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Bobby Forch: Gay or Not Gay- That’s The Stupid Question

July 11, 2011

Last week I received a pointed call from a “concerned” Seattleite, who wanted to talk about City Council hopeful Bobby Forch.

The female caller didn’t mince words, expressing frustration over the mainstream media’s lack of coverage of Forch’s sexuality.

“He’s obviously gay,” she said, exasperated, “everyone knows.”

(Forch is married- to a woman. According to his website, the couple has lived in the Central District for 20 years, and have one son.)

“I would be shocked if that really is his wife,” she said, referring to the woman pictured with Forch in his printed materials. “He’s gay and pretending not to be.”

The caller had proof:

  • The way he talks; there is no hint of “urban” vernacular in his speech pattern.
  • The way he dresses; his clothes are really nice.
  • Previous employment; dog groomer, flight attendant and pastry chef

Yes, that’s it. I asked twice. She had no other evidence to offer.

“So…what do you think?” she wanted to know.

I weighed my thoughts carefully before settling on an answer. “I think you’re a total &*%$ bigot,” I said.

“I don’t hate gay or Black people!”

“Okay, but y’all are irrationally devoted to this idea that Bobby Forch is a gay Black man because he’s lived his life in a way that usurps your narrow definition of what a Black man is. The way he talks? He’s not running around channeling RuPaul. He’s educated.  He could walk around in a dress, that doesn’t mean he’s gay. Just because dude likes to bake and was smart enough to know that you can travel the world for free working for an airline, doesn’t put him in a closet. The dog grooming was news to me though, I have to admit. Still not proof of anything, except maybe he likes dogs.”

She huffed and puffed. “But he’s lying about being married!”

“Y’all need to see the long-form marriage certificate?”

“Did you vote for Bobby in the last election?” she demanded to know.

“Nope. But you know what I did do the last election?  I took note of the ridiculous obsession over whether or not Bobby is “Black enough.”  The media was fixated on it, and then tried to attack his readiness to represent the people based on supposition. We don’t ask those kinds of questions of White candidates. Ever. But with Bobby it was a never-ending barrage of also bigoted attempts to classify him as not really Black, solely based on which Black people knew him.  Now suddenly he’s a gay Black man in the closet and lying to everyone, an accusation based on nothing but racial stereotypes and innuendo about Black men. It’s completely outrageous, whether you see it or not.”

“It’s going to come out eventually,” she said, full of righteous indignation.

“If y’all really think that Bobby is gay then call him out directly. Cite your proof and demand he account for his actions…or at least where he acquired his fashion sense.”

“I take it you’re not going to write about this either?”

“Oh, I am definitely writing about this.”

Author’s note 9:23pm: I don’t know where the idea that Bobby Forch is gay, originated.  Perhaps at it’s purest form at some point, it was a “joke” between friends behind closed doors. Or perhaps it was a malicious campaign tactic to cast doubt and resentment in a city where, let’s face it, we love the gays, right? And if you don’t, you keep that shit to yourself because we’ll cut you for it. Maybe the origin lies somewhere between those two ends. I don’t really know.

But there are some things that I know that I know that I know, and this is one of them: this kind of stereotyping and character assassination against Black men and sexuality is about as real as it gets when it comes to lifting the veil on the harmful racial ignorance that exists in Seattle.

Let’s start with the basics, so it can be said: Bobby Forch is not gay.  He has a wife and son he loves very much. So when it comes to Black men, and who’s gay, this isn’t even about Bobby. We can schooch him to the side.

Ever since JL King went on Oprah and exposed the “down low” culture of Black men, America, and in this case White, female America has been totally confused. Yes, it is true that Black men on the DL have transmitted HIV/AIDS to other sex partners- women and men. But that is true for anyone practicing that behavior. The “King Effect” encouraged us to look at happily married Black men as potentially on the DL. Because men on the DL deny being gay- there is no win there, no way as a hetero Black man to disprove the allegation once it’s been thrown.

This does nothing to eliminate the decades old residue of homophobia in the Black community.  It doesn’t create an environment conducive to coming out. It doesn’t reduce how many times STDs are passed back and forth. These things shouldn’t be tossed about lightly.

I have a problem with anyone, of any race or hue, exploiting any aspect of the complicated layers of sexuality for Black people in this world, even in lil’ ol’ Seattle.

It really is ignorance and arrogance that has set this off. But ignorance and arrogance don’t recognize themselves when they look in the mirror. Instead they see righteous indignation, and a delusional sense of obligation and power.

If Bobby Forch were in an American high school, running for Student Council, and was being harassed (directly or otherwise) in this way by other students, we would not stand for it. Because kids have died under these very circumstances; being accused of being gay, taunted, bullied and tortured and left powerless to reclaim and define themselves for themselves- gay or not.

*Pic snagged from the SLOG via Google Images

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 10:39 am

    Every time I think I’ve heard it all, I hear another story like this one.

