The below is an excerpt from an email conversation that I had with a good friend and Aunty Malik. Malik forwarded me an email that was going around poking fun at Star Jones's husband. The email suggested that he was gay. After a couple of back an forths between Malik and I sent this very conversationally written email...
That other light skinned woman too. Toni Braxton, a queen. But she's skinny and "fine" and her man is not assumed "gay." Every time a big sistah has a man speculation about his intention are abound.
Oprah- Stedman is gay or in it for the money. No one can figure it out. Further no one has ever considered that she does not want to marry him. The accepted assumption is that Stedman won't marry Oprah. I will concede that sexism and beliefs about women/men and marriage probably contribute some to the assumptions. It's funny because in the 80s there was another high profile couple (Goldie Hawn and that man) that were together in a loving relationship for years and never married, no assumptions were made about his sexuality or intentions, they just wanted to be together and not get married.
Star- he's gay. I really think that we as LGBT people have to be the leaders in accepting gender transgressions. If every time a man tries to escape patriarchal expectations we as LGBT folks join in the attacks we will never get anywhere. He can be fem in appearance and not be gay. How many straight male queens do you know personally? I know at least one who puts on gender when needed to avoid scrutiny.
Monique- he's with her for the money and he's gay. He's fine!
Aretha- well, her man was gay
Kelly Price- can't wait till she goes public with a man. I wonder what people will say.
You never hear of women who are deemed beautiful by societal conventions having to defend the intentions or the sexuality of there husbands in public. There aren't many fat black women who are in the public eye however if you use percentages I would estimate that at least 50% of them have had to defend the sexuality and intentions of the men who have chosen to partner with them. Another 25% have not gone public about any romantic relationship at all.
I don't know if I've spoken with you about it before but I have experienced first hand the effect that shame can have on the willingness of men who are attracted to big bodies to love big bodies. I have rarely brought men that I was involved with into community and when I did appear with men that I was involved with I have never made the nature of our relationship known. In part probably because I've internalized some of this shame. But it has been all to easy for me to sale the idea that I have not been in a relationship to too many in our extended circle. None of the people who readily acknowledge my caring, intelligence, charisma, and endearing nature have ever stopped to say "wait a minute Kevin, your a bright, charismatic, endearing guy why haven't you been in a relationship?"
The reaction of BQs and hetero people to seeing me with men that I'm obviously involved sexually with are limited to 4 categories that I will explain in this email:
I have had sexual relationships with some very beautiful men when appearing in public with these men other Bqs have assumed that we were not a couple and taken the liberty to approach the man that I appeared with or worse approach me and ask me to tell him that they think he is cute or ask me questions about his relationship status.
He don't know he can have better-
The most hurtful because it often comes from my friends is the "He don't know he can do better approach," I have also called this phenomenon "Skinny bitch angst." In this phenomena the skinny bitch, having received verification of the nature of the relationship of the "cute" guy and me will decide "if he goes for me he will surely go with her." I have had friends tell men in my presence that they were cute enough to get them or remind them that they probably don't want to be rolling around with a big bitch like me. Most of my close friends upon meeting men that I am sexually involved with have pulled this stunt at one time or another. That's why I hang with Lesbians! (Disclaimer: Charles and Robert have never tried this shit with my dates) What's worse is that I often get this from other big people!
and Open attacks and shaming-
I have been in clubs where the reaction to guys dancing with me have gone from surreptitious giggling to open taunts and hate attacks like "That's a lot to handle," or "Be careful not to let her sit on you," or "Well we know who's on top!" or "Baby he gone get lost in all that." This I think is the most effective of the methods.
Oh the other one, Disqualifying the attraction- "He must be paying him." "He's with her for the money." "A mercy fuck." "He's a crack head." I actually challenged my children Justin and Omar about this. I was constantly confronted by the perception that the guys they saw me with were somehow unsavory. Suggestions that guys I was with were crack heads or hustlers caused me to confront them openly at an Ynkuya family gathering. My other child Tai, who used to be fat immediately understood and advocated my point that every time Justin and Omar saw me with a man they expressed that he must either be a crack head or a hustler. I actually witnessed a lover's quarrel outside of Bulldogs once when a conventionally attractive brother yelled desperately at a fat brother who was near tears "fuck that, I'm with you! Can you get that through your head? I'm with you!" I was walking to fast to hear the rest of the conversation. I don't like to tarry to long in front of one of hell's portals. But I wondered if the problem was the fat partner getting it through his head or the hateful Butch queens in the club getting it through their heads.
I'm convinced that there are men who are attracted to big men and big women. Had I been more vigilant about my monitoring process I could actually quantify this for you. (LOL) However, few men are willing to engage in an openly sexual relationship with big bodied people. I liken the shaming to the shame that we have all experienced when we contemplated being seen in public with male lovers for the first time. Many men are scared to be connected to big men and I have been the personal recipient of skinny bitch anger when I have been with a guy that they felt entitled to be with.
While x and I were working out our sexual tension Omar and Justin, even though they knew that x was neither Crack head or Hustler (one out of two aint bad), constantly undermined our process. While x is an exhibitionist and was constantly affectionate with me in public all the skinny bitches fell into one of the above categories in responding to our often public affection.
While x and I were working out our sexual tension I often was confronted with anger from J and disbelief from most of my friends that our attraction was mutual. When x fabricated a story of what happened THAT NIGHT everyone who heard the story was more than ready to believe it because it was easier than believing that a cute and very small guy would be interested in a fat man like myself. Even though anyone who has paid attention knows that x's record suggest that he loves a thick red bitch. I actually began to question what happened until I talked to other people who where at that party who reinforced my memories.
While hooking up at Lorreta's with a very sexy guy, L approached the table that we were sitting at (member when Lorreta's had tables?) threw himself into the lap of the guy that was digging me and announced that he did not have to go home with me he could fuck her instead. You might say "Oh the bitch was drunk." She don't drink.
Another friend another night at Lorreta's angrily asked a boy, do you really want to be laid up with all o that? My wonderful date aptly replied "some people like all o that."
At another club while sitting at a bar with a guy that had expressed a desire for me and actually left another club to come with me to that club where my best friend was performing (ambrosia devour), I placed my hand on my dates knee and was surprised moments later when a hand moved on top of my hand from the bar stool on the other side of my date. It took me a minute to realize that it was my best friend's hand. She was drunk and high and later dismissed her behavior by highlighting her intoxication.
At any rate I've gone off on a tangent.
The final analysis:
No fats no fems is a strictly enforced societal norm that we contribute to by taking part in conversations that suggest Star's and other fat peoples partners are not with them because they are attracted to them.
If Star's man is gay she deserves to live out her relationship in oblivion with all the skinny bitches that have partnered with "Obviously gay men."