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