Friday, July 17, 2009

CNN Commentator: Gays are Mostly Petulant White People

ESPN reporter and CNN commentator LZ Granderson is putting the smack down on uppity white gays who are leading the chorus of disappointment over Obama's turtle pace on gay issues. To call gay the new black is offensive and underscores the disconnect between a truly disenfranchised people and a bunch of Lady Gaga-listening white people who act like "a petulant child throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat his dessert before dinner." Blacks, says Granderson, have had it tough way longer than the gays have ("Miley Cyrus is older that DODT") and they are loving their new black President. It's justice served and all you gays need to love the moment and stop complaining.

Still, Granderson isn't attacking the gay rights movement, he's putting gay white culture - that which most of America sees - on blast. He speaks like an outsider, conflicted over the sting of not fitting in yet not wanting to belong anyway. Case in point: he's happy to accept the praise of organizations like GLAAD, who gave him an award for journalism this year at a $500 a person fundraiser in New York (I was there) but you know, he still wants to be down.

I can understand his frustration, and I can understand that being gay, educated and a person of color does pose a lot of challenges for men of color who are expected to be a certain way, namely not gay and educated.

But the rights gay people want transcend color, and the gay community has every right to express its disappointment with President Obama. The longer he takes to enact fair policy and give gay people the rights they deserve, the more credence he lends to conservative arguments against gays. And this community has been on his side, putting all of its resources behind him to help put him in the White House. As for the petulant child comment - that's just ignorant. A gay person of color should have a greater impetus to effect change and blunt the blow of exclusionary politics than anyone.

Granderson's comments are a distraction and speak more to his internal turmoil than to any latent racism within the gay community. There's room for everyone under that rainbow flag, but we can't sit idly by and let elected officials pander to us on the campaign trail only to denigrate us once they're in power.

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