T.D Jakes the father of Jermaine Jakes, is famous for his homophobic statements. When his son was arrested for soliciting gay sex many felt that this was a case of chickens coming home to roost for the less than good reverend. After referring to “homosexuality as a brokenness” and openly declaring that he would not hire anyone who is gay, Jakes stand on homosexuality cannot be doubted. It is no secret as well, that many in the black church have made a point of painting homosexuality as a sin against God.
I understand the desire to declare Jermaine a gay man as it would be a particular affront to everything his father stands for however, I feel that the rush to judgment needs to stop. He has not declared that he is gay and it is wrong for us to attach a label to him that he has not owned himself.
I cannot help but notice that no one is even bothering to assume that Jermaine might be bisexual. In our zeal to use the son to mock the father, we have forgotten that sexuality is experienced on a spectrum. We continually return to the gay/straight binary as though this is the only way that sexuality expresses itself. Even though we live in a clearly heterosexist world, reifying binaries only reaffirms an artificial difference. It is just as wrong to assume that Jermaine is gay as it is to socially assume that most people are heterosexual, the simple fact of the matter is that we do not know either way.
What Jermaine needs is time and space to figure out how he wants to deal with his recent arrest. Rushing to label him gay because we cannot stand what his father has to say is not helping him in any way. If we want people to be able to express their sexuality freely and openly, we cannot force labels upon them which may make them uncomfortable or are inaccurate. If he is indeed gay, what he needs is support from the gay community and its allies; he certainly does not need to be treated like a tool to punish his homophobic father.