Tag Archives: queer women of colour

Why Do Black Lesbians Keep Quiet About Domestic Violence?

According to The Advocate, 35.4% of women living with a same-sex partner have experienced domestic abuse or Inter-Personal Violence (IPV), but many black women are often so intimidated by political, cultural and racial factors that they don’t feel safe reporting their abuse.

What are these factors, and how can anti-domestic violence coalitions account for them?

Police have a history of murdering black women.

Sandra Bland. Rekia Boyd. Korryn Gaines. Yvette Smith. Tanisha Anderson. The list of black women killed by the police grows longer every day – and many victims were not committing crimes at the time of their murder. Rekia Boyd was standing next to a man holding a cell phone; police assumed the cell phone was a gun, shot at the man, and accidentally killed her instead.

For that reason, black women are hesitant to call the police on an abusive partner. Police could kill the partner – or even the woman who made the call.

Furthermore, just because a woman calls the police doesn’t mean the police will believe her. Police often don’t take same-sex cases IPV seriously. How can a woman hurt another woman?

The church teaches that homosexuality is an abomination.

Many black queer women raised in church have been told, at some point in their lives, that homosexuals will burn in hell.

When a religious woman comes out of the closet, she loses the support of her church and her internalized homophobia intensifies. If she becomes a victim of domestic violence, she may believe that it’s her punishment for being homosexual. If she were straight, after all, her girlfriend would not be abusing her.

Black women don’t want to fuel racism.

Black people are stigmatized as being lazy, poor, unintelligent, violent and criminal. Many black women believe that if they report domestic violence, they will prove these stereotypes true.

The white gaze is strong and judgmental. Black people don’t have the luxury of being an individual – one misstep allows white people to judge their entire community. That’s why black communities are notoriously private about HIV, AIDs, domestic violence, and mental illness; they’re private not to avoid fixing these problems, but to avoid facing constant judgment.

Black women need a safe space.

For black Americans, racism is a daily struggle. They’re stopped and frisked while walking in their own neighborhoods. They’re glared at or ignored by taxi drivers, store clerks and waitresses. They can be followed around a store, even if they have a six-figure salary and a white teenager is shoplifting one aisle over. They open their newsfeed to read the names of three more black people killed by the police. They deposit their checks, aware of the fact that they make 25% less than a white man doing the same job.

For black women, home is the safe space. It’s one of few places where they can be themselves separate from the pressures of the outside world.

If a queer black woman reports domestic violence, then she will lose that safe space – evenings will be spent filling out police reports, trying to convince people to believe her story, sleeping on friends’ couches, and possibly being separated from her children. Not to mention, if an abused woman has no choice but to move back in with her girlfriend afterward, then the abuse might be even worse than it was before since the abuser knows she can get away with it.

Instead, it’s easier for a black woman to keep her head down and hope for her evenings to pass uneventfully. Under the current system, it’s easier to deal with a black eye than it is to upend her entire life.

With these factors in mind, anti-IPV organizations need to make resources easily accessible to LGBT victims of color. Black women need to know that they can report violence without police intervention, they need to be able to access counselling, they need to be able to work with advocates of color to avoid racism and stigma, and they need to know that they have a safe space with these organizations.

For more information, visit Gay Star News.

Brooklyn Lesbian Shares Harrowing Homophobic Attack By Off Duty NYPD Officer (Video)

An NYPD officer is under investigation for a possible hate crime after a Brooklyn woman accused him of assaulting her and calling her homophobic slurs.

Stephanie Dorceant, an artist and film-maker, has spoken out after suffering a vile homophobic attack from an off duty police officer, who subsequently had her arrested for assaulting him.


Dorceant claims that the unnamed officer hurled homophobic slurs at her and her then-girlfriend before repeatedly punching her in the face and strangling her.


She recounted what happened in a video by BRIC TV, saying

It’s two or three in the morning, and this neighbourhood is really quiet, there’s a lot of kids that live here, there’s a lot of families that live here. So when someone brushed up against me I screamed, like a shriek or something and so I said “Are you OK?”And he turned around and he basically barked at me and told me to mind my f***ing business you f***ing dyke.”


I told him to watch his mouth and then he knocked me, I told him not to touch me, and then he started to attack me, grab me by the hair, started punching me in the face and he wouldn’t let me go. We kept yelling at him to leave me alone but he didn’t even do that. And then towards the end of it he yells out that he is a cop.”

