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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Yes, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, "You do look like a lesbian"



carroll.jpgnadinesmith.jpgThere are loads of reasons to be skeptical of the accusations hurled against Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll by a former aide fighting criminal charges for illegally taping and releasing a private conversation. But Carroll's comments recently that it was ridiculous to believe she might have had a fling with another female staffer because "black women who look like me don't engage in relationships like that" had some people scratching their heads.

Nadine Smith, right, who heads Florida largest gay rights advocacy group, Equality Florida, gives her take on it inThe Grio:

...I’m not sure what kind of extensive research she has done to come to that conclusion about black lesbians but perhaps she’ll publish her findings.

There are many ways for a person to deny accusations, but Lt. Gov. Carroll reached into her anti-gay bag of tricks and ended up hurling a series of stereotypes about women, lesbians and black people in one fell swoop. The hyper, nervous giggling didn’t help matters.

What did and didn’t happen in her office I’ll leave for others to suss out.  But let’s get to the coded language Lt. Gov. Carroll was tossing about and why it has to be challenged.

Saying that women who “look like” her aren’t lesbians renders a whole lot of lesbians invisible. And that invisibility has consequences.

We live in a culture that continues to ignore the lives, needs and health of black lesbians by rendering us invisible. Carroll reinforces that invisibility by perpetuating the misconception that all lesbian and same-gender loving women look and act the same, virtually erasing the diverse array of Black lesbians.  And if lesbians look a certain way, Lt. Gov. Carroll, tell us, what do straight black women look like? In putting a fence around what lesbians are supposed to “look like” she corrals acceptable black heterosexual womens’ appearance as well...

[Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 12:04pm]


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