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  Issues & Advise
Gay & Black

  Gay & Black

The Black Rainbow: Online resources for black gays & lesbians

"The gay community sees itself," says , a site for gay people of African descent, "as a white male enclave and prefers to ignore us, except when driven by lust to seek the exotic."

It's a debatable charge, but unfortunately the bitterness behind it isn't entirely unjustified. As in so many other aspects of life in Western countries, the faces most commonly associated with the gay-rights movement are white. And to make matters worse, as Black Stripe points out, black gays "claim and are claimed by two communities the black community and the gay community. Neither community fully accepts, appreciates or understands us." This review is devoted to online resources created for, by or about gay men and women who are black. (The term "black" is used here and on most sites to avoid the obvious pitfalls of parochial terms.)

One of the most interesting is a site about the tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, an ancient Egyptian archeological site discovered in 1964. The tomb was built for two men who shared the same title in the court of King Niusere of the Fifth Dynasty, and images on its walls show them holding one another and looking into each other's eyes in ways that are similar to contemporary portrayals of opposite-sex couples. If the men really were lovers, their tomb provides one of the earliest known records of gay life.

Finally, one of the most complete sites is , which offers articles, a book list, online discussion and a list of links to other black gay sites and organizations. There is an article by late US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown on the black clergy and the Religious Right in the US, criticism of the organization GLAAD for a lack of racial diversity in its ranks (hyperbolically described as a "reign of terror"), and the "Black List," an impressive list of black gay people, including Audré Lorde, Mandy Carter, James Baldwin and Keith Boykin, plus scores of lesser-known black people who are, were, or are believed to have been gay.

The surprising number of names on the Black List suggest that the criticisms of some black gay activists are all too true: too many black contributions to gay life and to society in general have been ignored, overlooked or forgotten.

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I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered french toast during the Renaissance. (Steven Wright)