‘Black Women Are Marrying—We’re Marrying Each Other'
Britney Lee (left) and Veronica Lee (right) exchange vows on their wedding day. (Photo courtesy of The Lees)
By Dionne Walker
Growing up in the progressive Washington D.C. area, lesbian-identified Britney Lee never gave a thought to whether she’d be able to marry when the time was right. The right time arrived in 2020, five years after a chance meeting of a fellow soror with whom she shared a near-instant bond. The pair married last July, in an intimate ceremony in their East Point backyard, becoming one in a wave of Black lesbians increasingly saying “I do.”
A decade after scholars declared marriage among American Black women dying, a growing segment of Black lesbian women is putting a dent in that trend. They cite everything from increased societal acceptance to growing family recognition and even social media for encouraging them to challenge data that suggest Black women aren’t marriage material.
“We’re so focused on the heterosexual piece but Black women are marrying,” says associate professor Siobhan Brooks, who studies Black LGBTQ+ issues at California State University, in Fullerton. “We’re marrying each other.”
The history of Black American women and marriage is a complex one: Experts have blamed slavery-era family splintering, lower educational attainment in romantic partners, and even welfare policies for marriage numbers that have long lagged behind those of White women.
The topic captured national attention in 2010, when Census numbers showed 41 percent of Black women had never been married, compared to 21 percent of White adult women. Since then, the Black marriage gap has been a continued topic of community interest, spawning countless articles, studies, and even films.
But the numbers ignore the realities of the Black LGBTQ+ community.
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