In honor of Black History Month, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a coming out resource for the Black LGBTQ community.
“Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People” details the unique complexities of the coming out process for Black LGBTQ people. It includes tips for grappling with faith and religion when coming out, the ways in which Black culture and history are tied to LGBTQ history, and the influence of systemic racism and anti-Blackness on their LGBTQ identities and the coming out process.
“For those of us who identify as Black and LGBTQ, coming out can present a variety of challenges, and this important resource serves as a guide as we navigate our very personal journeys to living authentically,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Although we come from a wide range of cultural, regional, and ethnic backgrounds, we often share similar experiences—and barriers—in coming out. But, as demonstrated time and time again by Black leaders who have always been at the front of the struggle for LGBTQ equality, we know how important it is to live as our true selves, and have our full stories told and contributions recognized.”
The guide also dives into navigating coming out to your family. In 2017, HRC partnered with researchers to conduct a survey of more than 12,000 LGBTQ youth. Of the 1600 Black LGBTQ respondents, 47 percent reported having been mocked or taunted by family for being LGBTQ, and 59 percent said their families make them feel bad for their LGBTQ identity (67 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and 55 percent of cisgender LGBQ youth).
“It’s important to know that your LGBTQ identity should not be a cause of shame or pain,” the guide reads. “Pain comes from the prejudices around you, not from who you are or whom you love.”
Only 19 percent said they could “definitely” be themselves at home.
“When I was coming out, I didn’t have a guide to tell me that there was more than one way to be Black and queer,” said HRC Youth Ambassador Nakiya Lynch. “It’s important that Black LGBTQ youth know that they can be who they are without sacrificing either identity and still be valid.”