Buller men and batty bwoys, hidden men in Toronto and Halifax Black communities

by Crichlow, Wesley E.

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis was bom of my desire to put forward a critical analysis of racialized heterosexismwithin Black diasporic communities. Central to this project is an elaboration of how such heterosexism is manifest as a form of bienationaiism that is hndamentd to rnany contemporary discourses of Black identity. The dual swing points of this analysis are the recent scholarly work theorizingthe politics and socidy transformative possibilities of Black same-sex practices [particularly in the work of Lorde, Mercer and Riggs] and my own experience growingup in TNiidad and living in Canada as a "buiier man",one who is comnally identifed [and publicly embraces this identification] as participating in male same-sex practices. With a framework developed on this double basis, I then present a detailed study of 19 Black men who participate in same-sex practices on a variety of tenns and with various degrees of family and commnity awareness of their desires and expenences. These interviews provide a unique perspective on an until now, hidden dimension of Black communal We in Canada. Stressed in the analysis of these interviews is how these men negotiate the structure of heterosexist and homophobic domination that defuie the circurnstances of their lives in the Black communities of Toronto and Halifax. This domination is also traced to the discourses of Black nationalismand the Black church. 1 argue that this dominanceenacts a regrasiveform of "bio-nationalism" which Iegitimates a regulatory politic that effectively excludes Black same-sexed men from rnernbership in Black diasporic communities. 1 conclude with a considerationof the transformativevision for a Black communalconsciousness that would embrace al1 its members. The findings in this dissertation highlight several educational, communicative and pedagogic issues for the contemporary educator to articulate a broader defmition of Black natiorralism, Black history andBlack consciousness in Euro-Canadian/American contexts. I want to take this opportunity to express debts of gratitude for the contributions of a number of ïndividuals to the shaping of this dissertation, and at the same time for acceptingfull responsibility for its final form. First, to Dr. Roger Simon, my supe~sor and mentor whose patience, respect, advice, concem and inteilectual guidance are rnost appreciated. My thanks to the members of my thesis cornmittee Dr. Sherene Razack Dr. Kathieen RockhiIl, Dr. George Dei and Dr. Nigel Thomas for prompting serious inteilectud and invaluable guidance. rny work To Dr. Thomas 1owe a special thank you, for the time and energy you spent on critiqing and editing 1owe a special debt to the men interviewed for this dissertation who made the invisible visibIe by risking thepossible consequences of sharingtheir Life stories andexperiencesas bullers, batty bwoys and Black gay men. 1also owe great thanks to the men of AYA who gave me feedback as how to best approach the subject. 1 wtIy acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Kobena Mercer, Andenye Chablitt-Clark, Margo Francis, and others who read earlier chapters or portions of this dissertation. Sherene, Kathleen, George, Margo and Roger need special mention because they spent an enormous amount of tirne and energy in reading and critiquing my work. Thanks to the computer staff, in particular Tony Gaiha, Jeanie Stewart, Avi Hyman, and Alfredo Chow, for their unconditional support, especially when 1 converted my document and ahost lost the entire thesis. To John for his patience and understanding and for working such long hours in the store while 1 attended rny dissertation, being absent from the store and home. To AUan a great fnend, who was always wiIling to photocopy and print copies of my work for me. Findy 1thank my parents for their emotional, econornic and spintual support during this struggie. Wesley Crichlow Toronto, December 1997.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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