San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

We need to talk about gay racism

Noah Najib
Photo illustration created by writer.

I am tired of being a token brown boy in a white twink world.

There’s a common perception the LGBTQ+ community is all-encompassing and accepting. In most cases, this is true. 

But not always.

Even as a bisexual Afghan-American man, my experiences don’t match up with the white gay men around me. My “pretty privilege” helps, but I still struggle to be seen as anything more than a fun object to toy around with for a moment. This includes petty slights like me being ghosted — but also blatant fetishization. 

One white man, in a pathetic attempt at flirting, said he had always wanted to hook up with “a guy from the Middle East.” 

This is a small example of what racism looks like in the LGBTQ+ community. 

LGBTQ+ folks need to acknowledge how racism and objectification are closely intertwined. We must continue working to dismantle the white twink supremacy that reigns within our community. 

This starts by not using the term “white passing” synonymously to the words “attractive” or “interesting.” Not everything needs to circle back to one’s proximity to whiteness. Framing “white passing” as a compliment to people of color just shows what is considered acceptable in the gay male community. 

We also need to dismantle the normalization of white gay men putting, “no fats, no femmes, no Blacks, no Asians,” in their dating profiles. 

Apps like Grindr have supported discrimination.

The gay hookup app Grinder once allowed users to filter potential matches by ethnicity. This flagrant prejudice was featured in the app from its 2009 inception until 2020 as the Black Lives Matter movement began to spread into mainstream spaces. 

This, folks, is what we call performative activism. 

For example, during Pride month, major companies will suddenly promote LGBTQ+ culture by posting or selling queer-friendly content for one month then discontinue at the end of the month. 

Performative activism is common with major corporations — and I believe they will always prioritize the company’s own interests more than the well-being of users. 

Similarly to performative activism, we see white gay men adopt mannerisms and jargon created by people of color. Both groups move away from whiteness only when it serves their interests. 

Countless times have I heard a white guy say stuff like “periodt” and “queen, slay,” and more terms that came from the Black community. This is part of a recurring habit of them wanting to benefit from people of color without having to be directly associated with them. 

White gay men tend to defend their behaviors by comparing homophobia to racism. They argue they are just as oppressed because it is illegal to be gay in almost 70 countries, with some of those countries deeming it punishable by death. 

But they never seem to take in their status as Americans. While the FBI does not track intersectional hate crime data — meaning we can’t tell if hate crimes involve multiple factors such as race and sexuality simultaneously — we do know LGBTQ+ people of color face a higher risk of danger than their white counterparts, according to The 19th News. 

People in the gay community who talk about acceptance for themselves, but exclude others, are simply perpetuating what their heterosexual counterparts have been perpetuating for millenia. 

This is not meant to be a slight on all LGBTQ+ white people. It’s meant to bring awareness that racism exists in the community and has an explainable origin that has been witnessed time and time again.

It is our responsibility to deconstruct misconceptions that have unwittingly been forced upon us from childhood. We need to identify which beliefs are truly our own, and which have been embedded in us from societal influences. 

Everyone can play a part in deconstructing the racism in our community and aim towards a world where we are treated as the equals that we are and not as a socially acceptable token in a white world.  

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
We need to talk about gay racism