I don’t know what Usher saw in this woman. She seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Tameka Raymond decided to take to twitter to talk about her feelings on the oft discussed “down low.”
Oh no she didn’t. The very idea of suggesting that gay men should wear markers to publicly identify them is absolutely disgusting. Has the woman never taken a history lesson in her life? There was a time when gay men were forced to wear pink triangles and that resulted in their internment in concentration camps and wholesale slaughter. As a woman of colour she should know that such public identification of marginalized bodies is absolutely wrong. How would she feel if she was forced to going back to carrying a pass signifying that she has permission to be where she was, as Blacks had to do during slavery? What about the passbooks that Blacks had to carry during apartheid?
These bracelets that she suggests are a mechanism of control and it is a reflection of her straight privilege that she could take to twitter with such a hateful suggestion. Gay men present no threat to her and that is doubly so for one who is closeted.
Tameka’s comments imply that closeted people are being deceptive and this of course is a common meme aimed at gay men. It did not even occur to her that it is the culture of heterosexism that causes gay men to lead closeted lives. Being read as gay in certain circumstances is enough to lead to things like discrimination in housing, employment and violence and even death.
Thankfully, Tameka was rightfully called out for bigotry and instead of apologizing and attempting to educate herself like a moral human being she not only went on the defensive, but a full out attack.
Right, gay men who didn’t accept her call for them to be publicly branded were being defensive. She basically pulled the standard “you’re too sensitive” routine for daring to speak out when one is being actively oppressed. This of course is a typical tactic of privileged people to avoid the consequences of their actions and to deny they bigotry that they have engaged in. I further find it disgusting to imply that gay men are guilty for living their lives, in a world that implies that their very existence is a shame and an abomination.
Tameka is currently seeking full custody of the children that she shares with Usher. I cannot help but ache for her sons. What is she teaching them and how much homophobia has she normalized for them? What will happen if one of these precious angels turns out to be gay instead of straight? Talking about homophobia to children at times is an uphill battle and if a parent is not committed to challenging the naturalizing of heterosexuality and the outright oppression of gay people, it is almost certain that it will result in yet another generation of bigotry.
I know that I am late to this, but Raymond’s tweets constitute such gross bigotry that something truly had to said about this. She tried to deflect her commentary claiming that she only meant to attack closeted gay men as if that somehow makes what she said any less homophobic. This mendacious myth about downlow men has been floating around in our community and it needs to stop. If we are going to have a conversation about the closet it should be about how it is manifestation of oppression and is actively forced on gay men, rather than the constant insistence that this something gay men do because they are naturally deceptive. Every few months some famous celebrity does another round of shaming but nothing every changes. Tameka may have just spoken her opinion, and it is my opinion, that her homophobic ass needs to shut the fuck up.