Same-Gender Loving

Updated: OCTOBER 22, 2019

Same-gender loving is a term used to describe people with same-sex attractions. It is typically used by members of the African American community. It was first used by African American activist Cleo Manago as an alternative to the terms gay, lesbian, and bisexual which were seen as Eurocentric. It gained widespread acceptance in the early 1990s.

Same-gender loving is often shortened to the acronym SGL.

More About Same-Gender Loving

Many African Americans embraced the term same-gender loving as they felt it was more affirmative of their community’s homosexual and bisexual men and women. The term embodies positive personal, political, and social purposes and consequences. It is viewed by many as anti-hate and anti-anti-Black. However, it has also been viewed as a racially divisive term as it differentiates African American people with same-sex attraction from others.

Many people who identify as same-gender loving see themselves as being very different from white gay, lesbian, or bisexual people. For example, many SGLs believe they have closer ties to their family and church and that they are more politically moderate than white gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Many who identify as same-gender loving prefer the term because it tends to denote emotional same-sex relationships rather than those of a purely sexual nature.

While popular in the early 1990s, the term seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. In a 2004 study of African American men (including many recruited from black gay groups), 12% identified as same-gender loving compared to 53% who identified as gay. A study of male Gay Pride festival participants conducted in 2000 found similar results with 10% identifying as same-gender loving, 14% as bisexual, and 66% as gay.


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