While some might believe that Black versus gay discourse only surfaces in highly politicized settings like the military and marriage, it holds sway in the area of LGBT transracial adoption. LGBT transracial adoptions are a relatively small percentage of all adoptions, which include private adoptions, LGBT second-parent adoptions, and step-parent adoptions, but they are an important site for interrogating the Black versus gay discourse because adoption and custody decisions often address parent-child transmission. When claims intersect, as they do in a case where a White LGBT foster parent and a Black maternal grandmother dispute the adoption of a Black child, weakened race-based claims and LGBT transmission fears inform the court's decision. Disrupting the media staging of Black versus gay could provide courts better insight into how weakened race claims and LGBT transmission fears pull in opposite directions, and this would create the conditions for better, more innovative family decisions. If courts had a better understanding of the apparent competition between race and orientation, but also understood the costs attached to the media staging of the discourse, decision making in adoption and custody cases could be more comprehensive, taking into account the common interests in the children at issue. Understanding the costs that result from the media staging of Black versus gay discourse is key to finding common ground for identity groups and helping children of color already in LGBT homes. Black versus gay discourse is dangerous because of the structural costs that come with continued reliance on pernicious stereotypes of Black and gay. Looking at media and advocacy sources about LGBT transracial adoption, it appears as though rich, White gay men who adopt dangerous, damaged Black children may be the answer to racism, the superabundance of children in foster care, and poverty and criminality. This narrative looks like the gentrification of Black children by the gay community. This is dangerous because it imagines that Black is not gay and gay is not Black. It also displaces Black women as rightful, loving, and capable mothers and obscures the contributions of LGBTs of color and those with lower incomes, many of whom are mothers and fathers.
Kim H. Pearson,
Displaced Mothers, Absent and Unnatural Fathers: LGBT Transracial Adoption,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol19/iss1/3