Who Do You Love? Racial Preferences in Dating

On November 4, 2016, the film Loving was released. The movie details the story of interracial couple Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, which was brought to the attention of the nation in the Loving v. Virginia case. Prior to 1967, many states had anti-miscegenation laws, which prevented the marriage of and/or sexual involvement between people of different races.

These laws specifically targeted African Americans and White people who were intimately and/or romantically involved. The Loving decision invalidated Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act and made it lawful for an African American and American Indian woman, Mildred Jeter, to marry a White man, Richard Loving. Of course, there has been criticism of other underlying issues, such as Mildred Jeter’s age at the time that she married Richard Loving, which were not addressed in the landmark court decision. The couple first met when Mildred was 11, became romantically involved some years later, and married when Mildred was 18. Though many are bothered by the roughly 6 year age difference and raise concerns about whether or not the Loving’s relationship was one of choice or force, that is not a topic that I am well-versed enough in to discuss here. Rather, I make mention of the Loving decision in light of one of my fellow SOULE contributor’s recent posts about interracial dating.

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To Be Young, Black, Gifted, Gay, and Celebrated

For the last two years, right at the beginning of Black History Month, I find myself asking the same questions. Questions like: Have you noticed “mainstream Black America’s” willingness to erase queerness in the discussion of Black activists and leaders? It’s actually almost desperation at this point, isn’t it? Why is it so horrible to acknowledge that great people, leaders, and contributors to society can be young, Black, and gay? How have we continued to allow the celebration of an individual to be conditioned upon their sexual orientation? So, either we celebrate the activist and erase their sexual orientation or we erase the leader in their entirety because of their sexual orientation? Aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by refusing to acknowledge that so many history-makers, so many historical moments in Black History have happened on the backs of or with the leadership of Black people who happen to identify as LGBTQ?

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From Heart-Warming to Heart-Wrenching: Body Positivity & Dating Preferences in the LGBTQIA Community

Have you ever noticed how interconnected most topics are? The correlations and connections between various topics have not been lost on me, especially regarding body positivity and the manner by which most people’s thoughts about themselves directly relate to how they will allow others to treat them or how it impacts whose attention they chase, whose type they want to be.

Like many other people who are on multiple social media platforms or that follow companies like Lane Bryant, I have definitely noticed that there has been a rising emphasis on body positivity, especially among plus size women of color. Naturally, this movement has found its ways into the LGBTQIA Community as well. Though I am glad that conversations are being had about how we view ourselves, treat ourselves, and how view/treat one another, I have been somewhat amazed by how quickly the conversations about plus size women, in particular, can go from heart-warming to heart-wrenching. And, for some odd reason, so many times when the topic of weight comes up, it seems to be in regards to people’s dating preferences. It continues to strike me as somewhat odd that in a community involving so many other women, we continue to shame people based on our own appearance-based preferences.

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The Path Toward Inclusivity & Understanding

Recently I had the opportunity to watch Tiq Milan’s and Kim Katrin Milan’s TED Talk, A Queer Vision of Love and Marriage. The description of the TED Talk states: “Love is a tool for revolutionary change and a path toward inclusivity and understanding for the LGBTQ+ community. Married activists Tiq and Kim Katrin Milan have imagined their marriage — as a transgender man and cis woman — a model of possibility for people of every kind. With infectious joy, Tiq and Kim question our misconceptions about who they might be and offer a vision of an inclusive, challenging love that grows day by day.”

While watching the TED Talk, I was struck by multiple things. First, the love that Tiq and Kim share is apparent and remarkable. I genuinely believe that the portions of their relationship that we are all provided access to via social media and during their TED Talk provide many LGBTQIA People of Color with hope. For many of us, I think there is the thought that we may be overlooked romantically or that we will never truly be accepted in a romantic or intimate relationship. It can be difficult to maintain hope in the fairytale when the story never resembles your own. One important thing that Tiq and Kim’s presence demonstrates is the possibility for love and acceptance within our frequently shifting and expanding community. Their relationship also charges each of us with the duty to be the most honest version of ourselves and to ensure that we make space in the world for those who are similar to and drastically different from us.

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It Will Take Courage: The Underlying Issue of Misogyny Amongst Queer & Lesbian Women of Color

Recently a 2013 post on the Everyday Feminism Magazine website was brought to my attention. While reading “Butch Please: Butch with a Side of Misogyny”, I had to take a minute to consider my own experiences with Masculine of Center Women of Color who are part of the LGBTQI Community. Oddly enough, I was also reminded of a recent opportunity to hear Melissa Harris-Perry speak at a local university. In her keynote address, which was entitled “We Will Need Courage,” Harris-Perry spoke at length about the attacks on bodies that have been labeled problems. She discussed how Black women, in particular, sometimes overlook the privileges that we may have in certain situations. Specifically, she discussed how we are oftentimes so aware of our lack of privilege in many environments that we ignore or overlook those who are trying to show us the privileges we may have (i.e., being able-bodied, cis) that others may not.

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