The Sexuality of Malcolm X

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I have been in deep study of brother Malcolm X. This study extends beyond my reading of Manning Marable’s renowned book on Malcolm, but delves into the thoughts and writings of other historians. Marable addresses a number of interesting notes regarding Malcolm that were unaddressed in other works. The most interesting point deals with Malcolm’s sexuality. Though Manning did not explicitly state that Malcolm was bisexual, he did implicitly conclude that this was a topic in which Malcolm dealt with. Keep in mind that this topic should not be a big surprise, as Marable briefly points out in the video clip below. The key thing noted by Marable was Malcolm’s deliberate omission about elements of his sexuality; we all know about Malcolm’s sexual appetite for both white and black women; however, as noted by Marable, there were hints about Malcolm’s sexuality beyond women. To be transparent here, once Malcolm left the days of being Detroit Red, he would speak against what he called sexual sins: homosexuality, adultery, sex outside of marriage, etc. It was the sexual impurity of Elijah Muhammad that aided the tension between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam (NOI). Muhammad was responsible for a number of illegitimate children during his reign.

In truth, do I believe this is a topic worth discussing? Not really. But I do believe that if a historian aims to paint a picture of a historical and public figure, that historian should be wholly objective and clear in the process. Are people upset that historians are writing about Martin Luther King Jr.’s infidelity issues? Sure they are. But is it fair to exclude that information? I do not think so.

Interesting read on this topic here.

The late Marable on this topic:

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2 thoughts on “The Sexuality of Malcolm X

  1. Thanks for writing this. I’m glad that much of queer theory (at least in lit studies) has moved away from attempting to out writers and their characters. That being said, it’s interesting to consider what effect sexuality has on the seemingly larger-than-life characters in our history. I haven’t had the chance to read Marable’s book yet, but it’s on my list.

    It’s largely unimportant, but the article you linked lists Greg Louganis has a black icon that is also LGBT. Is that simply a mistake by the author or is Wikipedia (the extent of my research for this comment) incorrect in describing Louganis as of Samoan/Swedish descent?

  2. Well, Ian, I never felt queer theory did that. But, then again, I am not very knowledgeable. I do know that editors of textbooks get caught up in that junk. As for Louganis, I have always thought that to be the case. I will look again. We all want to claim a star.

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