same-gender loving

or SGL

[seym jen-der luhv-ing] or [es-jee-el]

What does same-gender loving mean?

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The term same-gender loving is used by some Black Americans to describe homosexual or bisexual identity.

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Examples of same-gender loving

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Examples of same-gender loving
...If you knew any African history you'd know same gender loving relationships were widespread before white ppl showed up
@iiHeartPolitics, April 2015
Mr. Tanner, known as "Stormin' Norman" by his friends, founded Black Brothers Esteem in 1996, the city's first support group for gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving African-American men.
Alex Madison, The Bay Area Reporter, October 2018
Black same gender loving men, y’all beautiful, smart, inspiring, STRONG and this world wouldn’t be without y’all. Never feel the need to convince people who refuse to acknowledge your importance. History speak for itself. Salute
@MrLavalife, January 2018

Where does same-gender loving come from?

Ben & Hope Photography / Equally Wed

Same-gender loving, sometimes written SGL, is a term coined by Cleo Manago, an advocate for the black American queer community. Manago developed the term in the early 1990s because he felt other vocabulary for non-heterosexual relationships (different-gender loving, if you will) were inadequate for the Black experience of sexual identity.

According to Manago and other members of the SGL and Black queer community, terms like gay and lesbian are Eurocentric, meaning they come from and reflect white experiences. Same-gender loving was created as a more Afrocentric term for African-derived cultures. The same-gender loving identity is important to many gay Black people, as it allows a differentiation between white gay culture and theirs.

As one commenter, Tracy Gibson, pointed out in a 2010 blog post, white gay organizers do not always take into account the particular needs and wants of the Black SGL community, requiring them to organize on their own to have their needs addressed. Gibson gives the example of bars in the gay-friendly (and expensive) area of Center City, Philadelphia, said to shun Black patrons.

Same-gender loving is also a term that provides a way for individuals to navigate homophobia in more traditional families, communities, and religious groups by allowing people to identify as queer without using sometimes polarizing language like homosexual or gay.

Who uses same-gender loving?

The expression same-gender loving is used almost exclusively by members of the Black queer community. According to a 2004 study of queer Black men, 12% identified as same-gender loving; 53% identified as gay. Other studies have reflected similar results.

These results point to the fact that the term same-gender loving is somewhat controversial within the Black community, because it is explicitly separatist and elides more commonly shared and used queer vocabulary across races.

Others use the term same-gender loving as an empowering self-descriptor of their sexuality. It is most often used to describe male relationships, but it can also be applied to two women.

People may sometimes use same-gender loving as a more general, neutral term for homosexual. In these contexts, the expression doesn’t refer particularly to the Black queer experience but homosexuality in general.

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