Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll responded to accusations that she had an affair with a female aide by stating, “Usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” Responses from the LGBT community have been both strong and clever.
HuffPo’s Gay Voices has published nearly 200 images of lesbians submitted to Twitter with the hashtag #ThisIsWhatALesbianLooksLike. It’s a wonderful collection showing women from many races, ethnicities, and walks of life. Go browse and enjoy.
Over at the National Black Justice Coalition site, Kimberley McLeod, director of communications, wrote a heated post asserting, “the lesbians I’ve met personally, as friends, co-workers, lovers, partners and mentors, are some of the most radiant Black women—inside and out—I’ve been blessed to know.”
The response that has impressed me the most, however, is that of Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, whose spouse Andrea and their son appeared with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House photostream in February, and who appeared with them on the White House blog in May. Smith wrote an eloquent and well argued piece for The Grio in which she observes:
We live in a culture that continues to ignore the lives, needs and health of black lesbians by rendering us invisible. Carroll reinforces that invisibility by perpetuating the misconception that all lesbian and same-gender loving women look and act the same, virtually erasing the diverse array of Black lesbians. And if lesbians look a certain way, Lt. Gov. Carroll, tell us, what do straight black women look like? In putting a fence around what lesbians are supposed to “look like” she corrals acceptable black heterosexual womens’ appearance as well.
Smith also notes, “Jacksonville, part of Carroll’s district as a legislator is literally one of the largest concentration of black lesbian mothers in the US according to Census data.“