African-American culture and sexual orientation

African-American culture and sexual orientation

DVD box cover from the TV series Noah's Arc.

Similar to the experience of non-heterosexual people in Africa during the arrivals and expansions of Abrahamic religions through various imperialistic and colonial attritions into the continent, the lives of homosexual, bisexual and transgender Afro-Americans - both those who were kidnapped from Africa and those who were descended from such coerced migrations but were born in the Americas - were highly influenced by the doctrines of both European-descended Christianity and the African-descended traditional religions which were preserved by enslaved Africans in the Americas.

It was only during the latter half of the 20th century that the atmosphere for LGBT Afro-Americans was significantly liberalized in the political and legal sector in most American countries (while Afro-Americans in their entirety experienced waves of independence movements in the Caribbean and ethnic civil rights movements in countries where Afro-Americans dwelt in demographic minorities). However, in the 21st century, non-heterosexual people remained persecuted in predominantly black areas of the former British colonies of the Caribbean due to predominating religious fundamentalisms (derived mostly from Roman Catholic and various Protestant denominations) and cultural bigotries.

North America

United States and Canada

A minority of U.S. African Americans identify openly as LGBT, while a number of African Americans are closeted about their sexuality.[1] However, openly-LGBT African Americans have contributed extensively to many cultural and political events and institutions in the process of the ethnicity's enfranchisement and participation in the melting pot of the country while also becoming increasingly visible participants in the movement for LGBT civil rights in the United States. While LGBT African Americans often face homophobic bigotry from heterosexual African Americans (often derived from religious motivations), they also have come into conflict with LGBT European Americans due to matters of race and color in United States LGBT culture.[2]

Various celebrations of U.S. African-American LGBT identity include various Black gay prides in heavily-black urban areas of the United States. In addition, various endeavors to increase African-American representation in LGBT media have been undertaken in the 21st century, such as the short-lived television series Noah's Arc.

Former British colonies in the Caribbean

In contrast to the relative political liberalization of LGBT African-Americans in North America, legal, political and cultural structures retain anti-LGBT laws and practices dating from the colonial period in most former British colonies in the Caribbean, a similar outcome as most former British colonies in Africa (with the sole exception of South Africa).

Latin America and the Caribbean

The experience of LGBT black people in the former French and Spanish colonies of the Caribbean has largely followed the general LGBT dialogue with the governments and religious institutions of their respective countries, as sodomy laws were mostly stripped from the civil codes of such countries' governments in the 20th century. However, in addition to the homophobic imprint of European-imported culture and religion, LGBT black people in Latin America also enjoyed the comparative sexual liberalization which existed in the Afro-American religions which are practiced with much more frequency and cross-ethnic popularity in Latin American countries.[3]

Nevertheless, charismatic religious movements which are more homophobic than local traditional variations of Christianity (thanks to the more traditionalistic focus of the nations, societies and subcultures in which these movements start — as well the least homophobic Brazilians, for example, were not the atheist and agnostic ones but the Roman Catholics, since, historically, homophobia in Latin America came mostly from individual variations of machismo rather than religious moral rules) which gains popularity among discriminated sectors of the societies conquers much of its power from Afro-Latin Americans.

This is notedly true for certain regions of South America, and the stereotypical homophobic Pentecostal or evangelical Protestant priest who is popular among the lower middle and working classes particularly in Brazil. About 21.7% of roughly 13 million Afro-Brazilians and 18.2% of roughly 83 million of Multiracial 'brown' Brazilians are Protestants, compared to 15.16% of about 92 million Brazilians of mostly European and/or Middle Eastern descent and 13.3% of about 1.1 million Brazilians of East Asian descent. Some of them project a really huge influence on the societal norms of their communities, and as a result turns (generally) more socially conservative on a range of issues, but most importantly homosexuality, sexual minorities, heterosexism, homophobia, gender roles and sexism.

See also



  1. ^ Goff, Keli (2013-05-28). "Gay Hate Crimes: Are African Americans Less Sympathetic?". The Root. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  2. ^ Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in American Religious Discourse - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  3. ^ ">> Social Sciences >> Santería and Vodou". Retrieved 2014-02-25.