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Sound-Off: Oprah Winfrey and Lesbian Rumors

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Quick, name a Black celebrity who hasn't been accused of being gay. The list is endless because the Black gay celebrity witch-hunt is always at full throttle (just check the comments of your favorite Black blog). Oprah Winfrey has fallen into the category countless times. Oprah recently sat down for a candid interview with Barbara Walters (airing tonight) to address those pesky lesbian rumors that have circulated around her 32-year-long friendship with Gayle King. "I'm not a lesbian. I'm not even kind of a lesbian," she said, looking visibly annoyed. "And the reason why it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's number one. Number two: why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life." And can you blame those rumormongers? Oprah defies every rule our society has about women's roles. She hasn't married her longtime boyfriend (she calls him her "lover") Stedman Graham. He isn't even central to her public life. Most importantly, she and Gayle are awfully close. When examining Oprah and her BFF's relationship, we always seem to forget to factor-in Black women's belief in sisterhood. We know that the love we have for our best girlfriends is not about being of blood relation, it is about experiencing real love unlike the kind we have with our men, or even our children. Historically marginalized, Black women have had to rely on creating these safe spaces with our sister-friends that allow us to be our free selves despite the harshness of the world outside. Furthermore, why do we still treat being gay as though it is shameful? If Oprah and Gayle were gay, then so what? How would it change your life, or mine? Our constant need to over-analyze women's friendships and deem them suspect if there is no man involved reeks of patriarchy, and we need to check ourselves. But back to the Walters' one-hour special tonight and one question Walters could have asked Oprah: "Girl, who did your eyebrows? They are fierce!" Why do you think people continue to accuse Oprah and Gayle of being gay?
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