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Gender & Sexuality Archive

Roundtable: Michelle O, Beauty, and the Strong Arm of the Media

Karima: Roland Martin hosted a very interesting conversation with four black female actors from TV and film, about the negative criticism Lady Obama receives on her style and body type. The discussion progressed ultimately to black

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Roundtable: 8-Year-Olds in Padded Bras and Thongs, Really?! 

Nichole: Ladies, what do you think of Abercrombie & Fitch's decision to sell push up bikini tops to little girls? Other than, this is ridiculous. I read the recent New York Times profile of Miranda Cosgrove, which in describing tween girl stars'

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Roundtable: Shaken By Sexual Violence

Lucinda: An 11-year-old girl is gang raped by a group of men and boys. It’s captured on cell phones. The authorities begin an investigation just after Thanksgiving, because one of the girl’s classmates tells a teacher about the video.

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Gender & Sexuality

 

 

Entries in gender identity (1)

Saturday
Apr162011

I Don’t Really Care Who Malcolm X Had Sex With

By Lucinda Holt

I just checked out Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Sexuality of Malcolm X.” I was curious about what he had to say regarding the revelation that Malcolm X had sexual experiences with men in Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Ta-Nehisi makes the point that so many people reject the idea of Malcolm X having sex with men because they “think it’s antithetical to masculinity.” Ta-Nehisi comes out and calls this “wrong,” and I’m coming out and saying we’ve got to stop stuffing men into a “man box” that only allows them to be heterosexual, tough, aggressive and free of any emotion except anger. We’ve got to  broaden our definition of masculinity to include a variety of ways of being a man, including being gay or a nurturer or kind. Those qualities are just as masculine as being assertive, bold, and all of those other things we lump with masculinity. 

I would love to see us get to the point where discussions of sexual orientation are not value laden—where one is “good” and everything else 
is “bad.” This is such a simplistic way of thinking about something as complicated as sexual orientation. Why can’t sexual orientation—wherever you fall on theKinsey scale—be an attribute, like hair or eye color?

We aren’t only rigid and downright homophobic when it comes to sexual orientation either. We’re equally fearful and hateful toward people who don’t fit into the “right” gender box. Just look at the responses to the Vibe article “The Mean Girls of Morehouse.” People were very angry that there are some current and former Morehouse men who choose to express themselves in traditionally feminine ways. And just recently, El’Jai Devoureau, who was born female but has always identified as male, was fired for not being male enough.

Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are often much more fluid than the rigid categories we are so attached to. Few of us fit neatly into these categories, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Malcolm X may have had sex with men. I don’t think spending a lot of time speculating about his sexual orientation does us much good. He’s not here to tell us if he would have identified as bisexual or gay or if he was just a heterosexual guy who happened to have had sexual experiences with men. 

But when it really comes down to it, I don’t really care who Malcolm X had sex with. I care that he was an inspiring and thoughtful leader who was willing to have his ideas evolve, change, and grow.