Target: Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carol
Goal: Obtain an apology for statement “women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that” in reference to alleged lesbian affair.
In the wake of a recent accusation that she has been involved in extramarital homosexual affairs, Florida’s Lietenant Governor Jennifer Carol has responded with a denial and a statement that “usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” It is unknown whether Carol’s reported affair actually took place or not. It is also not completely clear whether Carol was referring to lesbianism, or extramarital affairs. It is clear, however, that her comment was inappropriate and probably homophobic.
Carol’s comments prey upon the supposed bias of black Americans against LGBTQ people to make a statement which erases the experiences of many queer women of color. Women of all ages, races, economic situations, appearances, and religions have experiences with lesbianism; no one has the right to say that “people like them” don’t have homosexual relationships. In her statement, Carol referenced her marriage of 29 years as proof that she couldn’t be a lesbian, yet many married women older than her have changed paths or realized their homosexuality late in life.
Queer women of color face discrimination and danger at every turn in their lives, much more than other segments of the population. They are at increased risk for rape and police brutality, especially if arrested or imprisoned. Carol’s comment that “black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that” is loaded with assumptions, and it erases the voices and experiences of queer women of color, married and unmarried alike. Demand that Lieutenant Governor Carol apologize for her statement and recognize that there is no one model for what lesbian women look like.
Dear Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carol,
I am writing to ask that you apologize for your recent statement that “black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that” (in reference, apparently, to lesbian relationships). Lesbians of any race have a variety of physical appearances, ages, and marital statuses that cannot be encapsulated by any single notion of yours or anyone else’s. To say that women like you don’t engage in lesbian relationships erases the experiences of an entire category of people whose lives are already put upon because of their race, gender, and sexuality.
As you defend yourself against claims that you had a same-sex affair, don’t resort to smear tactics and pigeonholing. Please offer a formal apology for your statement, and acknowledge that there is no single model for what black lesbian women look like.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via See-ming Lee