According to a report in The Huffington Post, when other police officers arrived on the scene they immediately pushed her into the pavement and arrested her.

During the incident she received bruising to her face and neck and an eye injury. She was also charged with assault, attempted assault and resisting arrest.

All of the charges have since been dropped, after a grand jury ruled in her favour.

Now Dorceant is now suing New York City and the police department for battery, unlawful stop, malicious prosecution and false arrest.

In the video, Dorceant expressed disbelief that she was talking about herself, and not something she had read online about someone else.

She went on to draw comparisons between her and other high profile cases of alleged police brutality against African-Americans and other minority’s.

Watch the full video here;

Fall TV Introduces Several New Queer Women of Colour

For years, lesbian, bisexual and otherwise non-heterosexual women have lamented the lack of queer female representation on TV, begged, pleaded and prayed on their lucky Ellen TIME magazine covers that TV would feature storylines about women who love women.

But as the times have changed and Hollywood has begun to reflect the changing social attitudes towards non-heterosexual people, what they are now asking for is an increase in diversity in those characters, rather than just an increase in their numbers.

Specifically, TV viewers have asked for more queer women of colour, hoping that networks to do better to reflect the LGBT community as it exists in reality.

For reference, last year’s GLAAD ‘Where Are We On TV’ report noted that on broadcast, just 28 out of 65 (43%) regular or recurring LGBT characters were women and just 26% of 65 were LGBT people of colour. On cable, 44% of the 64 LGBT characters on cable networks were women and 34% of that 64 were people of colour.

Unfortunately, GLAAD doesn’t provide a specific breakdown of the amount of women of colour but looking at those statistics, even if all of those LGBT people of colour were women, we wouldn’t be looking at a very large group.

Those numbers are dismal then, but they are so last year. They are a thing of the past, truly, because as we move into the fall TV season of 2015, several new queer women of colour are now gracing our screens, either in brand new shows or as characters who have just come out (in some capacity) since their shows returned.

One of the most talked about examples of this is on How To Get Away With Murder on ABC. The show was already breaking ground as one of few shows to feature a black woman as the lead but in its season premiere, lawyer Annalise Keating reunited with her old college gal pal, and it was revealed that they used to date. They rekindled their relationship (though it was short lived as Eve, Annalise’s ex, returned to New York) and it was so great that we even labelled it one of our ‘need to watch’ shows.

Over on FOX, Empire became another one of our need to watch shows when it introduced lesbian billionaire Mimi Whiteman. No Mimi isn’t a woman of colour, but in the first episode of the show’s new season, Mimi did sleep with Anika, a character who had only previously had relationships with men on the show.

American Horror Story: Hotel, which airs on FX, may see you sleeping with the lights on for the rest of your born days but the relationship between The Countess (played by Lady Gaga) and Ramona’s (played by Angela Bassett) is a grand reason to watch.

In terms of completely new shows, the likes of Grandfathered and Rosewood (both on FOX) deliver on that front. Grandfathered stars John Stamos as your typical, womanising white guy, but the twist is that his past has caught up to him and that not only does this bachelor have a son, but he also has a granddaughter too. 

Kelly Jenrette plays a lesbian named Annelise and she’s also Jimmy’s co-worker. So far, things look okay for Annelise; we’re only two episodes in but reception to the show in general has been positive and she also has a budding friendship with Sara (Jimmy’s ex and the mother of his son), which is something.

And as for Rosewood, this procedural’s already on ‘cancellation watch’ due to a weak start, but you’ll be hoping it stays on the air for sweet couple Pippy (a woman of colour) and her fiancee Kathy, who work together in the pathology lab.

Admittedly not every show with a queer woman of colour is getting it right. Season 2B of Faking It on MTV began towards the end of September, and spent several episodes tiptoeing around Reagan’s frankly vomit-inducing biphobia and on Scream Queens, butch lesbian Sam is literally introduced as the ‘predatory lez’, with many saying that Ryan Murphy is relying on the very same trope he used to dehumanise Santana Lopez on Glee back in the day.

Thankfully though, most of the new queer women of colour, and the returning TV favourites (e.g those on Jane The Virgin, The Fosters and Grey’s Anatomy) have enough good in them to outweigh the few examples of bad.

It’s highly encouraging for the future as these shows not only bust the troubling stereotypes that a) queer people of colour don’t exist and that b) that many non-white ethnicities are homophobic but it also gives queer women of colour the same shot at great representation that queer white women have enjoyed for so many years.