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A Letter to A Straight Black Brother: How to Love A Black Lesbian

Mignon and Elaine celebrate their wedding day. Image courtesy of Elixher.

Mignon and Elaine celebrate their wedding day. Image courtesy of Elixher.

You reveal your patriarchal blinders with comments like this: “You women could look very beautiful if you just changed your attitudes towards us which is reflected in how you look and your demeanor toward us black men.” Sir, I’m going to share with you a secret: my beauty and value does not reside in how you view me, and If I could, I would not change who I inherently am just to please you or for the record appease your low sense of self-worth, masculinity or sense of control. I say the latter because it is clear to me that you have yoked my only value to that of being subject to the black male gaze. Your comment is typical of the narrow, self-interest promoting male mind, something that black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde wrote about. She said, “All too often the message comes loud and clear to Black women from Black men: ‘I am the only prize worth having and there are not too many of me, and remember, I can always go elsewhere. So if you want me, you’d better stay in your place which is away from one another, or I will call you ‘lesbian’ and wipe you out.’ Black women are programmed to define ourselves within this male attention and to compete with each other for it rather than to recognize and move upon our common interests.”1

So with this in mind, I can only imagine how devastating it is for you to find proof that there are black women out there who—outside of your being a brother, a friend, uncle, cousin or father—do not seek the attention of a black man as a form of validating our sexual value. And these women will continue to exist because they, like me, don’t feel a responsibility to be straight to validate your manhood.


Although they are no longer a couple, these two women continue to raise their daughter together.

Although they are no longer a couple, these two women continue to raise their daughter together.

Your Disappearance From Our Families Is The Problem

Brother, I would even be a tiny bit sympathetic at your plight if you were angry about a disappearance of black women from black families. But that is not the case and will never be the case because we’ve always been there. Lesbianism is NOT the cause of the black family’s destruction so don’t even come at me with that specious theory. Irresponsible black men who ejaculate their semen into black women’s wombs then walk away and are allowed to walk away is what is destroying black families. As a matter of fact, black women are the only reason why the black family continues to survive. Audre Lorde notes “all Black women are lesbians because we were raised in the remnants of a basically matriarchal society no matter how oppressed we may have been by patriarchy.”2 And that much is true. We don’t disown and disregard our children. We nourish and support, love and raise them together. In my own life, my mother and her sisters did more for me than my own father ever did. And black women continue to sustain our families in many different configurations, one of which includes black lesbian-headed households.

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Article written by:

Zamara Perri

Zamara Perri is the founder and editor of the Black Lesbian Love Lab blog. She loves black love and loves mangoes, cats, reading, cooking and writing about some of the challenges and joys of black lesbian relationships.

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  1. Love Lab Editor
    Love Lab Editor

    I updated the article to include a screenshot of Rene’s letter.

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