When fathers Kordale and Kaleb posted a photo depicting their daily routine – getting their daughters ready for school in the wee hours of the morning – it went viral almost immediately. The Instagram picture has now been seen by hundreds of thousands of people, including many who were all too eager to comment, often negatively, on what they saw. Kordale and Kaleb are not your “conventional” gay couple, which is to say, they do not look like the prototypical gay men that the media and entertainment outlets continue to churn out. Young, black, tattooed, and masculine in appearance, Kordale and Kaleb have already shattered countless stereotypes about gay men, simply by making their relationship, and family life, visible.
Organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) work tirelessly to document the amount of visibility that LGBT characters receive in popular media. Each year, GLAAD in particular releases a report that details the number of LGBT characters represented in all of television and film. As you might imagine, the numbers of LGBT characters have remained consistently low, and even lower still for gay, lesbian, and transgender characters of color.
How many LGBT characters or public figures of color can you name? The ideal answer would be that there are too many to count, and yet, white characters, white television hosts, and even white activists constantly outnumber these identities in a media context. Why else would there be such backlash to a biracial couple in a cereal commercial? Why else would there be such hateful remarks directed towards a real-life family such as Kordale and Kaleb’s if not for a systemic lack of visibility, and thus rights, for LGBT people of color?
Thankfully, not all of the responses to Kordale and Kaleb’s Instagram post were negative. In fact, many were extremely supportive, both for the visibility the couple provided for other families like them, and for the endearing, genuine way that the couple managed to smash so many stereotypes about race, sexuality, and masculinity.
The couple has remained incredibly positive throughout the entire situation, and in a statement to The Huffington Post Kordale and Kaleb explain, “In regard to the negative [comments], people fail to realize that we are people too with kids who love us. We do what is necessary for them to succeed in this ever-changing world but it’s sad that we’re discriminated against because of our sexuality. […] Being gay is the new normal for a lot of people and judgment isn’t needed, just equality!”
Here’s to hoping that visibility for LGBT people of color increases in the coming months; such critical exposure is needed to help challenge stereotypes and gain equality.