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Society’s Scarlett Letter

Anthony Whidbee is a Social Problems and Policy/Women and Gender Studies undergraduate based in North Carolina. In this intimate essay, he recounts the struggle of being a gay person of color, within a white-washed sea of heteronormative patriarchy.

Letter by Anthony Whidbee


As a black gay male living in a heteronormative, patriarchal, white washed society one notices rather quickly where they fit into the hierarchy. The queer community is being plagued by white gay male supremacy and as a black gay male, I am aware that I am expected to quietly and respectfully squander at the bottom of the barrel of our society. I am oppressed, I am looked down upon, and I am seen as less than in our society. I am able to disidentify – to hide my queerness, but I am not able to hide my skin color to attribute society’s standards. Even today people of color in the queer community face a lack of representation, inclusion, and visibility from most gay media outlets, which are supposed to be definitive voices of queer culture.

The attempted reform and persecution of the femininity performed by male queers, clearly allows one to understand society’s devaluation of femininity. Within the hierarchy of the queer community, feminine male queers are deemed inferior to the normative, because their performance is complicit.

Heteronormativity is the belief that people can on fall into two distinct and complementary genders – male and female, which are attributed as the natural roles in life. In our society those who don’t access these goals, rules, and regulations are stuck living in a heteronormative cult. In our society fear is natural for those who do not fit in, and fear of the unknown is a natural barrier.  People who do not perform the roles of heteronormativity have no voice and they are feared by those who cannot cope with the unfamiliar. Those perceived to be unfamiliar are overlooked, persecuted socially, and cast into a social exile without rights

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