freedom to both African-Americans and women of all races and ethnicities.49 This racist
justification for sexism leads to the conclusion that attacking the legitimacy of sexism exposes
the fraud in its justifications. Racism is used to justify sexism50 just as sexism is used to justify
heterosexism. Destabilizing and destroying sexism and heterosexism also destabilizes and
destroys all variants of racism, which further destabilizes and destroys sexism and other axes of
oppression.51 Carla Trujillo, a Chicana theorist and award-winning novelist, makes this point
The collective liberation of people begins with the collective liberation of half its
constituency – namely women. The view that our hierarchical society places
Chicanos at a lower point, and they in term must place Chicanas lower still, is
outmoded and politically destructive …. Chicanas, both lesbian and heterosexual,
have a dual purpose ahead of us. We must fight for our own voices as women,
since this will ultimately serve to uplift us as a people.52
This logic is straightforward but the reality is more complex.53 The ideal about which Trujillo
writes is far from being attained: for example, evidence of heterosexism exists in elements of
some African-American,54 Latino,55 and Asian-Pacific Islander56 communities. However,
intersectionality of race and sexual orientation is not universally negative to LGBTQ
individuals.57 Cheryl Clarke explains, in the context of the working class Black community,
“Though lesbians and gay men were exotic subjects of curiosity, they were accepted as part of
49 BALOS & FELLOWS, supra note 26, at 378–93; Davis, supra note 47, at 164–66. The intersection of racism and
sexism is not unique to racism against African-Americans. See, e.g., Sumi Cho, Converging Stereotypes in
Racialized Sexual Harassment: Where the Model Minority Meets Suzie Wong, 1 J. GENDER, RACE & JUST. 177
50 See supra notes 45–48 and accompanying text. See also Darren Lenard Hutchinson, Ignoring the Sexualization of
Race: Heteronormativity, Critical Race Theory and Anti-Racist Politics, 47 BUFF. L. REV. 1 (1999) (discussing
intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation).
51 Hutchinson, supra note 50 (discussing the relationship between race, gender, and sexual orientation).
52 Carla Trujillo, Chicana Lesbians: Fear and Loathing in the Chicano Community, in CHICANA LESBIANS: THE
GIRLS OUR MOTHERS WARNED US ABOUT 186, 193 (Carla Trujillo, ed., 1991).
53 See Mayes, supra note 15.
54 See, e.g., Cheryl Clarke, The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community, in HOME GIRLS: A
BLACK FEMINIST ANTHOLOGY 197 (Barbara Smith ed., 1983) (discussing heterosexism in African-American
communities). See also ERIC MARCUS, MAKING GAY HISTORY: THE HALF-CENTURY FIGHT FOR LESBIAN AND GAY
EQUAL RIGHTS 220–22, 231, 272–73, 360–61 (2002) (providing transcript of an interview with Barbara Smith, a
Black feminist scholar).
55 See, e.g., Rafael M. Díaz et al., The Impact of Homophobia, Poverty, and Racism on the Mental Health of Gay
and Bisexual Latino Men: Findings from 3 U.S. Cities, 91 AM. J. PUB. HEALTH 927 (2001).
56 See, e.g., Raddhi Sandil et al., Negotiating Multiple Marginalizations: Experiences of South Asian LBGQ
Individuals, 21 CULTURAL DIVERSITY & ETHNIC MINORITY PSYCH. 76 (2015) (discussing stresses, including cultural
heteronormativity); Dawn M. Szymanski & Ma Ru Sung, Asian Cultural Values, Internalized Heterosexism, and
Sexual Orientation Disclosure Among Asian American Sexual Minority Persons, 7 J. LGBT ISSUES IN COUNSELING
257 (2013) (discussing stresses including cultural heteronormativity).
57 See, e.g., Clarke, supra note 54, at 206; Isabelle R. Gunning, Stories from Home: Tales from the Intersection of
Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, 5 S. CAL. REV. L & WOMEN'S STUD. 143 (1995) (providing examples of
support for LGBTQ persons in an African-American Community). See also Dajenya, Sisterhood Crosses Gender
Preference Lines, in BI ANY OTHER NAME: BISEXUAL PEOPLE SPEAK OUT 247–251 (Loraine Hutchins & Kani
Kaahumanu eds., 1990) (providing a similar narrative).