Malcolm X and Gandhi

Two new biographies on Malcolm X and Gandhi, respectively, have made various claims about their sexual identity. I haven’t read the biographies or indeed any biography on either one, so I’m not in a position to judge the veracity of the claims. I will say, however, that it is difficult to ascribe sexual identity to a person in retrospect, especially if that person did not do so. Oscar Wilde is perhaps one of the few cases where it works since his life and career coincide with the emergence of the term homosexual in the 1890s. And even with Wilde, I think he engaged in a career long exploration and construction of a complicated, multifaceted sexual and gender identity. But, I digress; this post is to really direct your attention to the thoughtful discussion going on at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s blog about Malcolm X and sexual identity. Truly, I think the discussion following his post might actually get to a better definition of masculinity. It’s probably going on the reading list for my gender studies class in the fall.

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