The Republic of T.

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Vintage Photos of Black Gay Couples

It’s Valentine’s day, and Gay.Com has posted a cute slideshow of 25 vintage photos of gay & lesbian couples.

Vintage_Gay_Couples Gays and lesbians have been around since the dawn of time, but many of us only think of same-gender couples in a post-Stonewall world. It’s almost as if they couldn’t possibly exist in public before that era and stayed hidden in the shadows—the two women "friends" who (sadly) never married so they lived together, or the rich man and his attaché who kept to themselves in that big house down the block. However, some mystery person is changing that concept. Buzzfeed found a number of photos from a Tumblr post that no longer exists. Fortunately, the Buzzfeed page does, so we were able to take the 25 fantastic shots and compile them for you in this incredible slide show.

It’s cute, and somewhat diverse. Not all of the couples pictured are white gay men. But, I got curious and started searching for other images.

I found a kind of treasure trove of vintage photos of black gay male couples.

The collection, on Flickr, is called "Hidden in the Open: A Photographic Essay of Afro American Male Couples."

From the description:

How does one write about the Afro American gay male and couple? How does one accomplish such a goal from an historical perspective?

Historically, the Afro American gay male and couple has largely been defined by everyone but themselves. Afro American gay men are ignored into nonexistence in parts of black culture and are basically second class citizens in gay culture. The black church which has historically played a fundamental role in protesting against civil injustices toward its parishioners has been want to deny its gay members their right to live a life free and open without prejudice. Despite public projections of a “rainbow” community living together in harmonious co-habitation, openly active and passive prejudices exist in the larger gay community against gay Afro Americans.

…Hopefully for this photo essay, they will challenge as false definitions of the Afro American gay male and couple imposed from the outside. Accomplishing such a task is certain to be herculean as from time to time problems have arisen when the gay Afro American male was want to define himself for himself outside the common stereotypes imposed on him for reasons not excluding those for politics and profit.

It’s a beautiful collection, and it’s rare to see so many such as these in one place.

Check it out.

And Happy Valentine’s Day!