast and [he] was too young for all of that…She just wanted me to be a regular kid and work on school and basketball.”
That was the biggest crock of shit I have ever heard.
But isn’t that plight of Black parents? We stare opportunity in the face and decline it as if to say, “Opportunity, FUCK YOU. I want my child to give up his/her dreams and find themselves a good job with benefits.” Mom Oprah tells the story of her grandmother hanging clothes on the line telling a toddler Oprah Gayle to watch her so she can learn to do as grandmother did, and get some ‘good White folks’. I’ve found that somewhere along our genealogical history, Black people—not all Black people—adopted this notion that greatness was not our birthright.
Many Black parents, as in these three examples, stopped believing in the idea that opportunity, unimaginable opportunity, can be extended to us. It applied to the Jobs and Zuckerbergs, to the -ynski’s and even to the Degeneres, but opportunity rarely follows or lands among the Black kids. We allowed the “you can be anything you want to be” to be lip service.
But #BlackGayGuys are different. While I am not a parent, my observation of same-gender loving parents, especially men, is completely new. For some reason when you have to work for kids, when they’re not slip ups or condom breakages, your approach to rearing them is different. I asked my friends at church about their children all the time, and regardless of if we’re talking about their daughter’s fur wrap, or their their son’s sporting endeavors, one lesson holds true: my children are the best thing that ever happened to me. While I’m sure they do claim them, the children of gay parents can’t be limited to dependents on our tax return. This child was an application somewhere, followed up by a surrogacy, or a governmental process. This child was let down after let down, until God saw fit to bestow a life unto us. This child is a literal gift, and their life means the world to us.
So when the approach to parenting is shifted, #BlackGayGuys can not be bogged down at the idea of finding “good White folks”. The dreams for their children are glass ceiling-less. #BlackGayGuys have limitless and boundless possibilities, especially for their children.