Is Black Star Homophobic?
Since there is nothing wrong with being gay, it shouldn't matter if Malcolm had same-sex relations. Why can't my critics acknowledge the evidence? To accept Malcolm's gay past does not diminish his extraordinary achievements. Only a homophobe could believe it is a slur to suggest Malcolm was gay or bisexual. The quoted Black nationalists condemn my article in The Guardian newspaper in London as an "attack" and a "smear." It is no such thing
(Re: Malcolm Gay Rumors Slammed, June, 14, By Nayaba Arinde.) I am disappointed that a liberationist newspaper like The Black Star News has been so negative in its reporting of my claims that Malcolm X had gay experiences in his teenage years and early adult life. Since there is nothing wrong with being gay, it shouldn't matter if Malcolm had same-sex relations.
Why can't my critics acknowledge the evidence? To accept Malcolm's gay past does not diminish his extraordinary achievements. Only a homophobe could believe it is a slur to suggest Malcolm was gay or bisexual. The quoted Black nationalists condemn my article in The Guardian newspaper in London as an "attack" and a "smear." It is no such thing. I admire Malcolm X, and merely seek truth and honesty about his life.
It is absurd to suggest I "fear his legacy" and seek to "discredit" his reputation. My critics claim the gay sex allegations are mere "rumors." Nonsense. The information comes from known friends of Malcolm. They were interviewed by Bruce Perry for his insightful biography, Malcolm - The Life Of A Man Who Changed Black America (Station Hill, New York, 1991). These friends knew Malcolm at different stages of his life.
They all independently confirm that he had periodic sex with men. I cannot believe they are all lying, especially since they admire and respect Malcolm. They have no reason to make up false stories. I have confidence in Bruce Perry's scholarship. He took 20 years to write his book and interviewed over 400 people.
Perry's book correctly treats Malcolm's sexuality as a minor detail. The fact that he did not headline and sensationalize the gay revelations suggests he is a cautious, careful scholar. It adds to his credibility. Perry previously edited an acclaimed book of Malcolm's speeches. He holds Malcolm in great esteem. Perry has no desire to tarnish Malcolm â€“ and neither do I. Anyone who reads his book will appreciate and admire Malcolm more, not less.
Unlike other writers, Perry reveals Malcolm's complexity, including a few flaws (his sexuality is not one of them). Malcolm was a great man, not a saint. We don't need him to be perfect to value his immense contribution to Black emancipation. To know the truth only serves to reveal his humanity.
The news of Malcolm's bisexuality will, I hope, help challenge homophobic prejudices and stereotypes; encouraging young straight men to realize that heroes like Malcolm X can be gay or bisexual, and empowering young Black lesbians and gays with the knowledge that someone like them can make a major contribution to the upliftment and advancement of the Black nation.
An out Malcolm can be an inspiration to young black gays and lesbians who, right now, have few great heroic role models. If Huey Newton of the Black Panthers could accept his gay brothers and sisters and support their struggle for queer freedom way back in 1970, why can't today's Black nationalists?
The writer lives in London. Editorâ€™s note: We disagree that The Black Star Newsâ€™ reporting was â€œnegativeâ€? as the writer claims. Our writer captured the sentiments of the nationalists interviewed. For more reports please call (212) 481-7745 to subscribe to the newsstand edition of The Black Star News, the worldâ€™s leading Pan African news weekly.
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