This is not a blog to “put down” Morehouse (we have enough of those on the Internet). However, few would deny that the discourse of Morehouse and the LGBTQ community is often a controversial one in the Black community. In fact, it is not a secret that many black institutions have a rather sad history when it comes to relating to and accepting the queer community. It is those of us who stand at the margins— queer men and women— who have it worst when it comes to the black church, black leaders in the civil rights movement, black media, and black politicians. I believe Morehouse has made a step in the right direction and can only hope that it continues to lay a future path that is dedicated to the acceptance and inclusion of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
It is nice to know that a course titled “A Genealogy of Black LGBT Culture and Politics” is being taught at such a critical institution in the black community. Marcus Lee, a second year student at Morehouse has been a primary promoter for this course. Through students like Mr. Lee speaking out, Morehouse has been yet again put into the spotlight based on the subject of gender and sexuality. In an interview between Mr. Lee and The Nubian Message.
Mr. Lee responded to all the press that Morehouse is getting due to the class he proposed and how his peers have responded to it. He stated:
“The reaction to the course on campus has been good, bad and ugly. Some students love the idea and are excited to take it! Some students aren’t sure of the need for the course, and some students seem to be resistant. The reaction to the national attention has also been good and bad. Some see it as great press, but some get annoyed that coverage of happenings at Morehouse College are so often limited to sexuality and gender expression; rather than the millions of other great things we have going on.”
I honestly believe that there needs to be a larger and intentional conversation about how the intersection between the black and LGBTQ community, and how those two communities are often one and the same. Mr. Lee describes the culture at Morehouse as a “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of culture. I think it is just a symbol of the larger “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that continues to persist in Black communities and in white communities across the country. As a young gay male that felt compelled to spend years in the closet, I really think Mr. Lee says it best, “resilience is key.” This remains true for everyone, but especially for those individuals who are happy to see their experience represented in the academy.