I get all types of emails from folks—angry at my rants on fleeting celebrities, religious folks telling me to convert from a life of sin, declarations that I will burn in hell and more. Also, I get many emails from folks who enjoy my blog and even offer “loving” advice on what I should do differently. However, the email below truly moved me, which is from a young woman named Carmen.
After talking about the email with a friend, I was reminded of the line from Shug Avery in The Color Purple: “See Daddy, sinners have soul too.” Not that I think I am a "sinner" or what I do is sin -- but I remember, when I was a young’un, the sole reason why I didn’t want to be gay wasn’t because I thought I was going hell—I didn’t want another reason for people to hate me. When I was growing up (and where I grew up), no important person or adult figure in my life told me it was okay to be who I was. I heard drug dealers, drug addicts, pregnant teenagers, abusive boyfriends, murders—hell, even OJ Simpson, has his life validated. But gay people, especially in the black community... no. It took endless amounts of soul searching, praying and coming to terms with every intricacy of who I was for me to say it was okay to not be what others prophetically demanded.
When I read the email below it gave me just a lil’ hope… Lawd, I hope I’m not sounding like an egotistical Oprah! Anyway, I thought it was worth a read.
My name is Carmen and I'm an 18 year old girl from Toronto. I first stumbled upon your blog after googling "Beyonce is overrated" (I know that's stupid, but I was tired of her overexposure in the media and her crazy fans). After reading your hilarious post about how much "you hated huh", I was instantly hooked on your site. I started going to "claycane.net" everyday after school.
Now years later, I think that it’s about time to show you how much your blog has positively affected my life. I think that it is important for you to know that your blog helped me overcome my homophobia. I don't know how, but I am absolutely certain that your blog has played an instrumental role in helping me overcome this problem. I know this email is long overdue, and I have postponed writing this for almost a year now. However, I have always thought that this is something that you would appreciate. So here it goes.
I was never really violently homophobic and I think that has a lot to do with my upbringing. See, I grew up in an atheist/agnostic household, and was never taught to hate homosexuals by my parents. In fact, I didn't know what a homosexual was until I was in the 6th grade. I think that it’s important to note that I never hated anyone because they were gay, nor did I ever feel that it was right for anyone to hate someone based on their sexual orientation. But to say that I wasn't homophobic would be lying.
I might have cussed out kids in school because they used the word "faggot" and then slate them for their homophobia, but it was very hypocritical of me to do so. I knew that deep down; I was never truly comfortable with the concept of two people of the same gender "together". Actually, uncomfortable would be an understatement because to tell you the truth—it put me off.
I didn't like watching a movie if it had to do with homosexuality, I didn't like the fact that actor David Hyde Pierce from the show Frasier was gay, and I used to dread the thought of ever having a gay son. However, since reading your blog, I can proudly say that I am no longer homophobic. I actually love watching movies that deal with homosexuality because as a woman of colour, I can relate to stories of discrimination. The only thing that now puts me off the show Frasier is the fact that Kelsey Grammer is Republican, although I still watch it when it’s on from time to time.
Moreover, the only thing that I have to worry about if I ever have a gay son is to help him be proud of who he is regardless of what people tell him. I think I started reading your blog when I was 15 or 16 years old and will continue to read it until you decide to close it down. Since I'm a die hard Mariah Carey fan (and not much of an Xtina or Madonna fan) we don't always agree on the same things, but I love the way you write (from your posts on race, music, race, popular culture, sexuality, politics, etc) and wish you all the best in the future.