Womanist Roots: Our History With Homosexuality

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By: Vibe / September 9, 2010

I’ve found great difficulty unearthing the queer legacy of Black women, partially because the history of African people is so shattered, but primarily because women loving women remains one of our mainstream buried secrets. The roots of homosexuality stretch far beyond my imagination, as same genders have loved each other for centuries. This article is not an attempt to summarize or trivialize those experiences. I’d rather reflect on what is swept under the rug: how some of our most powerful Black women and prominent representatives of womanism love women romantically.

How often do we read the stories of queer womanists where the discussion of their sexuality takes a backseat? When discussing these influential women, the discourse remains about their work. We praise their fierce advocacy for Black women, the strides they’ve taken on our behalves, and the obstacles they’ve helped us to overcome. While I believe that their accomplishments should be the main topic of discussion, I don’t think it’s healthy to be complacent about the manner in which their sexuality is disdained or disregarded. 

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