Fruit: Comparing the Struggles of African-Americans for Civil Rights with the Struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Peoples
by Miss Poppy Dixon, 06.01
The word ‘fruit’ has, in the context of this article, three meanings. Billy Holiday’s haunting 1939 rendition of the song “Strange Fruit” gave voice to a nation’s anguish over the lynching of African-Americans. 
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
The word “fruit” also refers derogatorily to homosexuals. A little more than a month after the nation was rocked by the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a black transgendered woman, Rita Hester, was stabbed to death in her Boston apartment. And on the 4th of July 2000, two teenagers murdered a gay African American man, Arthur “J.R.” Warren. He was kicked and beaten, his skull fractured, then driven over by his captor’s car four times. Hester and Warren violated the boundaries of both race and gender. To claim their deaths were caused by one prejudice, and not the other, would be presumptuous.
The meaning of the word “fruit” has bled into other categories.
Finally, I use the word “fruit” in the biblical sense, “…by their fruits ye shall know them,” from Matthew 7:20. The fruits of oppression in the United States have Christian roots; the same Bible once used to enslave blacks is now used to discriminate against black homosexuals, and white homosexuals. – Strange Fruit: Comparing the Oppression of African-Americans and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Communities