Over the past ten years, the Black LGBT community witnessed positive progression of its image within the community. Before 2003, the faces of the Black LGBT community consisted of mostly activists, drag divas, club promoters, ballroom notables and porn stars. Since 2003, the Black LGBT representation diversified and opened opportunities for our fellow gays, lesbians and transgenders to make names for themselves largely due to the popularity of the internet and pop culture. Today’s diverse representation includes the growing number of reality TV stars, independent musicians, athletes, drama and comedy series, documentaries, travel excursions, media and online personalities. Thus, this community image growth allowed the Black LGBT community to be bolder and prouder as ever.
As the image of the Black LGBT community continues to grow and diversify, tragic events overshadowed the community’s successes and celebrations, many of which happened so long ago but has never been forgotten. Such events shaped the ongoing future of the Black LGBT community with lessons learned and/or struggles continued. These affairs have shown their affects on the community as they continue to form conversations of complaint, pity and regret with almost no hopes of reconciliation, ownership or problem-solving.
From uncovered hypocrisy to internalized homophobia and celebrated careless behaviors to losing Black LGBT institutions, I uncover 25 of the most tragic events that affected the Black LGBT community over the past ten years. As you read this list, think of how we as the Black LGBT community, especially you as an individual, can make these events permanent history instead of being the hot topics of discussion forever and ever.
25. Kevin Clash goes from American children’s hero to sexual predator of young Black gay men
Clash was once an American hero to children as being the man behind the “Sesame Street” TV character Elmo. For almost 30 years, Elmo served as an entertaining and educational fixture of children’s lives as they learned basic skills of development which earned Clash millions of dollars. His honorable legacy turned into an American tragedy as young gay men of color came out accusing Clash of improper sexual conduct with them while they were minors. The embarrassment caused Clash to step down from his “Sesame Street” duties in 2012, and the image of Elmo has never been the same.