By Rafi Mauro-Benady
Black and ethnic minority (BAME) lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people say they are likely to receive greater abuse than their white counterparts.
And their claims are backed up by research from Professor of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, Rusi Jaspal.
His team used a sample of 289 LGB people and compared the responses of BAME participants with white ones.
Their findings show that BAME LGB people are at higher risk of poor mental health and self-harm than their White British LGB counterparts.
The research also found that BAME LGB people more discrimination, depression and suicidal thoughts, are less likely to be open about their sexuality.
Somriddho Dasgupta, 20, is an Indian-born, androgynous (displays masculine and feminine characteristics) male model who’s worked all over South London.
He was the victim of a traumatic homophobic, and racist hate crime last year when two white men drove past him and threw fruit at his feet, and he believes BAME LGB people often experience hate more than their white counterparts.
He said: “We have to experience hate crime for both our race and sexuality.
“We are often more prone to abuse than our white counterparts because two very important aspects of our identity are out in the open/public: our colour and our sexuality, resulting in persecution that we have to face for both the things.
“The queer community often fetishises us.
“When you try to meet people in the [gay] community for dating, you’ll often meet men who say things like ‘I exclusively date black men, or Asian men’ or stuff like that.
“It’s very dehumanising, because it’s like, you don’t really care about our personality, you just like us for our features.”
Singer NEO 10Y, of Wandsworth Road, Stockwell, identifies as non-binary, which means they don’t identify with either gender binary, and has Indian, and East African ancestry.
They say that the roots of the types of abuse faced by BAME LGB people are found in colonialism.
They said: “It may sometimes appear that homophobia and transphobia are more prevalent within ethnic minorities but it is really important to understand that this is deeply rooted as a result of colonialism.
“In our cultures pre-colonialism, it was much more accepted to be gender non-conforming, honest about sexuality being a spectrum and oneness of gender and sexuality being the norm.
“Institutionalised Christianity that was enforced due to the violence of colonialism and blood-drenched virtues of this monstrosity of a religion resulted in systemic homophobia and transphobia on a global level with all people.
“This is a violence that we are slowly deconstructing.
“It’s very important that we understand the spectrum of gender and sexuality, and that all people are naturally non-binary and pansexual.
“We must reject the notion of heterosexuality being the norm and acknowledge that the concept of “straightness” and “cis-ness” are violent institutions.“
Professor Jaspal said: “This can be psychologically taxing since people may come to feel that they are accepted by nobody and the multiple forms of discrimination that they face can be overwhelming.
“My concern is that discrimination is becoming more subtle but of course no less damaging for self-esteem.
“For example, some people decide to put on dating profiles that they do not wish to be contacted by people of a certain ethnic group because they do not find them attractive and claim that this is just a ‘sexual preference’.
“Yet, by singling out an entire group and rejecting an individual because of their membership of an ethnic group, they are actually engaging in racism under the guise of a sexual preference.
“This can be especially detrimental to self-esteem. Some people come to ‘internalise’ the discrimination that they face from others.”
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