chapter  4
32 Pages

Closets are for Clothes

Tearing Down Boundaries to Freedom for Black American Sexual Minorities
ByJuan J. Battle, Natalie D. A. Bennett

Until the early 1990s, scholarly inquiries into the diversity of black experiences seemed to proceed much as it had in prior decades, paying little or no attention to how questions of same-sex sexuality might alter or significantly inform the perspectives and interpretations of the research itself. Historically, the larger black community has not been open and affirming when it comes to issues of homosexuality. The virtual explosion of (white) gay and lesbian political activism around Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and sexual orientation-based discrimination during 1990s occurred in tandem with the steadily rising incidence of HIV/AIDS infections, and the increasing discord within black communities about whether and how to address this problem. According to Cornel West, those who do liberation work attempt "to negate what is and transform prevailing realities against the backdrop of the present historical limits.".