Homophobia is a Revolving Door: Community Violence Against Domo Wilson
There has been an interesting mix of empathy and judgement projected onto famous lesbian YouTube couple Domo & Crissy after their recent separation. They mutually decided to end their relationship after confessing that the couple outgrew their romantic love space, preferring to continue to share love as best friends and co-parents to their one-year-old son Dominic. They posted their final video entitled ‘We Broke Up’ to their YouTube channel on August 1st, taking their more than 3.2 million subscribers by surprise. For some, the breakup came with real tears and pleas for the couple to try to work it out. But for others, it became a canvas for scrutiny, the perfect opportunity to vilify the authenticity of their relationship, and to pick apart the layers of Domo Wilson’s identity.
The couple started dating back in 2015, winning the hearts of people of all backgrounds and identities, in and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. They started their own YouTube channel January 25th, 2016 called ‘DomoandCrissy’, and quickly generated a following. The channel documented the YouTube phenomenon’s love story, including their double engagement, Domo’s pregnancy, and the couple’s growth as a brand. If you’re a subscriber, you know that connecting with Domo and Crissy collectively wasn’t hard to do at all. Fans experienced what seemed like a genuine journey of two young lovers attempting to map out a life together, not at all perfectly, but beautiful in their trying nonetheless. Lesbionyx writer Javonne Crumby’s piece “It’s Time to Stop Idolizing Others Relationships”, talks the consequences of putting Domo and Crissy’s love on a pedestal, stating that it was “…easy for us as spectators to get caught up in the highlight reel of someone else’s life, but we must remind ourselves that we only see what others want us to see.”
When I first heard that Domo and Crissy separated, I remembered who they were almost instantly. I was never a subscriber, but they definitely had a broad social media presence, with reminders of them showing up on every platform. I’d see their photos and videos under queer hashtags, and memories of a growing baby Domonic drifting across my timeline. It wasn’t until the couple’s viral breakup that I decided to finally see what the hype was about. I went to their YouTube channel first, and watched the silly, carefree couple mark time, love and life on their bodies, with their son and in every moment they spent together. Their fairytale-like loveship seemed to be rooted in their ability to love and support one another collectively and individually, with the vast majority of their viewers following suit. It wasn't until Domo uploaded a response to the "We Broke Up" video via her solo YouTube channel that a shift occurred, causing me to grow increasingly concerned for her safety and mental health.
In the response, Domo mentions that the couple separated because "the spark isn't there", a valid reason to maturely part ways in a healthy, mutual disconnecting. She then goes on to say that she and her former partner were more "like sisters", causing an uproar of backlash from her community. Not only was the hyperbole taken completely out of context, it was then used to weaponize a full on attack against her identity. I witnessed Domo Wilson's androgynous gender expression and overall gender fluidity challenged over and over via social media by other Queer Black identities where there should have been much more support. Especially from the Masculine of Center community.
I'll be honest, I have learned as a Queer Black Masculine-identifying being myself, to expect certain violences due to social conditioning and sheer ignorance, but I was left completely drained attempting to process the harm being launched at another member of the Family. As Masculine-Presenting/Masculine-of-Center beings, we KNOW what it's meant to exist in these bodies, attempting to navigate a world that was never made to understand us. We know the traumas of our coming out stories, the ache that sits in our bellies when someone calls us 'sir', and the tender mixture of heartache and masculinity. You would think that as a community suffering marginalization at many intersections, we would know better than to challenge the authenticity of someone's queerness, and be more accepting of Domo's fluid gender expression. But homophobia is a revolving door, and being Queer does not make you exempt from being homophobic. Accountability is necessary, here. Below is a list of a few things that were done completely wrong, and a few things you can do from his moment forward to fix it.
This is where it gets real. Talking to my bois. (and anyone else practicing homophobia within the queer/masculine community.)
1. Get Over Yourself - Your Toxic Masculinity Won't Get You Male Privilege.
In a recent Twitter rant, I wrote about how masculinity takes up space in non-male bodies, separating the space of privilege:
STOP what you're doing Family. Think about it for a second. You think you cool sending someone else to self-hatred? Someone just like you?! Recreating cycles of systemic oppression within Queer/Black marginalized communities doesn't put your masculinity at the top of the food chain, player. White gay privilege still exists and they still fear you. Decondition how you allow your masculinity to manifest itself. Ask yourself the question, "What is masculinity?/What does masculinity mean to me?" Start there. I'm here all day if you need me.
2. BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR INFLUENCE!
People, please. You and your something-thousand-followers-to-100-people-you're-following-back influence is real and you know it. Ain't nobody telling you to tweet about Jesus, but bullying folk gotta be one of the FIRST things out of the picture. We all Family. Stop perpetuating the same things we fight against. DO. BETTER.
3. Healing and Masculinity Can Coexist.
Again, masculinity doesn't take up the same manifestation in different bodies/living identities. Know that you're different, Family. And that none of us are too tough/hard for crying and healing. Think for yourself, guard your energy, protect your heart. Create the shit your spirit needs, first. If you need somebody to talk to, I got you. hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you my number.
4. CREATE YOUR IDENTITY.
Listen. When I tell you I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't cared enough to live my own life? Even at the expense of cutting blood "family" off, I was willing. You gotta love yourself like that, Family. Domo Wilson is so fluid in her gender expression because she's creating and manifesting her evolving self. What does it do for us to reject that? What does it do for you to revoke her masculinity? Who are you to even have that power? Nah. You want to wear lashes? Cool. I'll still show you love. You want to completely change the way you present to the world today? I love you for that too. We don't support one another because they look the way we want them to. We show em love because they're being their fullest selves everyday. Support people who love themselves enough not to give a fuck what anybody thinks of em. Especially for young lovers like Domo that dared to tell their story, and choose to be as full as they see themselves in every moment.
Also: Minding your business and drinking water helps. You're welcome.
5. Love Still Gotta Come First
When we see these new young identities blooming and evolving into themselves, we're going to see and experience some things that we've never seen before. No matter how far away it is from aligning with what we know, we have to be receiving, or we'll just be recreating models of our own traumatic rejection in the world. You know exactly what I mean too. Homonormativity is real, y'all. We ain't out here creating our identities to force that onto other people. Step back from traditional and live a lil bit. We need each other. Show somebody love out here.
I wrote this piece because I needed to get it off my chest, and because I love my community. Y'all are Family to me. And Family has to hold Family accountable. Let's keep each other encouraged. Send young Domo some love on social media if you got it. She needs that right now. She has her own work to do for sure, but as a Black woman, a mother, and an artist, she deserves to be protected too. Be mindful of how you use your platform . Be good y'all. Peace.