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

Visibility Does Not Equal Super Increase

Also I can tell you that while there is actually an increase in the numbers of black women who are single, there is no “super increase” in black lesbianism. Don’t get increased visibility or increased freedom and opportunities to date women mixed up with a “super increase” in lesbianism. If Elixher did not approve your comment, does that mean that your hateful feelings would not exist? Of course not. There is however, an increase in our visibility. Increased democratization of publishing via the Internet gives us access to many voices that would have been silenced by mainstream media. I know that there are many people, not just black men, who cannot and will not accept the reality of women surviving and thriving and raising families without them, but just because I don’t see or hear them does not mean that they don’t exist. Visibility equals validation for some people. However, we’ve been there all along just like you’ve been there all along feeling the way that you do about black lesbians. I’m glad that the folks at Elixher allowed me to read your comment, as misguided as it is, because it gave me the opportunity to have a conversation with someone like you who is so “devastated” by evidence of loving relationships that actually helps not harms the black community.

Again dear brother, yours is among the most inane, ignorant and disrespectful comments I’ve ever read. Black women loving and building families with each other has nothing to do with hating black men, destroying the black family or “settling” for women as you claim. Lorde wrote, “Today the red-herring of lesbian-baiting is being used in the Black community to obscure the true face of racism/sexism. Black women sharing close ties with each other, politically or emotionally, are not the enemies of Black men. Too frequently, however, some Black men attempt to rule by fear those Black women who are more ally than enemy. These tactics are expressed as threats of emotional rejection.”3It is as plain as day that emotional rejection is what you’re attempting to do to this segment of our community, even if you’re not aware of it.

So brother before you invade our spaces with vitriolic comments aimed at showing how much you “love” us, maybe you should check your assumptions and male privilege at the door. I love my black men and my black family and I reflect that love by supporting them and who they love be it another black woman, black man or person of another race or culture. True love is not about control brother. True love cannot be achieved with divisive, hateful words, but true love is about acceptance and support. I believe we’ve been giving it to black men since the beginning of time. It’s time for you to return the favor. So maybe take a lesson from Congressman John Lewis. Even though I’m not interested in black men as lovers, I will always embrace love from black men as brothers.


1 “Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Woman and Loving.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984. 45-52.

2 Hammond, Karla. “An Interview with Audre Lorde.” American Poetry Review March/April 1980: 18-21.

3 “Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Woman and Loving.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984. 45-52.

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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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