Australian drag superstar Courtney Act has taken to Twitter to discuss sexual racism and how she has had to confront her own biases.
Act said that when growing up she thought she simply had an unconscious “preference” towards white men, but has since realised it was really an unconscious bias.
“It makes sense that I have socialised racisms when it comes to my sexual preference which is why I have had to consciously unpack those over the years.
“When I was a younger white gay I thought I was just attracted to white men as some sort of unconscious preference, but really it was an unconscious bias.
“Now as a white gay of a certain age I realise I grew up in a society that taught me to be racist,” she said.
“The truth is, once examined, I’m attracted to people irrespective of their skin colour, and my dating and sex life has never been…more fulfilled,” she tweeted winkingly.
“I started by not swiping so fast on Grindr, I used to unconsciously swipe faster on a person of colour.
“As an exercise I tried to just pause, look, & see what my bodily sense felt about the image in front of me, surprised by how many people I actually thought were attractive that I had previously swiped over.
“If nothing else you’re increasing your odds of getting laid!!!”
Act said that because Australian media has historically been overwhelmingly white in its representation, the primary ideas of desirability she was able to consume centred on white men.
“If you think being deliberate is somehow racist, we are bombarded with images of white beauty our whole lives, I think making a deliberate effort to breakthrough that noise is just due diligence.”
Act linked to a video by writer and activist Alexander Leon which unpacks the idea of sexual racism.
When I was a younger white gay I thought I was just attracted to white men as some sort of unconscious preference, but really it was an unconscious bias. Now as a white gay of a certain age I realise I grew up in a society that taught me to be racist.
— Courtney Act (@courtneyact) September 26, 2018
The topic has been much-discussed following Grindr’s recent update to its community guidelines which banned discriminatory text like “no fats, no femmes, no Asians” from profiles.
“She really nails it here,” tweeted one user in response. “I am continually unlearning shitty ingrained behaviours and preferences that have been embedded in me through a very white-centric Australian upbringing.”
“This! As I’ve got older I’ve had to unpack internalised racism disguised as ‘preference’. It’s great to see Courtney Act discuss so openly,” said another.
Others were less enthused by Act’s thread, saying that people of colour have always been sexualised and that while her words were thoughtful, that it was still “a lazy attempt at ‘I just preferred white guys’.”
Act, who competed on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother UK earlier this year, and will host pansexual dating show The Bi Life when it premieres on Foxtel and hayu later this month.
Further reading: ‘Swiping right to sexual racism in Australia’s gay community‘
Further reading: ‘We’ll tell you what’s racism‘