I pray that every little Black kid, all the Black girls and Black boys who grew up to be gay has to opportunity to share their love with the people in their village. I hope you can have the wedding of your dreams without having to compromise to accommodate anyone else. I hope that your moment to celebrate your love is free of judgment, and drama. Most importantly, I hope that you are able to celebrate your love with your village fully supporting and participating in the moment.
Growing up in a Black family is undoubtedly the best experience, and, yes, this is my biased opinion. But, growing up in a Black family for those who are gay can be complicated. It can be as simple as shame and gaslighting to the far more extreme of abuse and worse. Typically on the lessor end, it is something that each Black gay person I know has experienced in some way.
I could write a 200 page paper on why Black families need to focus on being more supportive and understanding of their alphabet mafia children but this is about understanding and empathizing with your plight. There is this unspoken fear many of us hold about being able to express our love outwardly within our villages. Can you have the wedding you want? Will you have to exclude anyone?
You should not have to change how you love because who you love is different. So many others are able to love so outwardly, yet, your love needs to be hidden behind closed doors. You should be able to walk down the aisle escorted by your father, grandfather, mother or whoever you want. You should be able to wear a dress or a suit if you want. You should be able to be unequivocally you, especially in a moment that is meant for you to yell your love from the mountain tops.
Black families are not ubiquitous, different family dynamic types exist within the Black community. These types can be based on a variety of factors, which could include education, socioeconomic class, religion, age and even generation. For those who grew up in a similar family as mine, old school traditions are important. How we show respect within our families is important. As a simple example, something such as showing affection, kissing, is not simply taboo because you are gay, some of it is taboo because it is traditionally, taboo. Some of my friends who are straight experience this quietness they must display as they become adults, fall in love and even get married.
But, the difference is their moment is coveted by their families. They are able to “uphold the traditional Black family values” of a man marrying a woman and raising a family. An engagement, especially to a suitor they believe is worthy, is praised and a wedding is an all out extravaganza. I know what it is like to know this to be true for my peers but not for me. To convince myself that I don’t want what the little Black girl inside of me always dreamed of so that I can make everyone else more comfortable with my choice, with my love.
So, I pray not just for myself but that you can have what you dreamed of with the support you deserve. I hope this acknowledgement brings comfort in at least knowing someone else understands your shoes. That someone else understands how it feels to tuck who, what, and how you want away.