Black Men Cuddle on Subway, Web Hits Panic Button

Happy, healthy queer people just seem like too much to handle.

By Jamilah King Aug 19, 2010

The Internets are caught in a homophobic uproar again. This time, the fire’s centered around a recent Twitpic of two young black men on an Atlanta metro train. From all accounts, the image captures a seemingly innocent moment: one man’s leaning in the arms of another, whose eyes are fixed on his blackberry. True, time-tested love, to be certain. But the Internet’s gender patrol ain’t having it:

Rod McCollum at Rod 2.0 explains:

The image was snapped of two young men apparently on Atlanta’s MARTA and the Twitpic is entitled "No Excuse: I Don’t Give a F-ck How Sleepy You Are." So far, the image has 12,400+ views and has produced three pages of mostly cruel, homophobic and hateful comments. There are dozens more comments across Twitter and the Twitpic has migrated to gay-baiting black gossip blogs. One perennial gay-baiting blogger has slammed the two young men as "homo-thugs", ranted about HIV/AIDS and complained that "it’s become nearly impossible to distinguish heterosexual men from down low thugs." Are "down-low" thugs hugged up on public transit? Probably not …

It’s a very sweet and innocent photo. According to the comments, it seems the young men’s primary offense, in addition to seemingly being gay, is that they are "normal looking" and apparently in love.

For the second time in as many weeks, we’ve got a healthy dose of black queer lovin‘–and for whatever reasons, there’s push back. Perhaps the only acceptable mainstream representations of queer folks are when we’re ranting about "bed intruders" or cursing out airline passengers. Love seems more heroic.