What the Hell was Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s “‘Bye Sierra”?!

by contributing writer Quinlan Mitchell

Let’s get real. For just a minute, let’s get really real. Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s oh-so-lauded article in the HuffPost, for all its fanfare and academic jargon, is essentially a new dress for old and tired rhetoric. I repeat: it’s not new. So everyone stop spilling tea all over the place, and let’s unpack the issue.

To the article’s credit, it does an adequate job of picking apart Sierra Mannie’s highly controversial Time Magazine opinion piece, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture”. D’Agostino skillfully takes issues which are compressed in Mannie’s piece and unfolds them in all their complexity within his own.

But that’s where the credit ends, unfortunately.

Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s response to Sierra Mannie’s article is often completely delusional. And it is truly ignorant of how the underlying power relationships that define how this country function, even at its best.

Mannie’s article in Time Magazine represented a first, and earnest stab at dismantling some of the extreme patriarchy and racism that pervades gay culture. When she tells white gays to stop stealing from black women, she’s touching on a long tradition of appropriation and mockery that hurts black women deeply, and allows white gays, even as minorities, to exert control over another minority group for community gain.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what D’Agostino does (and ignores that he’s doing) in his response essay. (more…)


Cultural Appropriation Isn’t a Compliment

I recently wrote a piece about my experiences with gay white men when my girlfriend and I go out to gay bars or clubs. While often they are very friendly and we have a great time, there are too many instances where white gays will overstep boundaries by asking personal questions, touching my body or hair, or simply doing a little bit too much “yaaaaaas girl” for me to feel comfortable with them.

So, when Mike sent me an article called Dear Black Women: White Gays Are Your Allies, So Don’t Push Us Away by Steve Freiss, I have to admit that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The piece is a reaction to Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture in which Sierra Mannie criticizes the appropriation of black women’s speech and mannerisms by gay white men, some of whom go as far as to refer to themselves as strong black women.

Steve’s piece interpreted Mannie’s criticism as being a “full-on attack” on the black woman-gay white male alliance. I don’t see it that way. For one thing, she is not criticizing white male- black female friendships. She is criticizing cultural appropriation. And for another, what is this alliance that he is referring to, anyway? (more…)

When meeting me, a queer woman of color

Hints for the overly excited gay white men my girlfriend and I meet on our nights out.

Lately when I’ve been out on the town with my lovely girlfriend I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. Gay white men seem to go nuts over us! Not all of them, of course, but a few. It’s very strange and, not gonna lie, borderline creepy.

So, inspired by this vintage worksheet that’s been popping up around the internet today, and based on my own real-life experiences, here are my hints for meeting me, a queer woman of color! Some DOs and DONTs:

If you see me and my lady out somewhere… (more…)

14 Tips for Surviving A Lesbian Encounter

meetingalesbianFeministing recently posted a hilarious list of tips for surviving your first encounter with a lesbian. The guidelines seem to date back some 25 years to a women’s studies class at the University of Michigan. (Click on the image to enlarge)

However, many people still have no idea how to interact with lesbians. That’s why I think it’s time for an update.

While some items on the list are productive “don’t assume she’s attracted to you,” by and large it’s a pretty ridiculous collection of suggestions. It offers a lackadaisical approach to dealing with lesbians that could result in personal harm or even death.

You see, what most don’t realize is that proper etiquette is not only respectful but crucial to your safety! So, taking a page from the How Stuff Works website, I present “14 tips for surviving a bear lesbian encounter.” (more…)