Dear Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll: Yes, you do look like a lesbian
And in case you didn’t buy the “just look at me” defense, she adds the motherhood gambit. Because of course we all know that lesbians aren’t mothers.
Oh, the irony. Jacksonville, part of Carroll’s district as a legislator is literally one of the largest concentration of black lesbian mothers in the US according to Census data.
At a time when leading Black and Hispanic civil rights groups are reaching out to embrace LGBT people within their communities, Carroll’s words are particularly off-key.
Surely Carroll, who spent 20 years in the military, and supported “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” understands a world in which gay people try to pass for straight. A world that during her tenure, told lesbians and gay men to hide and lie to protect their livelihood.
So passed all the “wink, wink” phrasing and caricatures of what gay people look like, let me answer your question: Yes Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, you do look like a black lesbian. You also look like a bisexual black woman and a heterosexual black woman too. And yes, some Black lesbians are gym coaches and some are models or elected leaders. Some are homeless and some anchor the news. Some are janitors and soldiers and fashion designers or pastors or chemical engineers. We come in all shapes and sizes and political and religious persuasions. Many of us look a lot like you.
You look like a heterosexual married woman wrongly accused of cheating on your husband and abusing her power. You also look just like a closeted woman, trapped by religious and cultural expectations into a world that never let you be you.
Which is your truth? I don’t know. And except for the allegations of abusing your power, it is none of my business. Because Black women are all things I can’t tell just by looking at you.
Perhaps you can find a way to defend your own truth without erasing mine.
Nadine Smith is the founding executive director for Equality Florida, the largest statewide LGBT advocacy group in Florida, and has worked in progressive movements for more than 20 years