Nikki Giovani, Wanda Sykes, Janet Mock
Nikki Giovani, Wanda Sykes and Janet Mock. (Photos: Getty Images)

From Clutch Magazine: Imagine having two homes and not being welcomed in either one. That is undoubtedly how black LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) women feel in American society. The black community calls them sinners. The gay community ignores Black women except when they’re funny like Wanda Sykes. Black women have always found a way to overcome racism, sexism, and homophobia to be their authentic selves.

Black lesbians have been a part of America since its founding, from black women who fought as men in the civil war to Congresswomen like Barbara Jordan. Poets such as Audre Lorde and Nikki Giovanni have proudly written about their identities and poet Stacyann Chin continues in that tradition. Chin bravely speaks out for gay rights in America and her native Jamaica, where homosexuality is against the law. Chin speaks about the narrow definitions of gender and the traps that put black women in throughout her poem, “ Feminist or Womanist’’ : “Girls who are only straight at night, hardcore butches be sporting dresses between 9 & 6 every day. Sometimes she is a he, trapped by the limitations of our imaginations’’. In her poetry and through her activism, Chin gives voice to ignored black LGBT women.

Black trans women have also become more visible despite heavy criticism. Magazine editor Janet Mock came out as trans this year and detailed the pain of being different in a conservative family that disapproved.

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.