  2. EverymanEveryday permalink
    July 11, 2011 11:02 am

    Man, I wish I was him. When they ask me about this article, I’d be at the podium and laugh; and then I’d say “I smash all the light-skinned-ed chicks world-wide, your sister included. Next question please”

  3. Rebecca permalink
    July 11, 2011 11:35 am

    Open note to Concerned Seattlelite:

    Dear Ms. Concerned~
    Please consider checking out how you form your assumptions about people, ESPECIALLY about someone’s sexual preference. There are Queer folks with every job description, every body type, and in every walk of life.

    You might be delightfully surprised to learn that big butch manly men like pro football payers can be Gay, and that the swishy hunk of a hairdresser you just KNOW is queer is in fact a happily heterosexual guy.

    Do us all a favor – yourself included – and open your mind up to blow away those tired ol’ Gay stereotypes. Then perhaps you can asses Candidate Forch on his actual qualifications to hold public office. Just a thought.

    Your neighborhood Queer Bi Married Grandmother

  4. Wes Browning permalink
    July 11, 2011 6:48 pm

    Love your final words. Good one!

  5. July 11, 2011 6:56 pm

    Those are the stupidest reasons I have ever heard for thinking someone is gay. Even more stupid than I expected. The only thing “Concerned Seattleite” has managed to do is make me even more inclined to vote for Bobby Forch.

  6. What the Fudge permalink
    July 11, 2011 7:16 pm

    I saw this article and thought, YES, YES, YES! FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY! This stupid, and by stupid I do mean ignorant in the truest sense of the word- narrative has been floated well past it’s shelf life. At least that’s what one would hope.

    But people like Cathy Allen sit just behind the curtain stoking the fire or pulling the strings or whatever metaphor you want to use. This isn’t just the political narrative of many (but certainly not all) who don’t want Bobby to win, it’s something they believe about him, no matter what anyone says. Bobby could swear on a stack of bibles in front of the Supreme Court and these closeted haters (no pun) would not believe him.

    It sickens me that in this day in age, in Seattle Washington of all places and how ironic is that (?!), the liberalest of the liberal White people push this hypocritical agenda against a man whom, far as I can tell has never hurt a fly and only desires to do good. To blatantly play on the stereotypes of Black men like that is just…well, we know what it is. Cathy- or whichever of her White croanies called you- is right about one thing, everyone knows these nasty rumors are being pushed by her and in general by the Godden supporters. As a White woman I am beyond ashamed.

    People say “oh his sexuality doesn’t matter” and of course they are right, but in this case, this nastiness about his sexuality based on his race must be addressed by the rest of us wanna-feel-good-White-people who have all signed that soul saving pledge to undo racism when we see it. Well, we see this, and we’ve failed to step up and do something about it which is why it’s been allowed to carry on so long. It has emboldened the Allen camp into thinking this flies. It doesn’t. And it mustn’t ever.

    I am glad you have shined the light of shame on their conduct in a way which so many avoid doing. It’s not enough to say “Bobby isn’t gay you moron”, because they can’t hear that. They think their narrative works based on his race and their own slim to nonexistent experience with Black men- I think they think their wealth of knowledge (said with dripping sarcasm) of African Americans makes them right, and since they are so, soooo wrong, that behavior and accompanying mindset goes beyond elitist. It is about their Whiteness and the power they have as White people to try and derail a man’s political career. It’s a 21st century lynching. Maybe now they can shut up and sit down.

  7. Raymond Murphy permalink
    July 11, 2011 11:01 pm

    There have been several openly gay people run for political office in Seattle now and it hasn’t been a big issue. Does “concerned Seattleite” think we’re all going to be shocked if she `outs’ Bobby Forch.

  8. July 11, 2011 11:05 pm

    I think her point is he is married

  9. Charlie Smith permalink
    July 12, 2011 11:24 am

    The only time I am interested in someone’s sexual orientation is when I want to go to bed with them. Perhaps “Concerned Seattlite” is interested.

  10. Christal Wood, J.D. permalink
    July 12, 2011 12:05 pm

    Hi, just stopping by via FB string Re: Forch/Cathy Allen, and Red Herrings….

    I still don’t quite understand how Cathy Allen’s name came into it(?) but it wouldn’t be that surprising; because she’s kind of like the Tim Eyeman of candidate grooming. You see there’s a small set of “consultants” in this town who think they get everyone elected–who don’t usually know much about policy, but know everything about politics–and she’s the most famous one. And to her credit (or many candidates discredit), a lot of people drink the kool-aid, and hire her or start sweating when she’s working with an opponent. Whatever.

    I’m a little bemused at the outrage though. It’s not as if people usually vote based on actual issue positions or character. Most everyone has some really stupid bias they need to get talked out of (e.g., “I’m voting for Nickels because he lives in West Seattle and so do I.” or “What party is he?” It’s a non-partisan seat, yada…) Anyhoo, I have been preoccupied with other things and thus don’t know Bobby Forch, but my own anti-CathyAllen advice is it’s all wrong to handle this with a straight face. He should immediately make a youtube video that puts RuPaul to shame–and then at the end he should say it’s no one’s damn business, and I’d vote for him. 😉

  11. July 12, 2011 2:13 pm

    I’m not sure how her name came up either, but I did see it mentioned on fb too.

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