Kordell Stewart is not gay, y’all. He’s a “100 percent man” and he likes women, OK? The estranged husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porshe went on his local radio station, V-103, to let everyone know that his wife’s musings that he might be gay were just her being cray.
Atlanta’s abandoned housewives have developed a predictable strategy to save face after being dumped in public: tell the world he’s gay and that’s why he doesn’t like me anymore. Kenya Moore did it after her probably-fake boyfriend Walter Jackson stopped messing with her towards the end of the show’s fifth season. During this week’s season opener, Porshe said, in so many words, that since Kordell sometimes didn’t want to have sex with her during their marriage, she wondered if he was attracted to other men.
It’s tired and sophomoric to wonder if any man who isn’t attracted to you or doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you is gay. It’s even worse that perceived queerness is so haphazardly thrown at their enemies to not only explain why they’re being dumped, but to also effectively shove their exes into the “not good people” category.
In a normal, rational and less hate-filled world, saying that your ex is gay would be a simple declarative statement, not a vitriolic, heinous insult. However, we’re talking about Christian Southerners who are hellbent on becoming ill-conceived caricatures of themselves, so speculating that “he might be gay” is tantamount to whispering “he’ll definitely burn in hell and, by the way, doesn’t deserve happiness on this earth, either.” Of course black people aren’t more homophobic than anyone else. But Southerners? Southerners who go to church? Reality show stars who want to confirm everything you’ve ever thought was ridiculous about Southerners who go to church? Yes, yes, and yes, those are cesspools of homophobia where the quest to uncover evil gay people pretending to be straight is witch hunt-like.
But here’s the other side of it: Why should Kordell or Walter really care if those women say they’re gay, anyway?
Both men rushed to radio airwaves to clear their names once gay rumors started to fly. The other partners of RHOA—Peter, Apollo and Todd—were visibly angry and defensive with Kenya on the show’s reunion special for suggesting that Walter might be gay.
Just about every man who’s achieved even a modicum of fame has had gay rumors swirl around his person. White men, black men, gay men, straight men, rappers, singers, actors—everyone. It’s a thing that we do in American pop culture. A lot of men feel the need to respond, a lot of men don’t.
Going out of your way to clarify that you are straight just makes you sound like you’re lying. And, as actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt once said, “tacky.”
I know, I know, I just used the cultural ramifications of being gay in Atlanta to justify why it’s so wrong that women start gay rumors, so it stands to reason, using my above logic, that those men have something to lose if they don’t defend their reputations, right? Kind of. I get that people openly speculating about whether you’re gay in that circle of people could be damaging, especially to someone like Kordell whose industry is one of the last bastions of unabashed professional homophobia.
It’d be a nice change if a gay charge was met with a shrug of indifference and not a clarion call to heterosexuality, but that’s just pie-in-the-sky thinking as long as we all continue to perpetuate and revel in straight privilege.
It shouldn’t matter if someone calls a well-known black man gay, but it does, at least now.