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Are black people homophobic?

SUPPORT: London protest against Uganda anti-homosexuality bill

RAP AND dancehall lyrics, criminalisation in parts of the Caribbean and Africa and an alleged ‘hyper masculine' nature of black culture are all held up as evidence of an inbuilt uneasiness about gay people.
So is homophobia an integral part of black culture or just another stereotype that needs slaying?


I know a girl who lives in a part of the world where it is illegal to love someone of the same gender.

The girl – let’s call her Gloria, because she is heroic – lives in a city that rests beside a once- beautiful lake. Gloria first professed her love for another woman in primary school. Skillfully, she navigates the winding turns of homophobia with a brave and open approach. A lot of people in Gloria’s life don’t understand her, at a rally against homosexuality, Gloria watched a politician yell out homophobic slurs.

“Lesbian life is about love,” she says, “but we live in fear.”

Although she has found a few allies with whom to spread dissent she would like to live somewhere where she isn’t so hated.

It is difficult to convince a person that their world is a lie and a ruse but Gloria has lifted the veil from the faces of her friends, watching them turn from raging zealots to allies, in the space of one long conversation in the shade – a testament to her charms and the powers of healthy debate.

To be kicked out of your home with the knowledge that your identity is illegal is hard to survive. Working against conformity, towards a more tolerant world where black people are not homophobic, Gloria fires off her missives of persuasion straight into the hearts of her enemies.

I love her.



Firstly, saying that black people are homophobic is a racist statement that erases the diverse identities and histories of black LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) people.

From Tanzania to UK Black Pride to the various other ‘prides’ celebrated in parts of Africa and the diaspora; from James Baldwin to Angela Davis, from Diana King to Nicola Adams; from Binyavanga Wainaina to the countless number of young black LGBT people who have ended up on the streets, in prisons and in coffins because of their sexualities, black gays have always existed.

We existed before the British brought us their bibles and before Islam brought us Mohammed. Homosexuality is as much a part of black history and culture as are seasoning food, storytelling, braiding hair, multilingualism and art. Secondly, the recent homophobic legislations of Uganda and Nigeria are not influenced by any traditional African values, religions or ideologies. Instead, they stem from colonial brainwashing and indoctrination brought by Western imperialism and modern religion. These governments proclaim that homosexuality is Western, ‘evil’, and ‘unnatural’ yet they continue to consult evangelical churches and multinational companies on how their countries should be run. Lastly, the general silence and erasure of black LGBT people within the media and popular culture fuels this stereotype of black people as homophobic.

Mainstream hip-hop and dancehall are known to produce homophobic content and although the artists are black, the music industry is still largely owned and controlled by white men. Until we tell our own stories this harmful and ignorant stereotyping will continue to exist.


Our community speaks with many voices. Each week we bring you opposing views on a topical issue affecting black people. The arguments are crafted by the talented pool of writers from Media Diversified (, which aims to encourage greater diversity in the British media. What do you think? Join the debate.

Compiled by Maurice Mcleod

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