Giovanni Melton: A Mirror of the Black Community's Homophobia
" (He) would rather have a dead son than a gay son."
Read it again. Read those words again until you understand that this is what we are dealing with. Giovanni Melton was a 14 year old Black boy. Melton, unlike many his age, was out and openly gay. And he was killed for it by his father. On Thursday, November 7, 2017, Melton was gunned down by his father because his father because of a disagreement on his sexuality, in an apartment that he resided at... usually alone.
And while this is something very prevalent in the Black community, why are so many quiet? Why are so many people running to voice their opinions on a Meek Mill sentence (disclaimer: I think that his trial ruling was very unfair), but refuse to acknowledge the story and presence of an issue so dominant in our community? It's the Black community's sweetest taboo: homophobia.
Melton's situation is one of the many situations that occur daily behind closed doors and openly. The disregarding of Black LGBTQ+ lives is a real thing. We know that access to resource is very limited for LGBTQ+ lives overall, so when you add a sprinkle of intersectionality to the mix, how do you think that suffices? Think about that and then visualize the struggles of a double marginalized openly gay Black boy in the hood. The outcomes are inhumane.
Questions like "why don't you just come out" circulate on a daily basis, but no one but us knows what that entails. It means bullying. Some of us aren't able to fight off our harassers, or we find no use in doing so because it will happen endlessly. It means becoming the Black sheep. We are shunned from the Thanksgiving dinner, meanwhile the uncles who took advantage our sexuality growing up sit there with open arms and smiles. We lose access to opportunities. We become unable to attain jobs, shunned from community centers, and aren't even able to obtain certain healthcare plans because of the stigma of disease. Or worse, it means being Giovanni Melton. Dying by the hands of a hate crime.
So to both publics, gay and straight, I must pose the question: what does speeding the out process do for you? What good does that do for them if it makes them public enemy number one? It doesn't. It leads to all pain, suffering, guilt, self-resentment, and self-infliction.
So why are stories like this disregarded? The answer is simple: straight Black men are insecure. They are insecure with their position as opposed to White men, they are insecure with the fact that their female counterparts are becoming more successful, and they are insecure with their masculinity. Their toxic masculinity restricts them to seeing sexuality as a hindrance of Blackness, which it is not. They disregard our lives even though we, along with Black women, are at the heart of liberation and revolution, always on the frontline's fighting for equity.
Their insecurities keep the stories of Giovanni Melton, Sandra Bland, and Candace Towns in the background rather than in the forefront. It is bad PR for their toxic masculinity to see any other Black life being endangered besides the cis-Black male life. Black men mirror the plot of Animal Farm. They do not see us as sisters and brothers, they see us as numbers. Sort've how Pussy hat White Feminists seen women of color for their Women's March. They want to us to help them rise up and overthrow the system, so they can become the system and re-un-distribute wealth & power.
Melton is not the first and not the last our kind to endure this. He is only a martyr and example for the distrust between the Black community and their LGBTQ+ branch. The lack of concern on social media has mirrored the lack of concern for our lives in real life. But in any case, we will continue to persist, fight, and find strength. We will fight alongside our frenemies, straight Black men and White LGBTQ+ alike, against the ultimate oppressor, Whiteness and homophobia, in hopes that they will one day see us as equal. In hopes that they will one be on the frontline's fighting for our liberation. In hopes that one day, they will say his name like we say their names.
Say his name: Giovanni Melton.